TOP 10 AT TEN
BY KATE YACULA
The Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg is home to the cities most noted and luxurious spa, Ten Spa. I had the pleasure of sitting down with it’s Spa Director, Elena Zinchenko, to ask her some questions about the labor of love, research and lots of hard work that is Ten Spa. Let’s dive right in!
1. Before you opened Ten Spa, you had travelled around the world to research treatments and techniques, tell us some of your favourite parts of that journey.
We never stop looking or traveling for the best of the best from products to treatments. We found that the little “hole in the wall” places had the best treatments because those people have been practising for so long with limited resources, so the quality of treatments was more pure and superior. These atmospheres may not be as fancy, but sometimes you can have a beautiful spa with poor treatments. So we wanted to match both the atmosphere and the treatment quality.
We found Austria has the best bathing facilities which is where the Hamam ideas came from. Spain has the best facials, France has the best products, and Germany, the best equipment. So we took a little bit from each of those places and made it work here in Winnipeg.
2. Where is your favourite place to travel to relax?
The Malaga area in the South of Spain because the culture is so relaxed. The people are happy no matter what. They take the time to relax and enjoy life and really take it in.
3. You’re a busy lady and you sit on the board as one of the chairs at the National Association: Leading Spa’s of Canada. What are some of the biggest challenges as spa director?
Because we have so many people on staff with different skill-sets and ability, the goal is to keep everyone feeling valuable and important. I want to make everyone feel like they are on a team, and not more or less important than anyone else. All staff is regarded as equally important and special, and the opportunities of training that we provide are available for everyone.
4. What have you implemented that makes Ten Spa unique?
Ten Spa will be celebrating its 13th year this year. Since the beginning, we’ve changed our menu seven times at least. We adjust based on what is effective, or not, and our development is on-going. It’s all about the quality, not the price for us. We always use the best of the best that exists for whatever we need to work with, from equipment to product, etc. The market is always changing so we always keep up. Ten Spa is independently owned so we choose our tools and products individually and selectively for our needs and standards. This is also why we are able to truly customize our treatments for each guest.
5. What do you look for in a person when you hire your staff?
Potential, not necessarily experience, but also drive. Sometimes it can be a negative thing- experienced people might have habits that are difficult to change or they’ll have difficulty adapting to our environment. I also think it’s a good motivation when people want to succeed professionally and monetarily. I want someone I can grow with, mold, and build something on top of what they already have. We hire with the potential that people will stay with us long-term. I even started putting the years of employment on the employee’s name tags and everyone loves it. Customers also notice. It shows the loyalty of the staff.
6. What is your favourite treatment at Ten Spa?
Honestly, everything. I stand by every single treatment. If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t be here. Not only that, but a treatment wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like it because that would mean it wouldn’t work.
7. What is your best piece of advice or wisdom to women executives/directors?
Don’t be a director! Be approachable, don’t be too executive. You earn respect with your knowledge and with your ability and work-ethic. That’s where your staff respect comes from. You have to be the best at what you do in your field and knowledgeable.
8. What gives you a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction working at Ten Spa?
Our booking screen which I call “The Puzzle” shows each appointment as a little square and when we take the appointments and are fully booked, the screen is full. When I see that screen completely full it gives me great satisfaction. At the end of the day we are a business, so when we are fully booked up everyone is happy. I always ask “How is my puzzle today? Let’s fill in those spaces!”
9. Where do you see Ten Spa in 5, 10+ years?
The spa will continue to evolve, grow and change. People sometimes ask if we have specials but we do not. If there are specials it means that we must cut corners and we do not want to do this. Our prices reflect the research, quality and everything we’ve put into it. We will continue to provide true, quality service. 3 years ago we opened the TenRx. So we focus on result-oriented treatments. Lots of effective treatments that do not require a lot of time. Shorter treatments with variety and the ability to combine them. Sometimes the person who comes in for a whole day, also wants something quick like “Power treatments”, but also be there for you when you want to relax and just do nothing.
10. What is your favourite QOTD (quote of the day)?
The sky is the limit, there is nothing impossible, everything is possible. Even the impossible is possible.