Relaxing the World
With a full range of products and services, Bella Riley’s Fine Salon and Spa is offering clients the opportunity to slow down, rejuvenate and leave, looking their best.
By Deena C. Bouknight Photos by Rob & Jon Photography
The Italian word “bella” means beautiful. Rachel Romanelli wants everyone who leaves Bella-Riley’s Fine Salon and Spa to feel pampered and beautiful. Located in the historic cotton mill on Main Street in Lexington with an artsy and comforting ambiance, Bella-Riley’s offers everything from skin, hair, and nail care to massages and body wraps.
Celebrating the 10th year anniversary of a business named partly for her first son, Riley, Romanelli says she can look back and see Bella-Riley’s evolution. She was 24 and “blissfully ignorant” when she opened, which means she made bolder moves as a business woman than she might have had she been older and wiser. However, the business plan proved a solid one. Her father inspired her with the adage: “Anything that happens overnight will fall in a day.” Romanelli decided to jump in with both feet, but to focus on slow growth – “quality, not quantity.”
Word of mouth advertising from satisfied clients has served Bella-Riley’s well, especially during the uncertainties of the current economy. She has not had to take out loans and has just reinvested in the company when she can.
“Our loyal and patient customers have helped get us through these tough economic times,” she says, “and I’m so thankful.”
Romanelli, a licensed massage therapist herself, is passionate about an industry aimed at making people look and feel good. “I want to maintain the value of the industry. Some in our industry have forgotten the desperate need people have to just slow down. These places are like fast food restaurants, offering a quick, impersonal experience aimed at getting more clients in the door. There is better client retention when you take time with the client … Bella Riley’s invests in our clients.”
She adds: “The key to quality is having a team that takes pride in what they do, who are passionate and enjoy what they do, and who make it all about the client. Our mantra is: Our clients are not going to remember what was said or done here, but they will remember how they felt.”
She explains that through professional training, continuing education, and regular meetings, the Bella Riley’s team knows how to greet often stressed – and sometimes grieving – clients and make them feel focused on.
Bella Riley’s team consists of nine hair stylists, three massage therapists, one esthetician, and two front desk associates. Around the wall of the main hair styling area are pictures, taken by the Rob and Jon Photography Studio next door to Bella Riley’s, depicting each team member with their families. Since Romanelli is a working mother of two sons, Riley, 12, and Deuce, 8, she understands the daily needs of women balancing work and families.
“This is such a great group of people,” she says. “We all just pick up the slack where needed. It’s been inspiring for me to see them grow and thrive. It’s not just a job for us.”
Just like the clients that come to Bella Riley’s who have a need to look or feel better, she says the team feels that need and identifies with clients. They all take time to have at least one massage each month. She asserts, “Honestly, and I’m not just saying this because I own a spa, if everyone would take that time for themselves, they would be more productive. When we’re feeling good, it affects everyone around us – the same as if we’re feeling bad. We can be unproductive … drained. Doing something like getting a massage fuels you up so you can continue to give inner resources to your loved ones. If we are worn out and running on empty, we have nothing to give. So taking time for yourself is not selfish at all.”
The hair salon aspect of Bella Riley’s has the most repetitive clients. As Romanelli points out, a woman’s hair is her crown. “We only use high quality hair color so clients can typically wait eight weeks instead of six for their next appointment.”
However, massage is also a draw to Bella Riley’s. Some clients regularly schedule massages, while others schedule when they are given massages as gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, and other special events. Some only think about a massage after they have been physically or emotionally taxed. Bella Riley’s therapists specialize in maternity massage and neuromuscular massage to help those recovering from an illness or injury.
“Because our massage therapists are so professional and caring, when someone does need a massage, even if we only see them once a year, he or she will come back here. We have a very loyal clientele.”
Romanelli says that she has tried to be highly conscientious about the types of services offered, and to evolve with the changing needs of clients. For example, the goal for 2015 is to offer med spa treatments. Regarding massage, cupping has recently become popular. The process of applying warm “cups” to the skin while massaging will stimulate circulation, reduce cellulite, separate fused skin layers, and drain lymph glands.
A full body wrap detoxifies the body and revives the skin. Bella Riley’s also offers facials, microderm for the face, hands, neck, or back, as well as hair removal, manicures, pedicures, and gel nails. For hair, there is the regular shampoo, cut, and style, but also deep conditioning treatments, color, up-dos, perms, and keratin straightening. Main retail products sold include Dermalogica, ColorProof, and Morroconoil. There is even a hair regrowth product with a 90-day money back guarantee; it provides clients with an opportunity to regrow hair lost due to medical, genetic, or stress-related reasons.
In addition to daily walk-ins and appointments, Bella Riley’s is now offering – on a reservation basis – a ladies spa night on the last Friday of each month from 7pm to 11pm Refreshments, snacks, and wine are served. The cost is $50 and participants can choose three mini spa services from a specific menu.
Romanelli says that Bella Riley’s has been in the same location in the old cotton mill for the past 10 years. She says that when she first set up shop in that location, the building was quiet. Now there are restaurants, a photography studio, a gym, yoga classes, a vintage shop and much more.
The setting of Bella Riley’s is immediately soothing when clients walk in the door. Colors are teal, coal, and taupe. The ceilings are high and exposed, and the flooring is original to the factory. There is softened lighting and relaxing music throughout. Floral arrangements add warmth and color. It is the ideal environment for the Bella Riley’s team to shine, asserts Romanelli. “In turn, a safe haven is created and our clients can relax and recharge. Bella Riley’s is relaxing the world, one client at a time.”
Bella Riley’s Fine Salon and Spa
711 East Main St., #9, Lexington SC