It seems that after lockdown and the stresses of the pandemic, more and more of us are feeling the need for some pampering.
That’s certainly the experience of White Orchid Beauty and Spa owner Jennifer McKearney.
Jennifer (29) is busier than ever in her Armagh business and, such is the demand for the salon’s services, she is planning to expand.
From early September, clients will be able to wind down in a new-look relaxation room, which is being extended into the garden and will include a hot tub, sauna, seating area and fire pit.
“I am hoping to cater for bigger groups and parties of up to 10 people,” said Jennifer. “We have so many clients contacting us and asking for that but at the moment we only have space for six.
“Staycations for hen parties are a big thing at the moment as nobody can go anywhere so we are trying to open up that market.
“The hot tub area is completely exclusive, so clients have it for their own private use before they come upstairs for treatments.
“We also work in partnership with The Gathering Rooms in town so anyone who books a package with us can finish with lunch upstairs in the Rose Tearoom.
“It a nice wee way to enjoy your day and have everything in-house.”
The Derrynoose woman opened the business five years ago this November, starting off with just herself working over two floors of the Victoria Street premises.
Now she employs five staff and all four floors are occupied by the salon, with two double suites, a double pedicure room and seaweed bath, along with the tearoom and extended relaxation room.
And to cap it all, White Orchid has recently been nominated for Spa of the Year 2021 with the Ulster Tatler.
“At the moment we do a lot of ‘doubles’ such as mothers and daughters, friends and couples. We also do monthly spa packages – from five-hour to one-and-a-half-hour sessions – and we are really busy with those,” she said.
“The tea room opened after the first lockdown. Lockdown was a very productive time for me. My head never stopped going round with all the ideas!
“The business has taken time to build up but I am a very firm believer ‘in make a bit, spend a bit’.”
Jennifer, who studied Beauty Therapy Levels 2 and 3 in Southern Regional College, ran a salon in Keady, Inner Beauty, for a year-and-a-half before working for Allure House of Beauty in Lurgan and the spa in Castle Leslie.
But she “just couldn’t shake” the desire to run her own business again, prompting her to open White Orchid – a move which has proven to be a winner.
The salon opens Tuesday (9-5), Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (9-9) and Saturday (9-6).