So, it seems the standard serene spa lady with hot stones on her back simply did not suffice for Enrique Ramirez, owner of face to face nyc.  The photos you see here, featured casually on his website amidst photos of the shabby chic reception area and treatment menus, are the faces of his popular boutique spa, catering primarily to gay and metrosexual men, in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood.

As you saw in this Live Spa TV segment, face to face nyc is a lovely spa space with a talented, highly professional staff and fantastic services. So where did these photos come from? In this interview with Enrique, see how his “sexy spa art” came to be an art genre all its own, national TV appearances included.

Spa Week Daily: You have definitely taken an out-of-the-box approach to presenting your spa. What is the inspiration behind it?

Enrique Ramirez: Besides beauty, I’m a big fashion fanatic so I always like the sexy, provocative approach of designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. Since we specialize in skin care, it was important that our images showed beautiful skin

SWD: Is everyone besides you in the photos part of your staff? (Enrique is the one wearing a shirt)

ER: No, all were paid professional models.

SWD: You have a very loyal following at your spa. What do your clients say about your Spa Art?

ER: They were taken by surprise at first, almost shocked, but now they love them. I did hear that some other companies in the beauty and fashion industry saw them as offensive and I was even accused of degrading women.

SWD: Be more specific – what sort of problems have you run into because of the images?

ER: As I mentioned before, initially when I introduced the ad campaign many took offense at the images. Some said they were ‘too gay’, ‘porn-like’ and simply ‘disgusting’. I started by introducing Anal Bleaching to New Yorkers back in the Fall of 2007 with a very beautiful image and at that time I was being attacked by almost everyone.

SWD: Speaking of the flipside… hopefully there’s a flipside?

ER: The positive side is that I got a full page article in Time Out NY and I appeared on the Howard Stern Show.

SWD: You describe your spa as VERY New York, and after visiting, I agree. What do you think makes a spa “New York”?

ER: By that I mean that New Yorkers are smart, stylish, funny, hard-working, and assertive with an edgy side.  And that basically is my hard core clientele!

SWD: Overall, how do you think your marketing has affected your business?

ER: We certainly got many more clients than we would have, had we used conventional spa images. I think the images attract a unique clientele who are looking for out-of-the-box type spa treatments who are turned away by ‘normal’ spas. Overall, it has made a positive impact on business.

SWD: When were these photos taken?

ER: These images were taken by Jon Moe, a former model turned photographer, back in the Fall of 2007, but the contract between the photographer and my spa ends very soon. I’ll need new ones.

SWD: How will you ever follow this up! What’s next?

ER: It’ll be similar to the current one but using more female models. In 2011 I’m going mainstream and targeting the female market with female-specific treatments such as Vajazzle and Lash Extensions later this Spring. In the process of creating a new tag line such as…”girls who likes boys who likes spas” or “gays, bring your gal pal to spa heaven”. I would love to get feedback from your readers!!

Chime in: What should Enrique’s female-targeted slogan be? And do these photos make you want to visit the spa, or the opposite?

face to face nyc
20 West 20th Street, Suite 603
New York, NY 10011

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