Ashley Batlle says she just took a “teenage step.”
That’s different from the baby steps businesses take after they open, in everything from products and services offered to marketing and workforce. She’s been taking those baby steps since opening her beauty and wellness spa, Beauty Batlles, five years ago.
The teenage step was more dramatic (as teenagers often are). It took the form of a physical move from a somewhat hidden space on Front Street in Chicopee to a prominent storefront on nearby Cabot Street — and a much larger floor area to provide new and expanded services.
“We’ve grown with baby steps, and now we just took a huge teenage step to where we’re at right now,” Batlle told BusinessWest. “We’re more of an advanced beauty spa now, and we’ve added a whole wellness section to it.
“That being said, a lot of people don’t understand what advanced beauty is,” she admitted. “It’s a term that I just started using to make my elevator pitch a little easier.”
Perhaps the most notable advanced service is a cryotherapy chamber. Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, exposes the body to cold temperatures to heal and treat various medical ailments, she explained.
“Cold helps with inflammation. It helps with circulation. It helps with mood regulating if you have anxiety or if you’re really stressed.”
“Cold helps with inflammation. It helps with circulation. It helps with mood regulating if you have anxiety or if you’re really stressed,” she said. “And there aren’t too many cryo chambers in the area.”
Batlle gave a few examples of people who might benefit from that technology.
“Obviously, athletes are number one when it comes to that. But if you suffer from fibromyalgia, if you have arthritis, any kind of condition that is caused by inflammation, when the pain comes from the inflammation, the cryo chamber would be amazing for you,” she explained. “If you have migraines, we do have localized cryo as well; we have clients that come here just to get a quick treatment to help them when they feel a migraine coming on or if they’re actually suffering through a migraine. We have some clients that are seeing some results with their vertigo. If you have back issues, we have something for you. So everybody can come in for help just getting through the day.”
Taking the Leap
Batlle was licensed as a cosmetologist in 2002, a path she pursued mainly because she didn’t know exactly what career she wanted to pursue after high school, and wanted something she could always fall back on no matter what career choices she made.
“After I went to cosmetology school, I worked at a couple of salons, doing hair, and realized that was not my jam,” she recalled. “So I left the industry for about 14 years. I focused a little bit more in sales — I sold everything from cell phones to cable and solar panels, which was a really great journey because it taught me a lot and led me to where I am now.”
She also worked as a makeup artist in films and television before deciding to open her own business in 2018, first in a tiny space in Holyoke, then, about a year later, in downtown Chicopee.
“I started with microblading, which is a semi-permanent tattoo for your eyebrows, which is still a service that I offer. Then, little by little, we became more of a spa, adding more aesthetic-type services. I added lash services and waxing services, and then we added body-sculpting treatments, which help with reducing fat and tightening skin.”
On Front Street, she began adding body-waxing services, facials, and skin-care services, creating more of a spa atmosphere, she explained.
“We offer a lot of advanced-type facials that help with either severe acne or with anti-aging, where you can literally walk out of here looking a few years younger without any kind of surgeries, without any kind of injectables, without any invasive treatments.”
And at the new location on Cabot Street, “we added the wellness aspect to it. We have a lot of big machines that do a lot of really awesome things. They help with pain management, they help with anxiety, they help with stress, they help if you have any issues with sleeping, and they’re great for recovery. They’re not just for athletes; these are also treatments that any person can do to help them with whatever it is that they’re struggling with on a day-to-day basis.”
Finding a larger, more prominent space was necessary for a number of reasons. The business was growing to the point where she needed more staff to serve clients, but didn’t have enough space to house more staff and more clients. “Plus, I was in a space where I wasn’t really in a storefront. I was kind of hiding behind another business.”
“I’m glad I went down the path of wellness. It’s brought me into a whole different world, with all this technology and all of these amazing biohacking tools that I’m able to bring into our community.”
The new location on Cabot Street had been a dance studio with two storefronts, allowing her to reconfigure the interior space to both meet current needs and introduce the new wellness elements, including the cryotherapy chamber.
“I’m glad I went down the path of wellness. It’s brought me into a whole different world, with all this technology and all of these amazing biohacking tools that I’m able to bring into our community,” she said. “And I’m not done with the growth. Like I said, this is my teenage stage. I’m waiting to get to adulthood.”
The growing-up years have been marked by a commitment to community involvement as well, including the fourth annual toy and coat drive, going on through Dec. 21, which Batlle called a “pride and joy” of hers.
New, unused toys collected at Beauty Batlles are donated to children in the foster-care system through the Department of Children and Families (DCF). New, unused coats are donated to Alianza, a domestic-violence shelter in Chicopee, while used coats are donated to Tapestry to support the homeless community.
A newer wrinkle is an “adopt-a-teen” effort for teenagers in the DCF system.
“Because of all the toy drives that are happening everywhere, a lot of the younger children in DCF get toys, and they get to open presents on Christmas morning, and the teenagers just get, like, a $25 gift card because there are no presents that are age-appropriate for them,” Batlle explained. “So I’ve teamed up with DCF, and they give me a list of teenagers that are in the system; we get their name, gender, age, and their wish list, so that they can have some personalized gifts given to them on Christmas morning, just like the little ones.”
Beauty Batlles also just wrapped up a canned-food drive to benefit Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry in Chicopee. And in 2020, when the world — and many businesses — were shut down, Batlle launched the Hero Project, collecting funds to provide complementary self-care services for healthcare workers and first responders, which they were able to use when the spa reopened.
“I was sitting at home doing absolutely nothing,” Batlle recalled. “So, I thought, let me put some time and effort into giving back to people who are doing this work.”
Collectively, such efforts simply make her happy.
“There’s something so rewarding about being able to give back … when you have a platform where you’re able to bring awareness to your clientele, and in return be able to give back to people who are less fortunate,” she told BusinessWest. “It’s joyful, and it makes me feel good. I just want to do what I can and use my platform to do it.”
Meanwhile, Batlle continues to promote her new services and treatments, with an eye toward future growth. But at the end of the day, she said, the most gratifying element about her job is making people feel better, in every way.
“My big thing is, if you look good, you feel good. Confidence is a superpower. I feel like you can take on the world if you’re feeling better about yourself,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just an eyebrow wax or being able to make somebody’s aches and pains go away, or just a facial. Sometimes we need a little TLC, and we don’t realize that. But if we make ourselves feel better, then we feel like we can take on the world and do whatever it is that we need to do.”