Business Owner Highlight: Meet Allison Tray of Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa

 

Allison Tray, Founder, and Oksana Egelova, Co-Proprietress of Tres Belle and Petite Medi-Spa, located at 105 Bond Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa is a relaxing nook in the heart of the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. Refinery 29 has called it their “go-to spa,” specializing in luxury facials, waxing, skin rejuvenation, massage and, our personal favorite–keratin lash lift. Recently, we spent sometime with the energetic owner Allison Tray and her staff, discussing favorite beauty trends, best skincare practices, and stepping out of your comfort zone.

What inspired you to start Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa?

Allison: My family has always started small businesses. My grandparents ran a fashion house out of their home then had actual stores. My dad was a chiropractor for many years. While he was a practicing DC, he learned about laser hair removal through a friend and asked me if I wanted to start a business. At the time, I was ready to close out on my fashion career of 13 years. So, without any experience in management and having never been to a spa, I hired Oksana Egelova to perform laser hair removal services, and opened Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa in 2004. I was nervous–for sure–stepping out of my comfort zone but I figured, “If my dad is willing to invest in me, I have to believe him when he tells me that I can do it.”

The Zen-minimal reception area of Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa.

What is the story behind your business name?

Allison: Tres Belle is a play on my last name Tray. Tres (pronounced “tray”) and meaning “very” and belle meaning “beautiful,” seemed a fitting French phrase for a spa.

Allison Tray owner of Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa

What made you decide to open your spa on Atlantic Avenue?

Allison: When I first started, it was just me and Oksana and a laser in an 80 sq ft space in the back of a hair salon that had been located on Atlantic Avenue. We quickly cultivated a loyal clientele who started to request additional beauty services like facials and brow grooming. I realized that we had grown out of our 80 sq ft room and looked for my own storefront. It never even occurred to me to leave Atlantic Avenue. The vibrancy of this area was a perfect fit for us. The business community was growing beyond anyone’s expectations and it all seemed so ripe for success. I also live in the area and it is the best feeling to be caring for my friends and neighbors.

Allison Tray with Magda Bellanova, Master Esthetician.

Based on your experience over the years as a small business owner, is there anything you would do differently?

Allison: I have made my share of mistakes but, no. I have literally gone with my gut on every single decision pertaining to Tres Belle Petite Medi-Spa. There was no doing things “by the book” when my dad and I went into business. Together, we did what we felt was going to work for us and in the end, it did. My longtime staff are a prime example of “going with my gut.” Their success over the years makes any misstep insignificant.

What advice would you give to someone trying to start a business in the beauty and skincare industry?

Allison: One thing I love about this industry is that it’s truly open to anyone who has an interest, not only in beauty, but in caring for people. As beauty and wellness industry practitioners, we must remember that our clients come to us to feel their best. I would advise anyone starting a business to not only go with their gut but to also treat their staff with the utmost respect.

Now to the fun questions–How do you and your staff of beauty experts stay on top of the latest beauty trends?

Allison: My staff are obsessed with skincare, health and beauty. I will get emails from them on their days off about something new they’ve tried or a new “must have” they’ve discovered. We all scan the “interwebs,” of course, and in addition to that, we are experimenting with different services “of the moment” to see if they are worth offering. I like to study the efficacy of unique ingredients and try the latest in beauty and wellness technology myself to make sure it will be of the highest quality for my loyal clientele. If I wouldn’t personally do it, I will not offer it on my spa menu.

What beauty trend are you obsessed with?

Allison: The closest we have ever come to a “trend” is our microblading service, also known as eyebrow embroidery. It’s a cosmetic technique used to recreate, correct and improve the appearance of sparse or thinning brows. Much like semi-permanent makeup, we insert a custom blended pigment with the microblading tool into the upper layers of skin using very fine feather strokes for an almost undetectable result. The results lasts 1-2 years and has been popular with clients who want big feathery brows and also those who have lost brows due to illness. It’s very rewarding to help these clients feel beautiful. You can’t tell, even up close, which hair is real and which has been created. It’s amazing!

What are the best skincare practices for the colder months?

Allison: I like to see a lot of exfoliation and hydration in the fall. Once your summer tan goes from fab to drab, it’s time to slough off those dead upper layers. This can be achieved with physical or chemical exfoliation. We perform a lot dermaplaning and microdermabrasion this time of year, which are very effective examples of physical exfoliation. (This is a fancy term for removing the top layers of dead and dull skin.) Those choosing chemical exfoliation may to add a light peel to their facial which helps break up dead skin cells beneath the skins surface. Either way, both practices result in beautifully clean and bright skin. In addition to a heavier hydrating practice, I would make sure to add a day cream that also protects the skin during cold winter months. Always SPF, every season, everyday.

During our evening with Allison and her staff, we were privileged to try the keratin lash lift, a painless procedure that involves the application of a secret formula to the lashes to cause them to curl and appear thicker. The effects last for approximately six weeks.

Magda Bellanova, Master Esthetician, performing a keratin lash lift on client Melissa Duchan.

 

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