To be able to be true to who I am. To be authentically me. It's awesome. I don't believe in censoring myself, unless absolutely necessary. Everything you see is real. It's who I am in a nutshell. I think laughter is the best medicine, and the fact that I can market the hell out of my personality; it's just the best. As I evolve, the spa evolves. As I grow, the spa grows. It's a beautiful thing.
Stacey Grondahl + We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa)
Creator: Stacey Grondahl (Twitter: @staceygrondahl)
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Website: www.wedomen.com |
Words of Wisdom –
Also, be 100% true to who you are. Honesty is the best policy, and you'll have to deal with less bullshit along the way if you're really being honest about who you really are as a person, and what you want in life; as well as what you want to create. Create. Be the brand. Grow with it. Stay badass and legit.
Genius: gen·ius /ˈjēnyəs/: noun
Exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability; a person who is exceptionally intelligent or creative, either generally or in some particular respect; very clever or ingenious.
To watch someone like Stacey Grondahl, founder and creator of the We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa), build by weaving stereotypical elements of her industry into a game changing disruptor is pure genius.
Let me further this by breaking down her genius by a few simple points:
#1: With the rise of men taking more accountability into their health, wellness and self-care, she positioned herself for the Alpha Male who previously may not have felt as comfortable going to “fru-fru” spas.
“To capture a male audience, it had to be, not a wow factor, but a seriously WTF factor. I used my boss lady ‘style,’ to throw some ballsiness into the mix. Making it hilarious, intriguing, and completely bizarre. Hands on. No technology. All about authentic human connections, skincare education, integrity, and quality of ingredients and service, with no time frames. It had to be real, and really badass.”
#2: She took industry faux pas (an embarrassing or tactless act or remark in a social situation) such as “happy endings” and indiscretions and called them out with her branding, while also actively taking a hardcore stance against them.
“We Do Men is a concept I build off of old school rock n’ roll (tunes), ra for men and the ‘boozy’ aspects of the spa, as well as making fun of the massage industry; all while throwing it back in men’s (people’s) faces with a hugh ‘flip the bird’ mentality, meets comedy. Someone needed to do it. I was just the one who was ballsy enough to tackle the issue (the negative issue of the massage industry, that is).”
#3: Instead of promoting the same products as everyone else, products often backed by big conglomerates with deep pockets and bad ingredients, she sought out highly organic, yet extremely impactful brands. PS – I’ve tried them and she’s changed my skin forever.
“I also really want to know every aspect of the products I use and sell. Is there integrity behind the brand? Are the ingredients shit, or legit? What’s the story behind the line? I don’t just show men a product, but instead educate them on the brand itself.”
She’s found a way to break down the barriers of understanding skincare that often eludes men due to complexity and overwhelming information. She does it by speaking to men in their language.
My first interaction with Stacey was nothing short of an experience. I received a text message from Cody Knight, founder of the The Knight Agency in Scottsdale, AZ, and he said:
“You need to check this company out. Your welcome.”
Seeing Cody’s bold confidence in this brand, I went in person and the rest was history. Stacey sized me up and called me out. She wanted to get to the root of my habits quickly in order to help me. That shows complete focus and dedication to her craft.
Well, judging by my calculations, Stacey’s heading into the biggest year of her life and we wanted to be sure the world knew about her beforehand.
When I asked Stacey about her industry, she said the following:
In my industry, I'm all about the specialty. Don't try to do what everyone else is doing. That's boring and un-original. Find what you're great at (no, find what you're freakin' amazeballs at) and do just that. Specialize in that technique, treatment, style, etc. Be the best, or shoot to be the best.
Like I said, pure genius. I have come to find this very simple truth:
The only way to take industry further, is to not do what everyone else in the industry is doing.
Well, over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of not only utilizing Stacey’s company, but getting to know her perspectives, game changing ideas and her overall vision. We discussed her edgy style and approach to a vast industry, her coming of age into her own health and wellness, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, dedicating herself to a male clientele in need of her savvy and everything in between.
Here’s what she had to say:
Stacey Grondahl | Founder + Creator of WeDoMen.com
HDF: Stacey!! Here we go! You ready for this?
First, your company We Do Men is probably one of the most kick ass concepts I’ve been introduced to.
Before we get into it, can we start by diving in a little bit more about where you’re originally from and where you’re living now?
Stacey: Well, this little (boss) lady was born in Williston, North Dakota (but I didn’t really pickup that ‘O’ accent). My family packed us all up and left when I was just a baby, and we moved out west to Bakersfield, California (and luckily I didn’t pick up that redneck accent).
I will say that Bakersfield wasn’t really my thing. I mean, it was home, but I didn’t really feel like I belonged there in the long run.
I’ve never really wanted to do what everyone else was doing, as I was my own (crazy) free spirit. I’m sure we can all say that at some point in our lives anyway, but this girl just wasn’t into the ideals of what everyone deemed ‘normal life timeline’ stuff
HDF: You are speaking my language Stacey! I’ve never done what everyone else was doing, nor do I think anyone we’ve featured on HDF (laughter). But seriously, please expand.
Stacey: Yeah, I didn’t want to go to college, I didn’t want to get married, and I most definitely did not want to have a baby. In my town, that’s what everyone was doing. I wanted to kick up some serious aspirational dust and try something different.
Hey, I mean I’m young, no baggage, and I wanted to utilize my pure freedom with a ‘let’s do this’ mentality. So, then begins my first trade school experience in the world of spa and wellness. Massage Therapy. More on that later . . .
Stacey Grondahl & her sister | During Her Childhood
In the years to come, my parents divorced and I ended up moving around quite a lot, with my ma. She was my rock, and always kept me going. I jumped from Bakersfield, to Sacramento, back to Bakersfield, and then to Sunnyvale / Cupertino (aka south bay area), Cali.
HDF: And during that time you were just expanding on your skill sets in wellness?
Stacey: Oh yeah, I went through Massage Therapy, Esthetics, and Laser Technician trade schools, worked for myself, worked for an oil company, and also a 4 – star resort hotel (all in the spa field).
Not to mention I went through divorce, disability, and severe depression.
HDF: Whoa! So you had quite the journey? But who hasn’t that’s ever been the catalyst for their “greatness”.
Stacey: (laughter). Yeah, I mean, all of that lead me to the gloriously hot, sunny, and oddly beautiful Arizona (Phoenix / Scottsdale area). I basically decided I was moving here in a 30 second phone call (no joke), and ta – da, here I am.
Stacey & Her Family
I fall in love with this place a little bit more, every damn day. It’s just sunshine, and pure refreshment. Sometimes I still forget, or can’t fathom, that I’m here.
The journey to get to this point, was an incredibly insane and painful past 15 years (as some deep, dark shit started to go down when I was 15 years of age)
HDF: Was it all bad? I mean, it got you to what you’re doing now.
Stacey: Oh no, it wasn’t all bad at all! I’ve made many friends along the way. The people I’ve met from then to now have helped shape me into the woman I have now become, and am still evolving into.
I will say, even with the evolution of self, I’m still the exact same person, and same personality as I’ve always been, but just a more enhanced version.
HDF: Boom! There it is! And you’re crushing it! We Do Men kicks the utter living ish out of other spas!
However, before we get into that, can you tell me a little bit more about your backstory and what you were doing before WDM and growing a truly unique concept?
Stacey: I’ll back up the story quite a bit. There’s a woman I call Spa Mama, and her name is Chrystine Morris. Her daughter Nikki and I have been friends since just before High School. We kind of adopted each other.
Chrystine was in the spa industry, and owned her own gorgeous little shop in downtown Bakersfield.
HDF: Ah, I’m already seeing where you got the inspiration from.
Stacey: Right! Hello my little downtown Scottsdale man spa shop. I always remember her playing Frank Sinatra (hello to some man spa music inspo) as well.
Stacey Grondahl | We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Scottsdale
One day she drove us all up to her other workplace, Labelle Day Spa located in Palo Alto (in South Bay Area California), for an appointment with one of her clients.
I remember sitting in the waiting area, then wandering around, while pondering,
Um, I dig this. This is kind of glamorous. I like this. I think I might do this.
That one day ended up becoming one of the most memorable days of my life.
Fast forward to 18 years of age, when I decide to start Massage Therapy school, and following in my Spa Mama’s footsteps. Immediately following that up with Esthetics schooling. Then disability . . .
HDF: Yeah, you had something happen to you at 24, correct?
Stacey: Yeah, when I was 24 I was working for a 4-star resort hotel in (we’ll go broad and say) the Silicon Valley area, California.
Unfortunately myself, and quite a few others, were injured under bad management. I won’t go into more detail about the workplace specifically, but I will state that we were incredibly overworked, and my injury occurred in just a short 3 day period.
I remember waking up 3 days later, after I had started to feel some pain in my left hand initially, to now experiencing the most intense pain in that hand, which had me bawling my eyes out. It literally woke me out of my sleep. I just held my hand to my chest and cried, for so, so long.
That was the beginning of a 2 year ordeal, attempting to recover use of my left hand. I ended up developing a degenerative muscle condition in my left thumb (tendon sheath) which affected my entire hand, all the way up to my elbow (suffering nerve damage) and shoulder (which I injured as well, after I fell during my recovery and landed on said shoulder, because I wasn’t able to catch myself with an injured hand).
Just writing about this is painful, as it was one of the worst times in my life to date. I feel for anyone on disability, of any kind.
HDF: So your rise to current success was clearly not without actual physical pain?
Stacey: I went through a type of p.t.s.d. (which I still struggle with to this day). To say I was in my own personal hell, was a severe understatement.
I was 24, labeled permanently disabled at the age of 25, and didn’t know if I would every be able to properly use my hand again. I was poked, proded, and stabbed with needles for years. I had some physical therapy, but when I took charge of my own healing process, is the only time when things began to actually change.
Stacey Grondahl | Prescott National Forest
HDF: What did you do to take charge over your health?
Stacey: I signed up for Kickboxing and Muay Thai to help with my recovery (with the okay from my disability rep), but especially to help with my mental state; channeling my anger and frustration with life.
It was the best decision I could have made for myself, and I don’t believe I would be as improved as I am today without it. It was my way of flipping the bird to the b.s. of disability, and lifes curveballs
HDF: Wow, so you did what a lot of other healthy successful people did . . .
Stacey: Which is?
HDF: Tell a bunch of people where to go and then took it into your own hands. (laughter)
Stacey: (laughter) Yep. I was just ready to be free from the chains of disability; so then came my decision (in a 30 second phone call) that I was moving to Arizona, to add a Laser Tech certification to my growing list of credentials.
It was my way of attempting to get my life back. Sadly, there was no work; but there was an interesting happening.
One day, someone spritzed my face with Rhonda Allison ‘Cucumber Mist,’ which prompted me to say, “What was that? That smells insane!” Then begins my resume submission to Rhonda Allison corporate, who forwarded it over to Louisa Alten (Southwest Educator of Rhonda Allison), who then hired me.
Rhonda Allison | Photo Courtesy of RhondaAllison.com
HDF: So, she saw something in you that was different?
Stacey: Yeah, I think she realized that I offered a different perspective. When she noticed I liked all the products that she usually didn’t recommend, which was the beginning of the ManCare life.
HDF: So, you’re naturally drawn to men (laughter).
Stacey: (laughter) Yeah, I grew up with boys, so I’ve always been one to get along with them and just shoot the shit quite easily. Always the tomboy.
The men’s line came naturally to me. So naturally, that the men started asking me where they could come see me for treatments, stating they would hire me in a heartbeat to do non-spa sales in their line of work, as well as always ending up purchasing whichever product or whichever treatment I recommended to them.
That was my ‘Holy shit… This is my thing!’ moment
Stacey Grondahl – WeDoMen.com
In my line of work, we’re always trying to figure out what we’re supposed to ‘specialize in.’ It took me nearly 8 years, disability, and moving to another state, to figure out what that was. That was the beginning of my path toward developing and creating what is now, We Do Men – A Male Concept Spa.
HDF: It’s all about the journey, not the destination! You know how I feel about that.
How did you first get into skin care, health, wellness and pretty much all things body? (laughter)
Was there one of those “aha” moments in your life where you knew at some point this is what you’re going to do with your life?
Stacey: Chrystine was my first introduction to the spa world, back when I was an 8th grader; but growing up, I had the most intense, and aggravating acne. My parents felt so bad for me; buying me endless concoctions to treat the issue.
Even the dermatologist only helped for a short while, but my skin still retaliated. Still to this day, as an adult, I’ve experienced the gamut of acne evolution. I’ve dealt with so many different versions and variations of it.
Ironically, acne is dictated by male hormones. Androgens. Therefore, testing and stocking men’s products is no prob for me, and my skin. It’s kind of perfect, if you think about it. The rest, the reasons, and the why, has become my mission.
HDF: Which is?
Stacey: Teaching men and the masses about more than just the superficial, or skin deep. The reason why your face freaks out, has become my know-how. I still stay within’ my spectrum of knowledge, but I teach what I know, based on my experiences with lifestyle, food, heredity, stress, and natural reactions of the body and beyond.
It’s a “clusterfuck”, which is why I’m here to help.
Stacey Grondahl & Jordan Moore | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
HDF: Amen! Or as you always say, AMen! So, With so many issues involved in people’s skin, how do you know where to begin?
Stacey: I always tell my clients,
The problem with most (not all) 'people and so-called professionals,' is the fact that they don't try to get to the real source of why something is happening so it can be fixed, but merely treat the superficial; which doesn't really fix a damn thing. As well as treating you like a dollar sign, instead of an actual person. It's all about their bottom line, and getting as many people in and out the door as fast as possible. The quota.
Me, I don’t do that. I wouldn’t want someone to do that to me. I like giving a shit, and I believe everyone else should aim for that as well.
Stacey Grondahl | @wedomen | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Scottsdale, Arizona
HDF: What’s the process to really understand a person’s journey to healthy skin then?
Stacey: Have a heart. Give a shit. Be real. No B.S. Have some fucking passion. So, I tell my clients like it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether they like it or not.
I’m going to ask about every single aspect of their life. What they do, what they don’t do, how they workout, their sleep patterns, family history, food allergies, drug usage, as well as all the products they use, what color those products are, are they their ladies products; all while noticing how responsive they are, how fast they respond, as well as their body language.
I dissect every aspect, to find out what kind of guy (person) they are, which allows me the knowledge to instruct them on what they could, and would possibly do on their own. Let’s go even further. How old is said product, did they buy it online, at costco, etc.
Popular Products at the We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Photo by Jordan Moore
HDF: I think it’s important for our readers to know that I did go through your process with you and you did every single one of those things. Not to mention you literally threw out every product in my hands. (laughter)
Stacey: (laughter). Yeah, I pay attention to their excitement level. That’s a big factor. My job is to make men’s grooming, fun. If it’s not fun, they won’t do it. It will become a boring, passive activity of their life. Why do boring, when you can do badass. Or “badassery”, as I like to call it.
HDF: That’s my word too! I’m a fine curator of badassery, which is why I wanted to include you.
Speaking of badasses, I also know you’re an avid Johnny Cash & Frank Sinatra Fan.
We’re going to talk about your Spa next, not to mention the awesome décor, but I’m curious how you got into the whole vibe of Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, etc.? Where did that come from?
Stacey: My dad raised me on music (vinyl) and movies. So I’m an avid movie, and movie soundtrack / score, kinda fan. He used to videotape me running around in circles and clapping my hands (my version of dancing) when I was a babe; to the likes of Ghostbusters, TopGun, Steve Winwood, Billy Joel, Jerry Lee Lewis, Iron Butterfly, and even The Chipmunks
Jordan Moore | @jordanknowmoore | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
I never knew much about Johnny Cash, until I saw the movie Walk The Line. I’ve always been a fan of old music, and soda fountain style songs, but I could never really figure out why.
Maybe it was all the music I grew up listening to on vinyl, or a past life; who knows? What I do know is the moment I saw that movie, something clicked. I was obsessed with the story (even though we know hollywood shakes things up a bit), and the music behind it.
The music just gripped me and pulled me in, so hard. Like a long lost friend, wondering where the fuck you’ve been…
HDF: I’m an avid fan of all music, so I know what you mean. And there was something about that era of Johnny Cash, Frankie, The Rat Pack, Miles Davis . . . all obviously different, but rightfully iconic.
Stacey: Follow that up immediately, with Million Dollar Quartet. I had watched this broadway show being advertised for years. Years! The Macy’s Day Parade. The Today Show.
Lots of features where I would hear snippets of the music, behind the story, that inspired the broadway show. This story falls right on the timeline of my repping RA For Men, and my sudden desire to open a man spa. The concept was still being developed at the time.
I was browsing twitter, when I saw “Last night. ASU Gammage. Million Dollar Quartet.” I immediately ran and got dressed (that very second), and drove out to the venue; not even knowing if I could get a ticket, or if it was sold out. As I walked up to the box office, there was a man standing by the door who approached me and asked, “Are you here to buy a ticket?”
I responded, and he stuck out his hand and just handed me a ticket (cue the many, “Are you sure,” and “Thank you so much,” comments). I think I had the biggest damn smile on my face, which I carried on throughout the entire night. I was so happy to be there! I felt like I was supposed to be there.
I also ended up sitting in the 8throw, with that man and his wife. The show was mind blowing! That became one of the most memorable, and important moments of my life. I think I almost cried of happiness.
The man who gave me the ticket turned and asked, “So did you enjoy the show?” Naturally, I thanked him (endlessly, and still smiling that big ass smile) so much for the ticket.
I walked out of that venue and immediately said out loud, “I found the spa music. This is the music I’m supposed to play. This is the ideal. The style, the vibe, the foundation. This is the music. Holy shit.” I just kept on smiling, because the pieces were all coming together.
The universe is a funny, funny thing... When you actually pay attention.
Million Dollar Quartet | Photo Courtesy of milliondollarquartetlive.com
HDF: Boom!! I always tell people, ‘take action and the universe will reveal”.
So let’s talk about We Do Men. Can it get any better for a name? Can you tell our readers what We Do Men is and walk me through why you started it and the vision behind it?
Stacey: The name of the business actually began as a tagline that I was trying to come up with, originally.
There’s a best man friend I have, whom I call ‘husband’ and who he calls ‘wife,’ even though he’s not actually my husband (and his name is Tim O’Connell).
We were sitting at a bar one day, attempting to come up with the dang tagline, when we both kept throwing back variations of ‘we do men.’ He looked at me, and said, “Stace. Keep it simple. We. Do. Men. Done. The end.”
And that was that!
HDF: Yep! It’s usually that simple when you just flow with your ideas and not force it.
Stacey: Exactly, and We Do Men is a concept I built off of old school rock n’ roll (tunes), ra for men and the ‘boozy’ aspects of the spa, as well as making fun of the massage industry; all while throwing it back in men’s (people’s) faces with a hugh ‘flip the bird’ mentality, meets comedy.
Someone just needed to do it. I was just the one who was ballsy enough to tackle the issue (the negative issue of the massage industry, that is).
HDF: I think the only way you can disrupt an industry is to actually be ballsy and go way outside the box.
Stacey: It’s my personality, 100%. I’m a non-conformist to the bone. I didn’t believe in the average spa ideals and basic protocol.
I didn’t want boring. To capture a male audience, it had to be, not a wow factor, but a seriously WTF factor. I used my boss lady ‘style,’ to throw some ballsiness into the mix. Making it hilarious, intriguing, and completely bizarre. Hands on. No technology.
All about authentic human connections, skincare education, integrity, and quality of ingredients and service, with no time frames. It had to be real and really badass.
Stacey Grondahl | We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa)
Stacey Grondahl | We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
HDF: And how much has it grown in the process?
Stacey: Nearly 4 years it’s been, and my spa has changed quite dramatically.
I remember having to ease the consumer into my personality for a bit, until they truly understood my message, what I was trying to do, and where I was coming from. So many people saying, “How dare she!” Others didn’t even do their due dilligence, when bad-mouthing my brand.
To that I would just laugh. Those individuals (the haters) didn’t take the time to see what I was trying to create, and what I was attempting to change. Now I get nothing but applause for my concept, and the content I create every single day.
HDF: Cause you have vision. It’s hard for people to catch up to someone’s vision until they see it take more life. That time period can sometimes be lonely. Good for you for standing by your goals.
Stacey: Well, I mostly wanted to throw the “We’re not freaking prostitutes, but massage professionals. So get over it and move the fuck on already!” message, out there.
I’m all about, bringing light and awareness to such a negative topic in my industry. I don’t hold back, and it’s only going to get more insane and balls to the wall, as the years progress. This is my schtick. Take it or leave it. You either like me, or you don’t.
As DR. SEUSS stated, “Be who you are, and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter, and those who matter, don’t mind.”
You’ll find your people, your demographic, and your following. Just be authentically yourself. I even wear a shirt that says HATERS NEED HOBBIES. Cheers to that!
Stacey Grondahl & Ada Trinh (@lifeofada & @guiseetiquette)
HDF: Boom!!! You didn’t just drop the mic on that one. You dropped the mic, walked off stage, into the limo, went to the airport and flew out into the sunset on your private jet! Whew!!! Good for you! That’s what we’re all about; featuring creators who so eagerly want to disrupt their industries because they’re tired of how it’s being done or labeled.
One of the things I appreciate the most with you is your attention to details. It’s like you know every product on the market and whether or not it’s good for you. I recall you taking some of my products and literally just tossing them into the garbage.
How have you been able to find products that truly inspire organic care to one’s skin?
Stacey: I’m quite the little researcher, and really damn good at finding cool shit. I also absolutely love men’s products, or the unisex type of product. It’s just fun for me.
When it comes to the testing process, most will barely graze the surface of the potential of a product. A blogger, or spa, or other individual, might test it for merely a day or 2, but not much longer than a week. Some will go farther, but most don’t. I will test a product to completion. I use the entire bottle, soap, jar, whatever.
More Products Featured at the Spa
My job is to find multiple ways to use it, beyond it’s initial use description. I also really want to know every aspect of the products I use and sell. Is there integrity behind the brand? Are the ingredients shit, or legit? What’s the story behind the line?
I don’t just show men a product, but instead educate them on the brand itself. I give them a straight up backstory. I make it interactive, and comedic at times.
HDF: Well, it’s important nowadays to educate the customer. They want to be more involved.
Stacey: Look, men look at products on lined up on a shelf all the damn time! You have to show, instruct, play, laugh, teach, give tips and tricks, etc. when it comes to ManCare101, as I call it.
I’ve made it my job to know as much as I can, about whatever I can. Also, I’m not biased when it comes to product lines, but will absolutely make you throw shitty products in the trash, in front of me; based on the smell, look, your reaction time, and body language. Most often, your products are disgusting and expired anyway, so I’m just doing you a favor at that point.
You’re welcome men!
HDF: (laughter). You’re not playing around?!
Stacey: No! Also, when I first began, I conducted about 6 months of research, followed by a year of product testing. So I’m very tedious and in depth with the process. I don’t try to rush things. Now, I’ve built up a bit of a reputation, and barely have to research products anymore.
This, I’m very grateful for, and don’t take for granted. I’m privileged to be able to receive all these products from these companies for testing, in hopes that I’ll carry it in my spa.
Instagram, had been especially huge in this matter. Now I barely look online, but find all my new brands through this platform. It’s awesome. Hands down.
I’m also what I like to call, ‘The Anti-Retail, Retail Shop.’ I don’t stock what I think everyone will like, or maybe like. I stock what I want everyone to have; and only products that I would, and have personally used myself. It works. All products are ‘Boss Lady Approved.’
Stacey Grondahl | Boss Lady | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
HDF: That’s true! You’re pretty much the only place in all of Scottsdale that has the products you have. I know cause when I’ve been out of those products, I’ve needed to get more immediately and you are the only one.
I believe you mentioned it earlier, but how many years has We Do Men been in business?
Stacey: The spa is coming up on it’s 4 year anniversary, and I’m super excited for the future!
HDF: And you’ve been featured a few times? Experience Scottsdale & Thrillist to name a couple. Thrillist is a big deal! How did that come about?
Stacey: There’s been some great publicity over the years. I was featured in American Spa Magazine for my famed What A Prick treatment, as well as Thrillist.
Thrillist Article on Stacey Grondahl & We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | by Lauren Topor
I love that darn article! It was written by a gal named Lauren Topor, and she couldn’t have captured the essence of the spa (and the vibe) any better!
I believe the article was titled, ‘What The Hell Is Happening At This Scottsdale Man Spa.’ It was utter perfection, and I still get comments about it to this day. It happened to come out right around my 30th birthday, so that was a beautiful thing. I applaud Thrillist (and Lauren) for that piece.
HDF: Until we came along, right? (laughter). Your branding is awesome Stacey!! You know how I feel about branding.
Your menu “options” are ballsy. (Laughter). They also ironically make sense. Lol. How did you come up with those?
Stacey: Well, everything was created around the concept of making fun of happy endings whilst utilizing the boozy aspect of the products I featured.
The treatment names had to walk a very fine line (hello J.Cash), but not cross it, while taking advantage of that whole theme. Everything has a story behind it.
The Double Whammy is ode to my fave comedian, Mitch Hedberg.
What A Prick was my fave creation, and actually has three meanings behind it… The use of the RA For Men cactai mud mask (which is what it’s all about); secondly, the comedic innuendo, as well as (third) the fact that at some point, a woman has always wanted to say ‘that’ to a man (haha, sorry guys).
The ‘Tequila Shooter – Balls In The Face’ actually came from a client (as well as ‘the browtender,’ which came from a bartender client) who told me after a joke, “You should actually say that, that bit about how do you like my balls in your face.”
It’s also about the fact that I throw down tequila extract on your face, but the balls takes charge on that one! So, there’s a lot, but those are just a few examples. It will continue to get more ridiculous as the years go on. I’m currently working on a new menu as this very moment. Oh the names…
We Do Men | Menu of Services
HDF: I can imagine! (laughter).
So, taking it in a different direction for a minute . . . What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in business from having your own company
Stacey: Funny thing is, I never wanted to be a business owner. I’ve never had a desire to open my own spa, or anything of the sort.
Somehow that all changed in an instant, when I walked in the (what is now We Do Men) space while I was just looking for a small office to rent. I saw the potential, the vision, the layout; all right in front of me. It was like running into a brick wall. I’m not freaking kidding.
I saw it all in my head (like some kind of premonition), and the space was just screaming at me. It was mine, and I was supposed to have it. I also had no freaking clue how I was going to make it all happen, or work; or even how it was going to play out. But here we are, nearly 4 years later. Somehow, I made it happen. All because I walked through that damn door!
We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Photo By Elizabeth Creasey & Edited by Jordan Moore
HDF: Everything happens when you’re constantly in motion. How about some of the obstacles you didn’t see coming in the process of building your company/brands?
Stacey: I love that quote about, “Being a business owner is like staring into the abyss, while eating glass.”
So true! We have that dream, goal, whatever in sight, but we most definitely bleed (alot) as we learn along the way. We learn as we go. If I had known, what I know now! I mean, come on. I would have most definitely set aside more money, for starters. I would have spent it more wisely.
HDF: Right!!! Anything else?
Stacey: Yeah, to streamline is the key. I would have simply, simplified a bit more. But that’s the learning process, no matter how painful. Boy, can it be painful at times. Just like the spa biz, being a business owner always looks way more glamorous on the outside, than it is underneath.
Behind the scenes (in the beginning at least), we’re all a hot mess, trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing, and how we’re going to survive the years. It’s pure chaos. At least it was, and still is for me.
Networking, and finding amazing people to work with, has never been an issue for me though. Some call me the queen of networking. I love to interact with people, and I love to make friends with as many individuals as I can. I’m just chatty. I have to be. I do work on men for a living after all.
Business in general though, is just a learn as you go process. You pray for the best, (hopefully) have plans for the worst, and trust that the universe will provide.
Also, don’t create a boring product, or company. That helps too. My business took some time for people to get acquainted, but it’s all paying off. It’s all about innovation, alliances, and consistency. Just keep going, not matter what. If you believe in it, do the damn thing.
We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa)
HDF: What are your top 5 favorite brands you recommend?
Stacey: I have so many, it’s hard to choose.
I love IS Clincal – Cleansing Complex and Sheald. They’re my go-to, 2-step travel routine, and skin rescue companions.
IS Clinical | Cleansing Complex
IS Clinical | Sheald
Indie Lee – COq10 toner and Unscented Body Lotion are amazeballs. Best body lotion I’ve ever found, and it doesn’t have that ‘melt’ factor.
Indie Lee | IndieLee.com
Stacey Grondahl with Indie Lee Founder | IndieLee.com
RA For Men – Enviroprotect (sunscreen moisturizer combo),
RA For Men | Photo by Jordan Moore
Buffed scrub, and Blue Agave Wash are just ridiculously good.
I know how much you, Matt, like the IS and Indie products.
HDF: True! You’re recommendations are no joke!
For a shave brand, I like to recommend Bevel; which I know you also LOVE now. They’re a recent find, and I believe as far as subscription companies go, they have their shit together (and I hope to work with them shortly in the near future).
You also can’t go wrong with Fresh Body – Fresh Balls in the summer time, my boys! Stay fresh. Especially down there. Yikes.
HDF: (laughter). Right. Right. Man, it’s almost as if these brands were made specifically for your company. (laughter).
Where do you go from here with the brand(s)? I know you’ve got some exciting things coming up. Can you talk about them?
Stacey: My plan is to create We Do Men exclusive products with all of my affiliates, or new affiliates.
I’ve already co-created a multi-use balm (originally a beard balm) for hair, lips, and skin, with a company called The Journey Seeker. It’s call Basecamp, and smells like coffee and a Christmas tree. It’s badassery in a tin, haha.
I’m just finishing up a scent with my other affiliate, 1820 House Candle Co, which will probably debut in October.
Journey Seeker | @thejourneyseeker
HDF: I’m guessing you have some pretty aspirational goals?
Stacey: My ultimate goal is to become the go-to Boss Lady of the male skincare industry. Not only that, but I have tons (I mean endless) ideas for spinoff businesses I’m also working on as well, which will be created as the years progress.
I want to be the Rachel Zoe of the man spa biz, so we’ll see what happens. I’m just going for it
HDF: I have no doubt that you will. I know you also mentioned an upcoming acquisition, which will launch you into your own product line? Are you allowed to talk about it?
Stacey: So many of my customers think that some of the product lines in my shop, are actually mine, which is hilarious.
It’s because I know so damn much about each, and every one of the individual products I carry and sell. The way that I educate my clients on the many lines in my spa has ultimately led to the eventual creation of my own brand of products (for which I cannot yet release the names – yes names), as well as the online store (which will be officially announced very soon), and eventual larger scale brick and mortar concept.
All inspired, and spinoffs of We Do Men, and all that I do. I’ll also be starting a vlog / blog here in the near future as well (TBD). It’s kind of madness right now, behind the scenes. It’s going to be epic, that’s all I can say for now.
Stacey Grondahl | The Moxie Hotel in Tempe, Arizona
HDF: Where do you see the We Do Men brands going
Stacey: My creativity knows no bounds. I will say, for now, I’d like to keep it personal. I want to keep the integrity behind my brands, as well as the culture, and vibe.
Arizona is the original home of all my creations, and we’ll see how it spreads from here. I have no clue what the future holds. I’m just going to keep conducting my research, testing, and daily manhandling practices, and see where that bit takes me.
To be known all over the world for what I do; well, that’s the ultimate goal, and the plan. I’m an open book, and ready for the chapters to come. I just want to be the best at what I do. To inspire, and make people laugh and smile on a daily basis through my businesses. I call what I do, ‘The Art Of ManHandling.’ I gotta spread the word.
Stacey Grondahl | Photography by James Almanza
HDF: Boom!!! Stacey, you are a serious creator – in business, industry and life.
What’s the best part about “creating” for you
Stacey: To be able to be true to who I am. To be authentically me. It’s awesome. I don’t believe in censoring myself, unless absolutely necessary.
Everything you see is real. It’s who I am in a nutshell. I think laughter is the best medicine, and the fact that I can market the hell out of my personality; it’s just the best. As I evolve, the spa evolves. As I grow, the spa grows. It’s a beautiful thing.
Stacey Grondahl | We Do Men (A Male Concept Spa) | Photo by Jordan Moore
HDF: What’s the best advice you can give someone just starting out on their own company, brand or project?
Stacey: Sit down and focus. Hard. Even for just 1 – 2 weeks. Intense focus. Figure out the idea. Fine tune and tailor that idea.
Focus, focus, focus.
That’s the hardest part. Distraction is a constant enemy as a business owner. Sometimes we just have to turn off the phone, say no to friends, family, and pointless happenings, to get down to business. It’s rough, but necessary. That’s my advice. Focus!
Stacey Grondahl | Photo with Phoenix Magazine | Mirelle Inglefield
HDF: What about getting involved in the your industry/industries – What’s the best advice you’d give? Or creating for that matter? Or maybe just pursuing their dreams? (laughter)
Stacey: In my industry, I’m all about the specialty. Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing. That’s boring and un-original. Find what you’re great at (no, find what you’re freakin’ amazeballs at) and do just that.
Specialize in that technique, treatment, style, etc. Be the best, or shoot to be the best. Nothing bores me more than a spa, or locale, that attempts to do it all. It that sense, it becomes mediocre. Aim for the best of the best.
Also, be 100% true to who you are. Honesty is the best policy, and you’ll have to deal with less bullshit along the way if you’re really being honest about who you really are as a person, and what you want in life; as well as what you want to create.
Create. Be the brand. Grow with it. Stay badass and legit.
HDF: If you could describe the essence of your brand or brands, how would you describe it/them?
Stacey: Bold, ballsy and badass. Takes no shit. All about building authentic relationships. The non-conformist (and the no b.s. spa).
To inspire others to create masterpieces of their own. To really be the brand, in all it’s forms. My brands, and style of brands are all about that, “Did she really just say / do that!??” factor.
I’m an open book, and I quite love that about myself. My businesses will be the same. It’s all about the shock and awe, and needing to take a ‘second look.’ The intrigue. The question? The need to know more…
Stacey Grondahl | Photography by James Almanza
HDF: How important has social media and the Internet played in the building of your brand? Or at least, how important do you think it will be as you continue to grow it?
Stacey: I really dig Instagram, even though I’m not so tech-savy. I swear, I could probably give an Apple computer a glitch, just by standing next to it (not even joking). I’m no expert, but I just happen to be a fan of this specific social platform.
I find the whole ‘biz life in picture form,’ to be the most appealing way to showcase what I do for the world to see. I’ve received nothing but positive feedback from the masses. If I could make someone laugh, or smile, or feel inspired, then I’ve done my job as a business owner and creator.
I like that I can share my brand, it’s style, and feel with the world; through pictures. I’m all about getting my clients to partake in the ridiculousness of my spa, and post it all on Instagram. Crazy faced photos with my ManFam clients are classic moments behind the scenes at We Do Men. They make for fun memories, and I love to help get some folks out of their shy shells and loosen up a bit. I’m pretty good at that. All about getting folks to laugh at themselves, and enjoy the little things.
We Do Men | Instagram
HDF: I always ask this, if you could meet any entrepreneur, artist, or cultural icon who contributed to the world (past or present), who would it be and why?
Stacey: My goal is to become the ‘Rachel Zoe of the man spa biz.’ The end. That’s the dream. That’s the vision. That’s what I’m aiming for.
I also dig Richard Branson (but who the hell doesn’t, as he seems cool as hell)! He’s very honest about his journey. What he knew, what he didn’t, and so on and so forth in the Virgin world. His brand has integrity, and i’m all about that culture.
I can’t leave out, that I also want to be on a first name basis with all the big skincare gurus in my field. I want to make friends with everyone, and anyone. To learn (and experience) something new everyday, is what it’s all about. I’ll start with Rachel Zoe. She’s Boss Lady Approved!
HDF: Stacey!!! This was truly awesome! I’ve been getting to know your brand for a few months and it’s just beautiful what you’re doing! I’m honored to be a part of your journey and for you to share yours with us.
Stacey: Thank you!! You have been amazeballs and you’re quite badass yourself!! You’re one of my favorite people and I’m adopting you!
Stacey Grondahl | Photo by Jeramie Campbell (@jcamphoto) | Makeup by Ketonya Bankston (@stylestalkers)