Girl Power alive and well in Mount Currie 

New co-operative day spa helping local women build businesses

Maybe it’s a reaction to the Spice Girls’ reunion tour, but Girl Power has re-emerged in Pemberton under the guise of the new Harem Salon and Spa. The doors on this co-operative spa in Mount Currie opened Friday.

While the concept of women’s co-ops harkens back to the days of 1970s feminism, those co-operative ventures were usually based around issues like health and housing. The spa concept brings the idea into this century. But it was the old-fashioned values of female friendship and support that made The Harem hair salon owner, Jennifer Craig, want to try something a little different.

“I went through a really hard time and all these woman in my life were so there for me and I felt like that’s just where I wanted to put my energy, into the women, because I feel it’s long-lasting,” said Craig.

After five years of operating her Mount Currie-based business, she felt the time was right for expansion.

“I wanted to share all of my clients and basically network. I always thought if you could get all your clients in one room and introduce everyone that would be really dynamic.”

Craig acquired the space next to her salon, a former antiques store, and began laying plans to open a very “over-the-top girl” environment. Esthetician Angela Blevings, formerly of Revolution, came onboard almost immediately, as did massage therapists Crystal Legere and Marie-Claude Comtois, who Craig describes as the heart of the operation.

“Marie will be acting as the receptionist, managing the retail and offering Thai massage,” says Craig.

The retail aspect really excites her.

“Marie has some great pyjamas and under-things. You won’t have to go to the city to get your comfy snuggly things anymore!”

While the spa’s core staff is ready to open the doors, Craig says they are interested in hearing form other women who might want to get involved.

“Our accountant is even thinking of setting up a space here,” she said.

The spa offers a variety of treatment rooms and public space.

“It can be as social or as private an experience as you want,” said Craig.

Aside from the flexibility of the room, the décor is at once seductive, warm and welcoming.

“It’s Casablanca,” said Craig, referencing the rich fabrics and warm colours that dominate the space.

While the Eastern/African inspired décor may set the Harem apart from more traditional hotel spas, the real difference is the business structure.

“The big difference is I’m not the big guy taking the big cut,” said Craig. “The spa is benefiting the girls, it’s helping them establish their own businesses.”

Craig concedes that for many women the prospect of opening a business in a small town can be daunting, but she feels by offering a full complement of services under one roof everyone will prosper. The space will also be available after hours for any networking events women want to hold.

While a schedule has not been established, Craig feels there will also be a place for men in the spa, with perhaps   special evenings established just for men. But for now, the focus is on women.

Aside from the usual massages, mani-pedi combos, waxing and eyebrow shaping, spa habitués have come to know and love, the Harem will also be offering infrared sauna treatments.

“Instead of using UV you get from sunshine it uses the infrared, the healthy light. It heats you up from the core of your body. And it makes you happy.”

The Harem Salon and Spa is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. All services can be booked through 604-894-5575.

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