IWI Fresh Garden Day Spa’s story of expansion started at its inception: Garden fresh goodness, after all, is difficult to contain. First, IWI Fresh Garden Day Spa partnered with Atlanta Hot Shave to add men’s grooming to its running concept of being a juice bar – or salad – for the skin. In the organic shave-skin parlor, IWI Fresh’s sibling gets all the trappings of the adjoining spa – where all products are handmade with fresh organic ingredients. IWI Fresh’s private-labeling division came next featuring owner Yolanda Owens’ hand-picked selections for companies and individuals that are aligned with the IWI Fresh ethos. Now, in addition to being in the process of expanding its production division to a new facility in the Westside Atlanta area to increase product revenue sales, the brand’s garden fittingly includes Whole Foods on Ponce De Leon – where patrons can get the best of the Castleberry Hill flagship a little further uptown. Expansion, yes, but more accurately, growth at the juncture of readiness and opportunity.
AT: Describe how the Whole Foods venture came about.
Yolanda Owens: The Whole Foods venture came about with them approaching me. One day, a client and her friend booked appointments with IWI Fresh for veggie mani’s and pedi’s. Before they checked out at the front desk, they shared how they enjoyed their services and how they loved IWI Fresh’s farm-to-skin concept. Then, they proceeded to say they wanted IWI Fresh in their store. I asked what store, and they said Whole Foods! They were with the South Regional office and had been following and scouting IWI Fresh on social media and decided to book an appointment to see if IWI Fresh [was a good fit] for Whole Foods. They said that they wanted IWI Fresh just as it is. I told them I needed a refrigerator to store the products and they said ok! So now, IWI Fresh has a Farm-to-Skin bar in the Whole Foods Ponce De Leon store in Atlanta. We just had our one-year anniversary.
AT: What can customers expect from your Whole Foods offerings?
O: Customers can expect a farm-to-skin experience. We are not just a product on the shelves, we have a Farm-to-Skin Bar with a mini refrigerator to store our fresh skin care products. We have an apothecary ice bin to display our testers to maintain the freshness. This is the first Farm-to-Skin Bar in Whole Foods Ponce De Leon that has a limited shelf life that must be refrigerated to maintain the freshness. The iwi fresh farm-to-skin bar is also DIY – meaning customers can customize and pump their own body oils. Customers can expect to see me – the Skin Care Chef – doing skin demos monthly.
AT: How has your presence at Whole Foods enhanced your business?
O: The Whole Foods friendship has enhanced our presence in the community. It has driven traffic to our spa. Many Whole Foods shoppers are interested in IWI Fresh Farm-to-Skin products and are eager to experience our spa services. We get Whole Foods customers on a regular basis now.
AT: In our last check-in you mentioned your immediate focus was continuing to establish partnerships with local farms, gardens and farmers markets … as well as corporations like the Atlanta Falcons – any news to share on the latter?
O: We are and will consistently establish partnerships with local farms and corporations. We have established a strong partnership with community organizations such as The Arthur Blank Foundation regarding special iwi fresh community activities, Spelman College, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Aziza Enterprises, and Regions Bank just to name a few.
AT: What’s next for iwi fresh?
O: We are focusing on promoting more men’s self-care with our gentleman spa services and partnering with our men’s division “Atlanta Hot Shave” on men’s grooming. We are forever passionate about growing our youth division “Green Skin Girlz,” teaching young girls how to take care of their skin naturally at an early age. We are also embracing the DIY component of our brand. So, we are launching a DIY mask bar where our customers can make their own face mask, hair mask, foot mask and beard mask. Finally, we are launching our iwi fresh app during the holiday season – starting with the Friday after Thanksgiving which we will now call “Green Friday.”
Originally published in Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine’s Best of Atlanta issue.