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SPA REVIEWS: Spa Space in Chicago
Spa owners comprise a rare breed of entrepreneur. Rather than shrewd businesspeople and cutthroat tycoons, this world attracts a warm-blooded workforce that prioritizes helping people live happier, healthier lives—which is precisely what inspired Natalie Tessler, owner of Chicago’s Spa Space, to leave her job as a tax attorney and open her business. “I enjoy the process of taking people out of the doldrums of their everyday lives,” she explains. What Tessler wasn’t prepared for, however, was the rollercoaster ride she was in for in this new role.
Since its founding in 2001, Spa Space has faced its share of obstacles—namely, the September 11 tragedy (which occurred just three months after the spa’s grand opening) and the Great Recession. Despite these trials, the resilient Spa Space has emerged victorious, and now stands as one of Chicago’s top-ranked day spas. In its 11 years in business, the facility has received several accolades, including being deemed Best Massage and Best Spa by Citysearch, and a “Rising Star” by the Fashion Foundation of Chicago. The American Massage Therapy Association has also crowned Tessler “Best Employer.”
Here, the once unlikely spa owner reveals her secrets to weathering the ups and downs of the capricious day spa business. —Jennifer Keishin Armstrong