The SpaGypsies concept started with a blog by Peggy Lee. Peggy Lee is a successful CEO and founder of multiple startups (see the management section for Ms Lee’s complete bio), including the founding and former chairman and CEO of b-there’s enterprise software system (ERS). B-there in early 1997 became the first real-time online registration and housing management system. Since launching b-there in early 1999, the ERS system has evolved into the premier internet attendee management tool for the meeting and convention industries, servicing such customers as AT&T, Nortel Networks, American Express Travel, PGI, the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, Ernst & Young and Proctor & Gamble.
The blog that Ms. Lee started focused upon a passion, vacation spas, day spas and massages. As her followers increased, Ms. Lee started to increase her writings which culminated with a periodic newsletter. After an informal survey of the industry and her own and others experience with a lack of ability to get reviews and information from frequent and committed participants in the Spa industry, Ms. Lee decided to create a single point of focus and ‘go-to’ for the spa industry. She modeled the concept and her thinking on very specific industry leaders, such as LinkedIn©.
LinkedIn© is the place to go for business networking, company commentary. It is also a place that businesses support, sponsor, and post jobs. All in all a solid consumer and business model – that generates income.
Ms. Lee did most of the initial planning and research and indentified in August 2012 and was joined by an experienced senior management team willing to continue to work the build the company. In mid-September 2012 the new site SpaGypsies.com went live with an initial database of over 4,000 spas. Revenue generating sponsorships are already in negotiations.
Original Blog Post
Are you a Spa Gypsy?
Spa Gypsies love to spend time in the tranquil environment of a spa. Whether it’s for relaxation, detoxification, fitness, nutrition and weight management or beautification, Spa Gypsies relish the ability to get away from it all and focus. It can be a spiritual experience or a “get away and chill” adventure. Whether it’s a destination spa like Canyon Ranch or The Norwich Inn and Spa, a great resort spa like Grand Waialua Resort, or a day spa like Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door, many of us can’t wait until our next spa experience and love to share it with other spa aficionados.
My name is Peggy Lee and you can call me the Chief Spa Gypsy. The concept of Spa Gypsies came to me in November 2001. I was attending an online travel industry conference in Miami when a hurricane was projected to hit South Florida. The combination of post-9/11 fears of travel and an impending hurricane made South Beach look like a deserted oasis with raging winds and ocean waves. I had flown in a day early, as I often tried to do, to have some R&R time and catch up on my work before the conference. I was staying at The Tides, which is a short walk to the Omni where the conference was, and also a short walk to The Delano, and the Aqua Spa. As was my custom, I called The Delano spa and made an appointment for a massage that Sunday evening.
I was the CEO of a dot com called b-there.com, and I traveled often and was required to be “on” most of the time. Either networking with industry executives at events like this Phocuswright Conference, meeting potential customers or press, attending functions, dealing with a 100+ staff, or dealing with investors and a Venture Capital controlled Board of Directors, I was always under the gun. Going to a spa while traveling became my sanctuary.
That night as I signed into the spa appointment, the typical “profile form” had to be filled out. They always ask you what your occupation is. In the past, I put “Internet Company”. It being 1999-2000, I found that most of the spa therapists were eager to have a conversation with me about the Internet and my dot com. That was the furthest thing from my mind when I went into a spa while on the road. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, much less talk about the Internet, a topic that consumed about 90% of my waking hours every day. So I had started writing “Computers” or “Software” as my occupation. The response to this change was just as bad. Therapists would ask me questions like “Do you have email? “ , “What kind of computer do you use?” or want to tell me all about their experiences with email and computers. So as I sat there, it came to my mind that at this particular point in time my occupation was “Spa Gypsy”. So I wrote that down. No one ever asked me anything about my occupation any more. For whatever reasons, the therapists didn’t care to have a conversation about it. That was great. Mission accomplished. Peace and quiet and tranquility at a spa!
By the way, there was no one at Aqua Spa that night, just me, the massage therapist and the receptionist. It was pure bliss. So I booked myself for services for the next morning. It was still deserted with the travel thing, the hotel was empty, and the hurricane—no locals were even getting out. I was pampered and totally rejuvenated by the time my conference began that night!
Since I understand the web quite well, I quickly began to think about what I would like to do on the Internet realize to spas. At the time, only SpaFinder had any content about spas, and none of it was from people like me—Spa Gypsies. So I thought how wonderful it would be to build a place where like-minded people like me could congregate, communicate and collaborate about spa experiences—health and wellness et al. Back then, I was too busy with b-there to build it.
After I sold b-there to other company, I often thought about building SpaGyspies.com and making it a Community with information from sites like Spa Finders, but also where other Spa Gypsies could post spa reviews, tips, comments, and also educate others on the industry. I also wanted a marketplace for services and products to be available for buyers and sellers of the industry’s unique products and services.
Please join me and share your experiences, services and products with other Spa Gypsies!
Chief Spa Gypsy & Founder