By Jemi Ekunkunbor
Growing up with a mother who has over 30 years in spa business, Joyce Adenike Busari knew, very early on in life, that no other job would give her satisfaction than working in a spa. Having gained hands-on spa experience from her mother, she travelled to Champney College of Health and Beauty, United Kingdom, where she obtained several diplomas in beauty therapy courses recognised all over the world – CIBTAC Beauty Therapy, CIBTAC Aesthetic Treatments and CIBTAC Practical Body
Treatments. She also did other courses in the UK in Microdermabrasions and Skin Peels.
She worked with different spas in the UK before returning home to Nigeria, armed with about 15 years experience, to set up her own outfit christened Biyou, a Japanese word for ‘beautiful’.
The beautiful mother of four, who is a walking advertisement for what she does, in this Bridal Edition, takes us into her technology-driven beauty world and shows us how to get brides beautiful and ready to say, “I do”.
The impression many have about a spa is that it is a luxury service and so many people steer away. Can an ordinary bride who wants to look good for her wedding day dream of your services?
I do not agree that spa is a luxury service and, therefore, not for everyone. Yes, spa is for everyone because spa has what everybody is looking for in terms of their hair, skin or nutrition. I would rather say, it is a necessity; especially, for women who want to look good and age gracefully. Sometimes, some people don’t know exactly what it is they need to do so people like us come in to show them how to take care of their skin; the kind of cosmetics to use and the kind of food to eat as well. That is the nutrition part of our work here.
If a bride comes to your spa, what kind of service would you recommend to make her beautiful for the big day?
It depends on what she is looking for. We’ve had brides come in 6 months to their wedding. Every bride wants her skin to glow and to be the centre of attraction on that day. We’ve had brides come in who want to lose weight so that they can glow on their wedding day.
First, we would do a body profile analysis of her skin, depending on what it is really she wants. Some want to lose weight by two dress sizes, others just want their skin to glow for their wedding day. For skin care, I would recommend the treatment and the product they need to use.
What’s the ideal time to start this treatment before the big day?
For a bride, I would recommend three months for weight loss and skin care as well. Skin regenerates every 28 days so whatever product recommended for them to use, it will take 28 days for them to see results.
Some brides, no doubt, come with not so good skins. How would you describe the most challenging one that you have handled?
Before I go into any details with a bride, I always tell the bride that this is the expectation because I work with natural and organic skin care products. I don’t do anything chemical. When we sit down and consult, I tell them that this is the expectation from the treatment; if you have anything in mind beyond this, you will never reach it because with natural and organic skin care, it takes time for you to see result. You have to be patient.
I had this bride that came in three months to her wedding. I had a treatment plan for her; everything was going on smoothly until about two weeks to her wedding. She took time off work to go shopping. Apparently, she was the one running around and doing everything so she went to the market with no sunscreen, no hat or umbrella. Nothing! She spent the whole day in the sun and everything we had done up until that point went out the door! I had told her about the sun and its effect. At the end of the day, even though it wasn’t so bad, it wasn’t the expectation we set out to achieve.
People talk about the spa “experience”. What makes it an experience?
The atmosphere is quiet; it’s relaxing and the treatment is great. We do a lot of massaging, steaming. It’s an experience everybody should come to have. And, when we are done with you, you feel good, rejuvenated and refreshed. These are some of the comments from clients.
Do grooms come too?
Brides are the ones who really bother about their skin and the way they look because they want to be the centre of attention on that day.
You have added nutrition to what you do. Why?
I grew up in this field. My mother owned a spa and she is into nutrition. She was my first port of call when it came to skin care, nutrition, weight loss etc. Then, I had the opportunity to travel to the UK where I studied for skin care and nutrition. I had about five years in the UK doing various courses that have brought me to this point.
So, here in our restaurant, we are doing salads, healthy smoothies, healthy foods. We feel this will complement other treatments because the food you eat will reflect on your skin. You can’t have good skin and not take care of your nutrition. You can’t have one and not the other. They complement each other.
We are heavy on cabs here. What are we not doing well?
Basically, the Nigerian diet is actually a good one because we don’t eat a lot of processed foods. But things have changed. We now have a lot of processed, instant foods. I would say our foods are very rich in vegetables so, we should concentrate on eating more of the vegetables and less of the carbohydrates. Even if you are eating carbohydrates, let it be the one that you prepare yourself and not the instant one you buy in stores; they tell you a lot written on the packet but you really don’t know what is packed in it. Nigeria has a lot of greens and vegetables, full of vitamins in them. We have ofada rice which is very good. These are what we should concentrate on.
What is it like running a business like spa?
It is very challenging here in Nigeria with workforce, electricity and, because I am a hands-on mum, I have to be able to balance my work and my home life as well. It is challenging but I have been able to do it. And, I have a supportive husband who helps me.
Does your work not require confidentiality?
Yes, it does. We have a lot of high-end clients in government and the private sector and they come in here. Once I am doing a consultation, they tell me everything which includes their health records. So this is not something I can allow any staff to do. I handle all the consultations and then my staff can handle treatment.
How can our life style be enhanced with spa?
It has to be part of life because I know, for a fact, that our country is very stressful but you need to take time out to relax and to refresh yourself. Relaxation is important.
If you were not doing this, what would you be doing?
I don’t think there would be anything else. This is my love. This is it for me. There is nothing else I can see myself doing.
What is your style?
I like to be comfortable in myself and be confident as well. That is what informs my style. When I come to the spa, I am in uniform. During the weekend, I dress differently.
What won’t you do for beauty sake?
I won’t compromise what I believe in – one does not have to go under the knife or use bleaching agents to achieve beauty. I believe that every woman is beautiful. We just need to know what to do and how to do it.
Do you subscribe to any label?
Not at all! The brand doesn’t matter. When I see what I like, I will buy it. With fashion, it has to fit your body type. If I am big on my hips and I buy something that doesn’t fit that area, it won’t look good on me.
When you are not working, where do you like to go to?
If I am not in Nigeria, I like to go to Canada because I have a daughter there.