Interview with Xia Leder, owner of Xia Spa: The Oasis Within an Oasis

Xia Spa opened at Waterside in October of 2012 and has been a delightful addition to the Plaza since.

Xia Spa, at 25 Waterside Plaza, is a veritable oasis within an oasis.  It’s an ideal space where you can leave it all behind, while you enjoy the exceptional manicures, pedicures, facial treatments, waxing and more. It’s a unique spa where you can enjoy a pleasant view as an expert staff pampers you with personalized treatments.

Over the years of working in some of the leading establishments in the spa industry, Xia Leder has honed her vision of an ideal, personal spa experience.

We spoke to Xia about her new space at Waterside, the spa and what she loves about her work.

I know that the 25 Building at Waterside Plaza is undergoing an exciting renovation process to create a lounge and event space. Part of that included relocating the spa. How are you enjoying the new space?  

The new space is perfect for customers. It’s beautiful. Everything is really nice. My facial room is super nice. The facial room/waxing room is very professional and very comfortable for the customer, and the lights are brighter than before.

We’re moving the nail dryer, so when customer dries their nails, they face outside. They can see the view and watch their children play.

Especially as the weather gets nicer. It’ll be so relaxing to see the beauty outside while getting a beautiful manicure.

Gel manicures are fantastic: They last quite awhile without chipping. Is it a popular thing at the salon?

Yes, but even with our regular color, we do our best to make it last. Some places when you have regular polish, they charge $1.00 to put on the fast-dry top coat. We don’t charge.

Manicure at Xia Spa at Waterside Plaza

For the gel color, we use  a great brand, that is very popular, called Bio Nails. They have beautiful colors, very shiny, and many other benefits.

Also, we have Memory Gel Wear from Korea. They have far brighter colors than other brands and they have a thin layer, but they stay longer than others.

And, we have perfect match – so if you have a gel manicure and you want to match it with your regular pedicure, we have the perfect color match: Same color for your gel and the regular.

That is unique. What else does Xia Spa offer that’s uncommon?

My waxing and facial is different than anywhere else. My waxing uses cream: A brand, called Satin Smooth. The cream waxing is not hot, doesn’t damage your skin, and has the least pain.

I’ve never even heard of a cream wax! Sounds magical. Especially the less pain part.

It’s so much better.

For April, your special is your signature facial.

Yeah, for April, I am offering 40 percent off, because my facial room is so different than before.

Also, I just want people coming in to enjoy their facials. Sometimes people don’t want to  spend that kind of money, and I want to give them the opportunity to try it anyway. The facial is so relaxing. Your skin feels so good afterwards.

You have really great reviews on Yelp. A number say things like: “The ladies at Xia Spa always do an amazing job with my manicures, pedicures, waxing, and massages.”

So you obviously are excellent.  And you have very good team.

Oh, yes.

Why do you think that you get such glowing reviews?

First of all, we’re super clean.

Secondly, we have really relaxing music. The music is so soothing.

And the third is we are using only products that are top of the line. So, for example, people have a manicure from us, it lasts.  Sometimes a manicure, at another place, maybe by the second day, it peels.

Oh, yeah, that’s definitely happened to me.

But here, the quality of the product is great, and our team does quality work.

And if the customer does have problem, they just come in and we fix it for them for free.

I listen to feedback: Anybody can tell me about anything: Good or not good. It helps us improve. I always tell people to tell me what they liked or what they didn’t. I like hearing it.

Another thing we do to make the experience best is that everything is disposable. For example, the nail files, everything only for you, and then we throw out.

Very hygienic.

Yes.

I hear you also have tea at the spa.

Yes, we have tea, hot tea, because we are Chinese. We like tea, and right now, people like green tea, drink it for their health. So in winter, we have hot tea. And in the summer, we have cold lemon water, with fresh lemons. So people come here, and it’s just like going to their sister’s house. They feel welcome, comfortable, relaxed.

That’s another thing that was mentioned in the reviews: “The customer service is unbeatable, with Xia always offering tea in the cold months, water in the warm months… it’s the little extra things that really elevate your mood while you’re at this salon.”

Can people drop in – or should they make appointments?

Most people make appointments. That way they don’t have to wait.

That makes perfect sense.

Were you always involved in this business?

I have a college education in China. I was working in newspaper office. This is so much different. When I come to the States, because my language and my age, I went to beauty school to learn about the facials, aesthetic. I feel if I do this, maybe with my learning this new language, I won’t have to talk too much.

One problem: People love to have conversations in salons!

Well now, I like to talk to people. And I love my job.

So, I have a cosmetology license. Also, I have aesthetic certificate. After I learned cosmetology, I went to Tribeca and SoHo work, and I have manager experience.

Now, the way I do my facial, the signature facial, the one on special this month: I am Chinese and I also learn American facial, so I do American and Chinese combination.

Oh, even better! This is probably why Yelp also has so many people raving about the signature facial.

I incorporate the Chinese part, like acupressure. So when doing my facial, I give a massage, for the head, whole face, neck, cheeks, and arm, hand. The combination for the customers, makes them relaxed.

My customers call my hands like a feather.

You are completely selling me on this facial!

Are your clients mostly from Waterside?

Yes, 99 percent are Waterside residents.

What do you like about being at Waterside? 

I feel I am in the family, because the majority who come here are return customers.

I see my customers when we go to the coffee shop, when we get groceries, when we’re on the plaza. We see each other often.

Even when residents aren’t having a treatment, they’ll come in and say hi to me.  It’s like a big family.