You may frequent the King and Portland area of Toronto for your day job, or your night life, but, when was the last time you visited specifically for some elevated pampering? Located below street level, it can be easy to pass by Hammam Spa without realizing what the incredible interior holds. Not only has the Hammam Spa been one of the city’s go-to spas since it opened 15 years ago, but it also happens to be a top destination for a truly unique (and extremely beautiful) Turkish spa experience. Here we caught up with the spa’s founder to find out more about her journey and recent venture in to the skin care market with newest business, Céla Skincare.
Keep reading to meet Celine Tadrissi of Hammam Spa and Céla Skincare!
Name & Title: Celine Tadrissi, Founder and Owner
Location: Toronto, ON
Edit Seven: Tell us about your business, what do you do?
Celine Tadrissi: I own two businesses. The first is Hammam Spa, which I founded 15 years ago when I was inspired to introduce Canadians to the traditional Turkish spa experience. The second is Céla, which is a luxury skincare company made in and inspired by Canada.
E7: How did you start your business? What inspired you to start?
CT: I studied business and accounting in school and worked at the board of trade after graduation. I knew I wanted to be in business but have also always been drawn to the beauty and wellness sphere. I decided to merge my business management experience with what I love, which resulted in the creation of Hammam Spa and Céla.
E7: Why do you love what you do?
CT: I love what I do because I believe in the importance of self-care. I love that Hammam Spa offers people an escape from their busy lives and provides them with a place to be pampered. Through the creation of Céla, my customers can integrate that important self-care experience into their daily routines.
E7: What makes your business special?
CT: Hammam Spa is special because it offers a modern interpretation of traditional Turkish baths and has thrived amongst an unfamiliar Canadian audience. When I first opened this spa 12 years ago on the semi-barren King St. West, people told me I was crazy. Now, the spa has nearly 900 guests coming through its doors weekly. Céla is special because it was developed to better serve Hammam’s customers and has grown into an entire range of luxury skincare products featuring some of Canada’s most potent natural ingredients.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your business so far?
CT: I’ve learned that it’s crucial to look at the bigger picture and stop yourself from getting stuck on the small stuff. There are always going to be challenges as a business owner, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s really important and understand what’s worth your attention and effort.
E7: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner?
CT: The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a business owner is managing the pressure to be so many things (and be so many places) at once. It’s difficult to “wear many hats” as a leader and creator but luckily I work with an incredible staff here at the spa.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
CT: Always try your best.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own spa or beauty/skin care business?
CT: Listen to yourself and your customers
E7: You recently launched your skin care brand, Céla, tell us more about it and why you decided to create it?
CT: Céla grew and developed organically through my experiences at Hammam Spa. About eight years ago I was unable to find the ideal range of professional products for the services we perform at the spa, so I decided to create my own. I started ordering bulk raw ingredients to develop different products while researching Canadian ingredients and plants. The entire process took years, with numerous rounds of testing and modifications based on my personal experiences and client feedback. Eventually, I started working with a formal lab to develop the product range with the goal of creating a luxury, Canadian skincare line adaptable across all ages, skin types, genders and geographical locations.
E7: What is it about Céla products that’s different from what you already carry at Hammam and what’s already in the market?
CT: Céla is unique because it was developed “in the kitchen” of a spa – incorporating real-time client feedback throughout the creation process. Céla is also the first Canadian luxury skin care line to harness the natural power of Northern botanicals.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business?
CT: I wish I had let go of self-doubt and the fear of failure. Starting a business is scary, but I believe when you’re passionate and trust in what you’re creating you need to take a leap, it will pay off.
E7: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness business to prepare for?
CT: I’d tell future entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness business to be prepared to adapt. Not only to the ever-changing market, but also to unexpected formula changes, requirements, and packaging alterations.
E7: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
CT: Though sometimes it doesn’t feel possible, I do try to stay as organized, balanced and motivated as possible. As a mother of three and owner of two businesses I need to stay organized, I don’t have another option. I stay balanced by always being present. When I’m at work I’m focused on work and when I’m at home I put my phone away and spend time with my family. Staying motivated is the easiest part. I love and believe in what I do. That’s what keeps me going.
E7: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
CT: My mom is my role model. I tend to look up to women that are close to me as opposed to public figures. My mother raised me on her own, often working two jobs while taking classes on the side. I’ve seen her work hard throughout my life and she’s always been there to offer me love and support.
E7: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
CT: I try to workout multiple times a week. I also meditate before everyone in my house wakes up.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
CT: My family and travelling inspire me. My husband and three daughters always lift my spirits. In fact, the name Céla is actually inspired by the names of my three daughters Colette, Bella and Caprice. Travelling always inspires me because it exposes me to rituals and practices that are unfamiliar to Canadians but widely practiced in other cultures. There is always something new to learn and experience when you’re away from home.
E7: What is one of your favourite treatments at Hammam Spa to treat yourself to?
CT: My favourite treatment at Hammam Spa is the Céla Seed to Skin treatment. The ritual utilizes a variety of Céla products and incorporates a scalp, neck and shoulder massage. It’s a unique treatment that awakens your entire body and makes me feel balanced and revitalized every time.
E7: Who is the Hammam Spa and Céla Skin customer?
CT: The Hammam Spa and Céla Skin customer is anyone looking to elevate their self-care practices whether that be at the spa or at home.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)