Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Battle Creek series.
Shannon Patrick thinks children deserve to feel pampered and special. This is what prompted her to create a first-of-its-kind spa in Battle Creek just for children.
The spa called Primped and Proper Children’s Spa won’t officially open until early November, but there will be an open house from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday for anyone interested in getting a sneak peek inside the building housing it at 285 North Avenue.
“I have a passion for kids. My mom was always good at that and it trickled down to me,” Patrick says. “I wanted to introduce kids to the importance of taking care of their personal appearance. It won’t be a full-service spa, but I want them to know what it feels like to be pampered early on.”
Owner Shannon Patrick's family helps prepare her Primped and Proper Children's Spa for opening.
The services offered at Primped and Proper include manicures and pedicures, kid-friendly facials, and simple braided hairstyles or hair enhancements such as glitter strips geared towards children ages 3 and up.
All of the services are by appointment only and party packages also will be available.
Most of the child-oriented spas make their money on birthday party packages, billing the events as sophisticated alternatives to a day of pizza and Skee-Ball at the local Chuck E. Cheese, says a New York Times story. At one New York-area chain, Seriously Spoiled Salon and Spa
, parties cost $500 to $3,000, and options include a “bath bakery” experience, with lotions that smell like edible treats. (Tag line: “Where the main ingredient is you.”)
The opening of Primped and Proper mirrors a national trend. The International Spa Association
, which tracks industry trends, said that 25 percent of the country’s approximately 20,000 spas now offer services specifically for the under-13 set — up from 15 percent just four years ago. And half of all spas offer services for teenagers, up from a third over the same time period.
Some are new businesses focused exclusively on children, while others have expanded into the child market, offering kid-friendly music, banana-scented facials, and an age-appropriate vocabulary — customers are “princesses” and toes are “pigglies,” says a New York Times article
Lynne McNees, President of the International Spa Association, said in the article, that it was good for girls to learn that beauty treatments can reduce stress and promote health. “It’s very similar to taking little kids to the dentist,” she says. “Let’s get them early, and get those really good habits.”
Primped and Proper Children's Spa will open in November at 285 North Avenue.
Having never owned a brick-and-mortar business location, Patrick says it was a challenge to find a space that would accommodate her young clients and her budget for the renovation of the 1,200-square-foot building which formerly housed an insurance agency.
“It’s in a heavily trafficked area and small enough to not be overwhelming,” she says.
Though Primped and Proper is her first physical business location, Patrick owns two other businesses — AWOL (All Walks of Life) Clothing Company
which she operates out of her home, and a residential cleaning business called Spic N’ Shan. She opened the cleaning business in 2015 founding AWOL two years later.
Her decision to follow an entrepreneurial path was one borne out of necessity.
“For me it was really personal,” Patrick says. “I have Multiple Sclerosis and have had mobility issues and visual impairment which made it difficult for me to work a traditional 9 to 5 job because I was missing work a lot to go to doctors appointments or staying home to deal with fatigue.”
She says being able to set her own schedule will enable her to continue to operate AWOL and Spic N’ Shan while focusing on the spa.
“I’ll take on a lot less cleaning clients. AWOL I can almost do it in my sleep. I’m always waking up with new ideas for that.”
Her commitment to forging her own path instead of traveling someone else’s provides many teaching moments that she talks about with her three children. Her oldest child, Ryan Erwin, 19, opened his own photography business — ArmaniX Shot Me — two years ago. He also has been helping his mother with renovations to the spa building and will likely have some type of managerial role once it opens.
Owner Shannon Patrick's family all help out to prepare for opening Primped and Proper Children's Spa.
“I really push entrepreneurship. I want all of them to have something of their own,” Patrick says of her daughter, Riyana Palmer, 14, and her youngest, a son named Roshan Palmer, age 13.
“I want them to know that while you love what you’re doing, you can also get paid for what you’re doing.”