When Jacqueline Catanese was looking for a place to open Facez, a beauty spa, she wanted a space that truly felt like home to her and her two employees. What she learned was that home lives where you create it.
Catanese was able to transform a 200-year-old space at the old Canal House, at 160 Main Road in Montville, into a cozy and warm girly haven, complete with comforting scents, antique furniture and many personal touches for clients to look at. The location was the perfect place for Catanese to let her artistic nature shine, as the Montville resident said she is an artist above all else.
"I want to allow myself to be creative," she said.
Catanese started Facez more than 10 years ago after spending more than 22 years in the makeup and beauty business. Recreationally, she creates acrylic paintings.
Facez is a business that focuses primarily on bridal and special occasion makeup and hair, but Catanese also produces a Facez makeup line sold from the spa. As part of the theme of the Canal House location, Catanese sells handmade vintage jewelry. Several elements of the spa have a vintage feel, including a wooden-framed photograph of Catanese's mother and inspiration above the fireplace and re-purposed linens from relatives used as drapery.
It was important to Catanese that Facez creates more than just an every day experience for clients.
"It's not a salon, it's an oasis," she said.
Clients walk in the spa to hear a crackling fire and are offered a cup of hot tea. Music from the 1940s, a time when things were "much more simple," Catantese said, plays quietly and rooms with cushioned beds and chairs invite clients to relax while they are serviced.
"When you come here, you see people letting go," Catanese said.
After working together in a salon in Fairfield, Catanese brought makeup artists Leah DiGuilio and Tara Langella to her new Montville location with her.
"I put us first and made us happy so now we can make the client happy," Catanese said.
As part of this, the spa not only focuses on the appearance of clients' outer beings, but inner health as well. Langella has studied herbology and advises clients on what herbs could help them feel beautiful on the inside.
"The culture that we live in has gotten so far from that connection," Langella said. "Everything in here is an art. Every person is an art. We know our customers, clients, intimately."
So far, the new space is working out well for Catanese and her two employees.
"I feel like I'm just re-born," Catanese said. "Ive created a space that allows me and the ladies I work with to experience new things."
One of the spa's main services is application and maintenance of semi-permanent eyelash extensions. The makeup artists, who are certified in application of the extensions, bond the extensions one by one to each eyelash using tweezers and a magnifying glass. The first application takes about two hours, but the extensions can last over a long period of time with proper maintenance, Catanese said.
After the extensions are applied, clients need not wear mascara, though eyelashes will be noticeably fuller or longer.
"It's a secret you can keep or share," Catanese said.
As the business continues to grow, Catanese hopes to be able to offer more spa services and small group classes, on topics like herbology and makeup application, as well. The makeup artists will also travel for makeup and hair jobs as long as at least three clients will be serviced.