Strolling through East Harlemlast week I came across a charming spa tucked away on 103rd Street. Curious, as I had not noticed it before, I went in Soluna Holistic Spa, to inquire about their services and found the space to be inviting and peaceful. The spa’s business card boasts “an urban oasis in the heart of Spanish Harlem” and I agree.
A few days later I was back to have my first ever facial. Not knowing what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the owner’s (simply known as Susu) knowledge of skincare not only externally but from a holistic health perspective. Equipped with alternative remedy wisdom passed on from her grandmother and years of skincare experience, Susu confidently knows her stuff and passionately shares it in a candid way that I appreciate. My face was in good hands. Susu talked me through each step of the process of the European facial, which is the type of facial she recommends for facial newbies. I departed from the spa feeling relaxed with radiant skin and a holistic game plan to keep it that way.
The day after my facial I sat down with Susu and listened to her share about the evolution of the spa, the community response to its arrival and their small business grant Facebook campaign.
TBelle: Your spa has been called a gem, tell us more about that.
Susu: A lot of people are saying we are a rare gem in Spanish Harlem, unspoiled. They are actually keeping it to themselves because they want to be able to still come in, have sessions, and for us not to be so overwhelmed that they can’t get an appointment. It really is a rare gem, we love it.
TBelle: What do you think makes your space special?
Susu: I think we are the only holistic based spa in Spanish Harlem, which is slowly evolving into a holistic sanctuary. We have a wonderful garden where we going to be offering classes starting the week of July 4th in yoga, meditation, chi gong, pilates, tai chi as well as outdoor massages, Caribbean style. We also offer these wonderful modalities that are an alternative to conventional medicines, encouraging people to take charge of their health through natural means. We are all very passionate about it, being the only [holistic based spa] that I am aware of in this area. On Sundays, we offer our nutritional workshops; we will be offering aromatherapy workshops coming soon as well. We offer seniors a discount once a month. We are trying to partner with a few of the hospitals for women [undergoing] breast cancer treatments to offer a free wellness day once a month. That’s our way of giving back.
TBelle: How has the community responded your business?
Susu: Very, very positive, very encouraging, with welcome arms. We have had people cry literally on the [massage] table or when they come out from the sessions they will give us a hug and ask us to continue to do what we are doing and to offer the services we are offering, because we are much more than just a place of massages. For some reason, they are feeling a very powerful, healing energy here. So we are just amazed at some of the responses that we are getting. It has been overwhelmingly positive and a surprise. And those people who are not aware of holistic therapies are so open to it, they are coming in and just experiencing all of our services, which is also a wonderful surprise. We are getting so much demand for these different [services].
TBelle: The spa is currently running a Facebook voting campaign for a small business mission grant, tell us more about that.
Susu: We were invited by Chase and LivingSocial (LivingSocial is one of the companies we do online deals with), as a business to qualify for a $250,000 grant for small businesses. So we would be in the running with other small businesses across the nation if we have enough votes from our clients, friends and people we network with. We need 250 votes so we are asking people that come in to vote for us at missionsmallbusiness.com. [The grant] would help us to solidify our business here in El Barrio, expand our business, and create jobs locally. [It] would sustain what we are doing as well as open it open to more opportunities of workshops and classes that we could offer for free to the community. This week from Wednesday through Saturday (June 27th – June 30th) we are hosting an afterhours Facebook party 7- 9 pm. We are asking people to come in vote for us and purchase raffle ticket for our Goddess packages and 2 free weeks of classes. We are also handing out free weekly guest passes to the Bally’s gym on 106th street. So we are giving people some treats. We need the votes by June 30, only a few days left.
TBelle: Next month you are celebrating the one year anniversary of the Soluna Holistic Spa East Harlem location, what are your thoughts?
Susu: It is our one year anniversary and I am really happy, ecstatic and surprised. We have evolved, we originally started out as Soluna skincare and of course I said we are much more than skincare. So we then evolved into Soluna Holistic Spa, but we are not a spa that is based on hair services or mani-pedi services. This is about holistic healing, therapeutic healing, and alternative methods to conventional medicine. Our one year anniversary is coming up in July, and we are planning to have a party, so we invite you to come back and party with us. There is going to be music, food and dancing, it’s just going to be wonderful, so we encourage everyone to visit us. Come, visit the spa and be a part of it, experience it with us.
Soluna Holistic Spa
143 East 103rd Street
Between Lexington and Park Avenues
New York, NY10029