by Virginia Wilkinson
An innovative Saskatchewan company, Just For You Day Spa has grown from one to four locations across Saskatchewan and Alberta in just 10 years, making it one of Saskatchewan’s largest spa facilities.
In 2007, at age 26, current spa owner Jessica Tetu purchased the spa from her former employer, and dove into building the corporate brand and community relationships.
“I answered every phone call, I did radio and TV, I undertook a small re-branding …and built the business—it was pretty crazy.”
The spa now employs more than 100 people in the four locations. Each location has its own team and team lead. Jessica believes it’s her team that has made this company such a success.
“I try very hard to hire based on personality, not necessarily just skill. I can teach skills, but I can’t teach someone to have heart. I look for people who care deeply about their service being an incredible experience for the customer, and who work really well with a team. I feel like that’s what’s made the difference.”
In addition to running the spa, Jessica is also the CEO and founder of Lia Reese Canada, which develops and manufactures Saskatchewan-focused beauty products. Lia Reese was started in 2009, and was named for Jessica’s daughter Ellia Reese.
“It started as a skin care line and grew into a cosmetic line, followed by essential oils, then a men’s shave care line, and a body line, then a nail polish lacquer line, and we’re just now working on a gift care line,” she said.
The company has leveraged its products to support its community focus. A line of lip gloss has been named for inspirational women in Jessica’s life. As well, a lipstick has been linked directly to the company’s community giving.
“We have a lipstick that’s called Apple Head because my niece was born at 29 weeks and spent three months in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). We held a picture of an apple next to her head because she was so tiny. Now she has that picture hanging in her bedroom and she calls it her Apple Head picture. We donate the money from that product to the NICU.”
A line of nail lacquers has been labeled for Saskatchewan towns, and another for Alberta towns. The line includes such names as: Allan a Day’s Work, Craven This Colour, Somewhere Osler the Rainbow, Up a Craik Without a Paddle, Should I Text or Cal-Gary?, Paint the Town Redmonton, A Glass of White or Red Deer?, and more.
“I’m such a small-town girl and I feel like they never get any recognition, so we did a fun play on words, and we named them all for Saskatchewan and Alberta towns.”
Ever focused on growth, Jessica and Lia Reese have just opened a 10,000-squarefoot warehouse in Saskatoon, which is home to the company’s laboratory, wholesale operations, head offices and shipping area.
“One of my biggest goals is now to focus on the wholesale department, because we’re going to be selling our products to salon spas and gift shops across Canada.”
In addition to her work with Just for You Day Spa and Lia Reese Canada, Jessica is also Co-Founder of Entrepreneur306 Business Consulting, a small business consulting initiative.
In 2016, in recognition of her father who struggled with alcohol addiction, she and her brother started 4seventyone Recovery Resources to provide information about, and create funding for, individuals dealing with addictions. She also uses many of her speaking engagements to build awareness of, and reduce the stigma around, addiction issues.
Passionate about community, Jessica is involved with many community organizations including Family Service Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce; as well, her spa provides support to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and local women’s shelters. She encourages her employees to become involved with community work. It’s become part of what makes the culture so strong in her organization.
Jessica has received numerous awards, including the YWCA Women of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship, the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award, Saskatchewan Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award with the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce SABEX Awards, and more. Her spa has been named Top Spa in Canada for Facials by FLARE Magazine, and Winner of Best Beauty Line by Refined Magazine, among others.