Longtime spa director Michael Conte joins the Pietro Simone team as National Director of Spa Partnerships. He shares his takeaways from his time at Meadowood and his thoughts on where the spa industry is headed.
Tell us a little bit about your spa background. How’d you get into spa, what was your very first spa position and your most recent?
I decided to get into wellbeing because I lost my father to cancer when I was 26, and we only took a Western approach which had many complications for him. I wanted to go into a field where I could help people, so in 2005, I got my certification as a holistic health practitioner. My first spa job was with Spa Gregories in Orange County under the fabulous Angela Cortright and Scott Duncan. As for my most recent, I just finished a wonderful five-and-a-half-year run at Meadowood Napa Valley as the Director of Spa and Wellness.
What are you most proud of during your tenure? What were your biggest “life lessons,” i.e., what will you carry with you from your time at Meadowood?
Being a part of creating such a special sanctuary was amazing! I think I was most proud of the approach we took to spa at Meadowood. It wasn’t about the mighty dollar; we had the luxury of giving guests time and our full attention. Through our treatment programming we were able to fuse luxury with education and offer our guests (and team) an opportunity to pause and remind us all of the importance of slowing down. My biggest life lesson I am taking away from Meadowood would be to appreciate each moment, and the opportunity to work for a company and owners that appreciate and support the work we do. Losing our jobs due to the (Glass) Fire was heartbreaking for my entire team, and we all have to be grateful for what we were able to create together as a team.
The spa industry will continue to push the boundaries of wellbeing while never forgetting the centuries of wisdom that have been passed down to us through the healing arts.
I hear that you’re now working with skincare guru Pietro Simone. Tell us what you’re doing with the brand, and how you met Pietro.
Pietro and I met a few years ago at the International Spa Association (ISPA) Conference. When I was introduced to Pietro’s line, I was truly impressed with the efficacy of the products. I have been in this industry for a while and have been exposed to so many great lines, but Pietro’s line changed my skin. While he has been experiencing success in Europe, he was passionate about the US market—so I will be working on growing the brand in the US, particularly within the luxury spa industry. I am excited to partner with amazing spas that are ready to offer their guests a new and impressive skincare experience.
What do you love about the brand? Are there any “hero” products that resonate with you?
So many things! The line was developed to be effective for all skin types. Pietro is so knowledgeable about skin, and his formulas are exquisite—and then you pair them with his facial techniques, and WOW! It’s a compact offering of nine essential products and six prestige products, so it’s wonderful for spas on many levels. I just love how effective it is, packed with peptides and his exclusive Italian Bella Complex™! My personal favorite must-haves are The Eye Contour Cream and the Age Preserve, but depending on what your concerns are, everyone will have their own hero product!
Where do you think our beloved spa and wellness industry is headed?
Our industry has been greatly effected by the current global health crisis, but now is the time for us to shine! We are the leaders to inspire and teach people about how to cope and get through these unprecedented times with our help of mental, emotional, and physical healing. Touch is essential to live, we must remember that and work together on safely continuing to nurture and care for our guests and clients through bodywork. We have a dynamic, talented, and intelligent industry so we will get through this and hopefully continue to push the boundaries of wellbeing while never forgetting the centuries of wisdom that have been passed down to us through the healing arts.