Feature Article - October 2005
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That Feminine Mystique

Solving the mystery of successfully marketing to women

By Stacy St. Clair

The intimate decoration encourages the women to share their experiences, concerns and questions in group forums. With help from Barefoot & Pregnant experts and other moms, clients form their own philosophies on issues such as breastfeeding, co-sleeping and discipline.

"I have been able to create this community where women can get together and talk," Denney says. "They talk about their shared experiences, feelings, changes, everything."

The educational workshops also provide women with an opportunity to expand their awareness of relevant topics. The classes offer moms advice on everything from infant CPR and baby bathing to colic and cuddling. The facility also teaches hypnosis for birthing, in which women learn techniques to change attitudes at their subconscious source.

In the end, the workshops and exercise classes encourage expectant moms to stop and think of themselves. They're constantly encouraged to nurture the nurturer.

"As women, we spend much of our time nurturing our husbands and our kids," Denney says. "This is one of the most important times in life, and you really need to take care of yourself."

The spa, not surprisingly, does wonders for someone looking for a little pampering.

The full-service facility offers traditional treatments such as massage, waxing and facials. It also offers special prenatal services such as the belly "facial" to soothe growing stomachs and help minimize stretch marks. They also offer postnatal massages such as "Mama's Little Helper," which concentrates on the areas that most tax new mothers: the neck, shoulders, wrists and back of arms.

Most spas offer prenatal services—a fact Denney actually uses to her advantage. Many masseuses might offer a pregnancy massage, she says, but how often do they perform them? Once a week? Once a month? Never?

Denney stresses that's all her employees do. They cater to pregnant women all day, every day.

"Every spa offers a prenatal service or two," she says, "but not from experts in the field who cater specifically and only to pregnant people."

The spa also distinguishes itself from other facilities because it allows children. Denney finds it puzzling when facilities offer pre- and postnatal services but don't allow babies in their sanctuary.

"That rule totally defeats the purpose," she says. "Children have been and always will be welcome at Barefoot & Pregnant."

In addition to offering a unique service, Denney has found creative ways to bolster the business end. She partners with a local bed and breakfast to offer getaway packages. The move has expanded her clientele because it offers people from all over the country a way to use her facility.

She promotes the idea of a "Babymoon," a getaway trip that helps expectant parents relax and rejuvenate before their child's birth. The packages—which include fatherhood classes and other workshops—help dads enjoy the joys of pregnancy, too.

The facility also has a pro shop of sorts. Billed as "retail therapy," Barefoot & Pregnant sells must-have items such as diaper bags, breast pumps and carriers. It also offers a large reading selection, including Denney's first book, Spa Mama, which teaches pregnant women how to pamper themselves at home. (To help on that end, the facility sells a signature line of skin-care products, including Stretch Away, a stretch-mark cream.)

Denney recently launched an e-commerce site that makes the products available to anyone with an Internet connection. Her next plan of attack is a national rollout of the Barefoot & Pregnant philosophy, which includes opening new facilities across the country.

"The dream for me," Denney says, "has always been the concept itself so that there are as many Barefoot & Pregnants around the country for all the women who need them."