Natalie Dowd's Hand & Stone Story - April Employee Spotlight

My career with Hand & Stone started in 2013 when I was hired as the Art Director for Hand & Stone’s in-house advertising agency, HSM Advertising. At the time, we had around 140 open spas and a small-scale advertising operation with a few Account Executives and a graphic designer. We were growing fast, and I was thrilled to jump in and start creating advertising pieces that reflected Hand & Stone’s brand message, affordable luxury.

I had come from another franchise in the automotive industry so transitioning over to the health and wellness space was a wonderful change for me. I was excited to move from oil change graphics to relaxing spa imagery.

Over the years I worked with, then-President and CEO Todd Leff and CMO Jack Bachinsky to push the brand’s design-forward while always maintaining the Hand & Stone look and feel. We want to convey to customers that Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas are relaxing, inviting, and affordable places to go to for results-driven facial treatments or relaxing and customizable massage services with a large assortment of spa upgrades and enhancements available.

As the Company began to grow, so did my position and in 2020, I was promoted to Creative Director. I get to collaborate with corporate team members when rolling out a new service or enhancement to supply the franchisees with eye-catching marketing materials. I’ve organized photoshoots so our service image assets were our own and Hand & Stone branded. I strive to bring a fresh, creative eye to our brand look as our media mix has transitioned from print into a greater digital/social presence. I assisted in setting up the email marketing CRM within our POS system and continue to design custom email templates based on our monthly promotions for our franchisees to utilize. As a member of the Promotions Committee, I contribute, share, and discuss ideas for upcoming promotions as well as review the success of previous promotions with a select group of franchisees.

As I’ve been able to build relationships with our franchisees over the years, I also ensure that our internal teams are supported with their projects. It’s become a verb around the office to get something “Natalized” which is a lovely compliment from my colleagues!

My team and I support our franchisees with their on-demand graphics requests. We provide advertisements promoting services or local spa specials that align with our brand standards and messaging to ensure our branding is consistent whether a customer visits a spa in New Jersey or Arizona. My team works with HSM Account Executives to align with the planning and scheduling of local advertising. We proof the artwork to the franchisee, complete any changes and send it to the vendor for production once approved.

HSM intends to make the advertising process as easy as possible for each owner. My team and I can assist with media requests that are not booked through HSM. We can support project requests ranging from a business card-sized ad for a local school brochure to a highway billboard.

I love that I get to be creative every day and support our dedicated franchisees. We have some of the kindest, most appreciative, and hardworking business owners at Hand & Stone, so I am always more than happy to help – seriously, just shoot me an email!