Ina Bajaj – Founder and CEO East Day Spa & Spring Spa

What’s your story?

Inherently entrepreneurial, I divide my time between Auckland and Bali. The spa journey started for me in 2002 at East Day Spa in Wellington NZ with a staff component of 4. A trip to Bali to recruit staff from an island devastated by bombings, led to a long term love affair with the people and the island. Our brands now span nine locations across New Zealand and Indonesia with over 200 staff, and we continue to make sustainable strides forward.

What excites you most about your industry?

The resilience of the spa and wellness industry during COVID. We only know the value of wellness when our health is at risk. The global wellness economy, currently worth US4.5 trillion dollars, will see continued growth. The virus is a wake-up call to remind us how precious good health and wellbeing is, and by nurturing our bodies we strengthen our physical, mental and spiritual immunity. Spas, beauty and hair salons help people feel good about themselves and, with travel restrictions in place, will provide the necessary escapism. Wellness within borders is our tag line.

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What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?

Motivation comes from passion. I work with people I like, I work in an industry I love and I only select locations I’m obsessed with. It’s really that simple.

What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?

Success in the beauty and wellness industry requires resilience, a thick skin and sharp emotional instinct, Inherently entrepreneurial I match business acumen with a desire to understand and empower the people in our spa family. It’s an approach that feels as holistic as the treatments we provide.

I am very proud of my business’ evolution. Creating these brands and nurturing them to become leaders in their field (in both the countries) has been very rewarding.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Never forget the people who support you, especially in difficult times. Advice I always come back to.

Who inspires you?

A friend and mentor of mine, Marc Lindale who has the sharpest mind I have encountered. He is astute, worldly, a risk taker and conquers every obstacle thrown his way. He is also incredibly generous with his time and advice, as well as philanthropic. In spite of his success, kindness is one of Marc’s greatest attributes.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away? : The power of natural healing. Bali is a magical island and I used to listen stories of natural healing, black magic and the like and was sceptical. Then, after encountering my own health scare and after seeing numerous doctors and specialists, as a last ditch effort I went to see a healer and found instant results. I’m a convert and now consult my healer on all health issues.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

From the age of 26, I threw myself into business and I have no regrets. An entrepreneur’s mind is on-call 24/7. Many people don’t realise the commitment, sacrifices and dedication required to run a successful business. During this time, I put my personal life on the back burner and if I could do it again, I’d make time to have children.

How do you unwind?

When I relax, I look for mindless pleasure. I’m a Netflix binger, but nothing heavy. Shows like Money Heist and Bridgerton that aren’t too serious. No documentaries. I really don’t want to be educated when I relax. I’m also a fan of Bollywood movies, which offer total escapism.

What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?

This moment occurred about a decade ago when I took myself off operations. It was hard to let go and hand the reigns over, but looking back it was the best move for me and the business. The old adage rings true, work on your business not in your business.

Everyone in business should read this book:

As we have grown our businesses, I still hold on to our Company ethos for staff, of being part of the East or Spring family. I was inspired by :
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

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Shameless plug for your business:

Offering a moment’s respite from the outside world, East Day and Spring Spa locations have brought world-class health and wellbeing experiences to New Zealand and Indonesia.

An effortless fusion of beauty, design and lifestyle. Based on the concept of a social spa, Spring is a move away from traditional spa formalities, especially designed to combine relaxation, pampering and your weekly manicure appointment in one fun, rejuvenating environment.

Spring will further its portfolio with the opening of its first Spring Sanctuary on the island of Nusa Lembongan offering world class spa treatments with wellness and accommodation. Barefoot luxury at its best.

A short boat ride from Sanur on the East Coast of Bali, on the shores of Nusa Lembongan, Spring Spa and Sanctuary is set to open later this year. Amongst this idyllic, seaside village a stark landscape dotted with poignant pink bougainvillea the property boasts azure blue sea views toward Mt Agung. Barefoot luxury at its best, the property includes.

How can people connect with you?

Ina Bajaj: @balibuff

Spring Spa
Instagram: @spring_spa

East Day Spa
Instagram: @eastdayspa
Facebook: /eastdayspa

This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.

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