Spas have become so prevalent that it’s hard to imagine a new take on pampering.
But Lydia DiCello has found one. She’s created a spa with an exceptionally personal touch — by offering massage treatments and facials to only four clients a day.
That means customers don’t have to wait in a busy waiting room, and she can attend to each service with a focused, unhurried approach.
“I didn’t like waiting at spas and felt myself getting anxious when I had to,” said DiCello, 31. “I wanted to provide wiggle room between clients, so if an appointment took a bit longer, that was OK. I want to really be able to concentrate on the treatments.”
For DiCello, owning a spa is the result of a journey that led down a few different paths. A graduate of Aurora High School, DiCello got a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology and anatomy from the University of South Carolina. Then she headed to New York City where she modeled for a year, having signed with the well-known Ford Models.
She moved back to Ohio to get a master’s degree in education from Ursuline College, then worked in medical and pharmaceutical sales.
But after a while, DiCello, who lives with her lawyer husband, Nicholas, in Cleveland’s Little Italy, decided she wanted a different type of career.
She went to beauty school at the Brown-Aveda Institute in Mentor, and something clicked. “I loved doing it, loved the manual labor of it and the holistic approach,” she says. “And it helps people feel good.”
She went on to get her license as an aesthetician, so she could provide facials, massage and waxing services.
In opening her own spa, DiCello said a number of things were important to her — including that it be as “green” as possible, which also meant offering organic products. She picked the Eminence Organics line, with ingredients made from organic vegetable and fruit pulps and extracts.
At Pure Skin, the ambience is cozy but not oppressively so. The rooms — on the second floor of a building in downtown Chagrin Falls — are smartly furnished with attractive re-purposed items. Those include a bistro table and chairs for enjoying a cup of tea, and a roll cart from a now-closed local hospital that holds waxing products. Her mother-in-law donated her taupe and olive-green striped drapes, right off her windows.
If the spa feels homey, it’s partly because DiCello and her father put the place together — they painted the walls, put in the hardwood floors and changed the lighting.
A client feels soothed just by entering. DiCello offers a beverage, like green tea or, on a warm day, some lavender lemonade.
She’ll have her clients soak their feet in a foot bath with bath salts while discussing what might be bothering them physically. Then, it’s time for the treatment — a facial ($65), or maybe an enzyme peel ($95) or a 75-minute relaxation massage ($90).
DiCello also offers a variety of waxing treatments, from brow ($15 and up) to Brazilian ($65 and up).
DiCello, who also does makeup, has become a favorite of local brides and their attendants. The powder room at Pure Spa features a number of the photos she took of her favorite looks.
Joyce Calabrese, designer sales manager at the Beachwood Place Nordstrom, first heard of Pure Skin from a woman who works for her. She’s become a big fan.
“Lydia’s attention to detail and her follow-through are so impressive,” says Calabrese, who lives in Beachwood. “She started in a tough market, and she’s making it because of the caliber of service she offers. Lydia has made it a personal and lovely place.”
Pure Skin & Spa has been open a little over a year, and DiCello says it’s word of mouth that’s filling her appointment book.
“This place is exactly what I wanted it to be,” she says.