Janelle Robertson had one business name and two business plans in mind when she sat down with bankers in 2011.
Trove was either going to be a spa or a business dedicated to repurposing furniture and other items.
Robertson wound up going with the spa concept, saying, I would have missed the people. I like my clients.
But Robertson has managed to work her love for vintage things into the mix. She opened in the Finn Lofts a former broom factory on artsy Commerce Street before moving late last year to the Renfro, a former hotel on Douglas that also has been converted to lofts.
I live in College Hill, she said. I love the energy of downtown. This is the heart of my city, and I love whats going on down here.
Robertson said shes been interested in the beauty business since she was a kid, cutting her little sisters bangs and playing spa with a fairly believable faux European accent.
Professionally, shes been part of it since 1990, starting at Beau Monde Spa & Boutique and later spending a decade at Svetas Skin & Body Therapy. She also earned a degree in exercise physiology at Wichita State University.
Trove offers facials, lash enhancement, massage, waxing and body treatment.
The 1,100-square-foot space is split into two levels joined by a spiral staircase. Towering white curtains and other decorative touches give Trove the look of a gallery or salon, just as Robertson intended. Upstairs, in addition to a treatment room, is a space set aside for parties and other events.
Yukari Owen, who specializes in facials and body waxing, and Jen Biehler, a makeup artist and lash stylist, have joined Robertsons staff since the move to Douglas. In addition to professional skills, Robertson said, the three are good at making sure there are snacks set out in bowls and other touches that let customers know we care.
Robertson said shes trying to position Trove between individual practitioners that work out of their homes and larger spas that, she said, sometimes sacrifice service in the quest for volume.
She said the Wichita market is an interesting mix.
They want all the perks the bigger cities have, but, in general, theyre pretty conservative consumers, she said. You have to watch your price point.
Robertson has been using social media to promote Trove and participating in community events such as Final Friday art crawls. She and Biehler are in demand as makeup artists for photo shoots. She hopes to expand her mobile massage service to downtown business and residential customers and to offer personal training to some of the athletes and others who come to her for massages.
I have some changes in store for the business and me, she said.