Vance Soto, President and Owner of The OleHenriksen Face/Body Spa Interviewed
Tell me a bit about yourself and career.
I am just a guy that had $60 bucks in his pocket and hit the road to LA as a young, inexperienced, but driven eighteen year old with a dream to live in LA. The beginning leading into my mid 20’s was rough. Full of couch surfing and finding myself. LA is tough but I was always a very resourceful person. Fortune comes with sacrifice but I always knew I would build the empire. I have an extreme love affair with beauty and spa. My best friend took me to a spa in my younger years when times were rough and I will never forget the way it made me feel. It birthed my passion for what I do now.
Professionally I started off in beauty as a self-proclaimed professional “sweat wiper” at the local tanning salon in high school. I wiped up people’s sweat after their tanning session. Glamorous, right? But I did it with a smile. That road led me to eventually becoming the Manager of Jose Eber Salon in Beverly Hills, owning the tanning salon I worked for in high school, being headhunted by Equinox to open their largest day spa in history and eventually to OLEHENRIKSEN to become their Spa Director in 2009. In 2011 we struck a deal for me to purchase the Spa from Ole Henriksen whom to this day is my dear friend and like family. I strongly believe that the universe always has a plan but the pearls of wisdom I have learned along the way is: always find the yes and can before the no and can’t and train your brain to always see opportunity.
How did the idea for your spa come about?
The spa actually came to me. It was the right time and right place. The spa has always been from the day I started a “different” place. It was/is special and magical. The team was fantastic! I wanted to own a piece of history meanwhile still complementing the DNA that was already there. I am a firm believer you must constantly reinvent yourself so we’re always looking for technology, innovation, and results driven services to introduce. My goal is and always will be to ensure our spa is the leader in transforming people’s skin. We are beyond serious about skin care in my spa!
What are some services that you offer?
We offer the largest skin care offering in Los Angeles ranging from complexion treatments (facials), chemical peels, light treatments, HydraFacials, Oxygen, Microdermabrasion, waxing, slimming services, radio-frequency for skin tightening, bathing rituals, wet room services (scrubs, wraps, etc), and much more. We have it all! Guests never get bored here and there is always something fun and new to try. To name a few of the most popular would be our Red Carpet Facial which is basically using all technology in one service, our Return To Nature Massage which gives back to nature by planting trees, and our Moroccan Bathing Ritual which is extremely popular with couples.
Your spa is a favorite for celebrities. What are some services they enjoy?
Yes! We are so fortunate to have a strong celebrity following for decades. Our philosophy is to treat everyone like a VIP however and you don’t need to be a celebrity to come here. We love everyone! However, we are a favorite with Ellen Degeneres (we have been on her show many times!), Katy Perry who loves our Red Carpet facial and body scrubs with the tropical rain rinse. Lisa Kudrow has been a big fan for many years of our facials. Charlize Theron loves our Microdermabrasion so much that we created the at home version for her. Mark Wahlberg has been a big fan of our mens facials as well.
What is the biggest challenge about your job?
I think the biggest challenge much like many industries is the staffing. Management is definitely not for the faint of heart (haha). It’s a competitive industry so you must always be on top of your game.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Making a guest smile. The thing about owning a world renowned spa is that people are looking forward to coming here. They’re looking forward to coming here even before they get here. That’s massively rewarding! We are literally making their day, week, or even year. Whether to be transforming their skin, pampering, relaxation, or being their therapist. We make you smile.
What are some services and products you enjoy for yourself?
I love our Red Carpet facial. It’s so unique! The amount of technology is unheard of and it makes a difference in your skin. That’s my go to facial for keeping on my skin on point. For relaxation I love the Moroccan Bathing Ritual (you can even create your own DIY version at home if you can’t come to the spa!) and massages are essential for me. Self-care I view as wellness and not a luxury. I believe that people do not take enough time for themselves. You must take care of you in order to be of any good to others. Product wise I absolutely love the OLEHENRIKSEN Find Your Balance Cleanser, Sheer Transformation Moisturizer, and Truth Serum. Suitable for all skin types! Plus, your skin care routine should be fun and not a chore. Take time to do it right!
Do you have any future plans to expand the spa?
I will definitely expand with the times, innovation, and technology but I believe part of our success is remaining boutique, family owned and operated, and intimate. It’s a different experience at my spa. You are not a number. You’re our guest. With that level of care and the human touch it requires much focus on our day to day operations. However, never say never!
Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I love to say yes to life. Life is more fun when you say yes! It has done my body good and I have experienced some of the most sublime moments by simply saying yes.
What are you watching on tv these days?
I have to be honest in that I do not watch a ton of TV. I like to be active and social so I am usually traveling and spending time with family and friends when I am not in the Spa. However, I know there is a lot of wonderful content on TV these days!
Anything else you want to share?
Yes! I love to inspire and help others realize that they can achieve greatness. So for anyone reading this that might need a little #inspo – I am a prime example of someone who quit high school three times, lost my house and my first business, fell down and knocked out some teeth but through tenacity and resourcefulness the unthinkable became reality. I was not privileged by any means. I have a tattoo that says: Fortune likes the bold. Find the opportunity. Pay it forward. I want to remind people that it can happen and to stay positive. Embrace the roller coaster of life and always keep your eyes on the stars. Your moment will come.