Once the holiday rush is over, January’s lull is welcomed. With the start of a new year, it’s an opportune time to focus on ourselves, and that’s just what Rachael Swanson had in mind when she organized the first Health*Beauty Spa Show nine years ago.
The two-day vendor show features nearly 100 local beauty and wellness service providers, offering express spa treatments including facials, waxing, hair styling, makeup application, massages and more — at sample-sized prices of $5 each.
“It’s a very hands-on event, and [attendees] can try different services for about half or less than half of what you would pay full price,” says Swanson. “It’s a fun thing for women to do in the dead of winter when there is nothing else going on.”
Though the show is centered around pampering and de-stressing, Swanson also turned it into a channel to give back to women in the community who are in less-favorable circumstances, by collecting donations for the YWCA’s Alternatives to Domestic Violence Program. Show attendees who donate any non-perishable food or women’s hygiene item at the door receive $3 off the regular admission price of $10. Each year Swanson estimates the donated items are worth as much as $3,000, along with about $1,500 in cash donations from vendor’s service fees and event admission proceeds.
“Domestic violence is something close to my heart — I was a victim for 10 years — so I wanted to help other women facing the same thing,” Swanson says.