Celine Tadrissi is the founder of Cela Skin, as well as Toronto’s award winning Hammam Spa. A busy mother of three and beauty industry veteran, she aims to bring the ritual of the Turkish bath and spa into the home, and is on a mission to empower everyone to make self-care a priority in their life.
Could you tell us a little more about your background and how you came to found Cela?
I opened the largest independently run spa in Canada back in 2006 which has expanded and grown to host upwards of 2000 guests a week! I originally studies business however I always had a personal passion for the beauty and spa industry.
Through operating my spa and perfecting our service protocols I was frustrated by the lack of suitable products available to create the results and experience I wanted. Additionally, being 12th generation Canadian, I also wanted to create products using the amazing natural ingredients Canada has in formulations.
How have changes in attitudes to self-care helped you or people you know personally?
Witnessing the shift towards self-care over the past 20 years has been absolutely spectacular and motivating for me. When I first opened our spa 16 years ago the majority of clients came as an indulgent treat, or for a special occasion.
This has completely changed wherein self-care has become part of peoples weekly & daily routines. Increasingly societies are realising the restorative and preventative effects of a self-care ritual. Sharing this ritual with people at home was one of the reasons I created Cela.
What other tools and lifestyle changes have you found both have, and have not worked for you in your holistic health journey?
I think for all aspects of our health and beauty the importance of self-awareness of what I enjoy and works for me personally is key. There is an overload of information exposure dictating what to do and what others are doing – we become scattered and switch around too often between products and practices. Key for me has been keeping it simple and consistent for what works for my body and schedule.
What are your favourite products from Cela right now and where did the inspiration for the ingredients come from?
My first product developed and the one which is still my favourite to date – is the Essential Balm. I always have this in my vanity bag and throughout all the services at my spas. The Essential Balm is perfect for sensitive irritated skin, dry skin, hair, lips, cuticles, razor bun and bites! It is also safe to use on kids.
What does spirituality mean to you?
As I get older spirituality becomes more of an important focus for me. I am not a religious person, however I believe that self-awareness, love and care for myself and everything around me has resulted in more peace, success and happiness. This awareness and intention are what I consider the core of my spiritual journey.
Did you fundraise for your business?
No, my husband and I started all of our business endeavours with our savings and scaled accordingly. This has allowed us to be brutally aware of all details of our company’s operations, costs needs, failures and successes!
What difficulties have you faced and how did you get around them?
It has been challenging to start and operate my spa and product line at the level of excellence I strive for without external investment, however the total control over direction has been worth it. I have always needed to be creative – to compete and grow without compromising the quality and intention behind my brand. Scaling production volume to have profitable margins has also been very challenging for a small company.
What social challenges have arisen, and what sacrifices have been made?
For me, creating successful brands while maintaining a great family requires a strict focus of plans, plus allocation of time and resources. As such, I do not have much of a social life and flexibility. This sacrifice has honestly not felt difficult for me because I love my family and enjoy my work so much that the rewards more than make up for any restrictions made!
What unforeseen opportunities have arisen?
I have had several amazing collaborative opportunities with luxury brands since launch including pop-ups at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Spas, Coach bags and Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream! Affiliating with brands that I love and respect has been great to highlight the lifestyle side of Cela.
When you first launched, what brought the most traction and momentum for you? And what hasn’t worked so well?
Staying true to my core as a Canadian luxury self-care brand has proven most effective. Trying to follow trends and doing influencer collaborations that are too focused on following and hype has not brought any true value for me.
What’s the smallest change that’s given the biggest return?
Being honest and transparent with who I am and why I have created Cela. Initially I looked towards brands I aspire to and felt I needed to represent or reflect differently, yet just communicating my vision with integrity and honesty has resulted in the best connections and feedback.
What motivates you?
I love what I do and I look forward to starting my day (this is a blessing!). Setting an example for my daughters on hard work is a major motivating factor for me and seeing positive growth opportunities for myself and everyone I work for provides a motivating positive feedback loop to push through the challenges that arise.
What has been your biggest lesson, fear, or failure?
For me having confidence and ignoring self-doubt has been the biggest challenge. I was terrified for a year before Cela launched, wondering how I would do and what the feedback would be, but ignoring doubt and conflicting opinions has been key to stay on track towards my initial goal.
Do you have a mentor or people you ask for advice?
I work very closely with my husband, and we are always throwing ideas back and forth. We both studied in university together and have been involved in each other’s ideas and businesses. Offering and receiving regular, honest advice from him has been key for my success.
If you did not have your own company, what would you be doing?
I studied business in university and felt the need to work in an area I could safely support myself. Ideally I would be working within the beauty industry but likely in a corporate finance position. Wow I am so thankful for where my path has gone! 🙂
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
I think my biggest strength is being able to stay on track and work towards my larger goals, while consistently doing the fun and non-enjoyable tasks required to reach them daily. My biggest weakness would be my hesitation to confront individuals and situations that I disagree with, or feel have been done wrong.
How has what you do changed you as a person?
Learning through doing and moving forwards daily has developed my self-confidence and vision for where I want to go. Using difficult experiences and situations to learn and improve, as opposed to feeling sorry for myself and quitting has made me the person I am today.
If time and money were no object – what would be on your to do and to see list?
To expand global awareness for my brands and share with people everywhere. I would love to develop more luxury sustainable packaging innovations and offer the full Cela wellness experience in retail and spa settings around the world!