A State of Milagro address, from our President.

I keep getting mail addressed to: Ashley Smith President Milagro

And it makes me giggle every time, so I’m totally using it.

Let me tell you a story, as we’re approaching five years of Milagro (officially on September 3rd! I cannot even handle this.)

We’d been open less than two months when a kind stranger wandered in. It had happened before and it’s happened a hundred times since, but this one rocked my world a bit. In a good way.

She looked around, chatted with some Milagrans, got a spa tour. And after being in the space for less than 15min, she headed out the door. But not before saying these words, casually, over her shoulder, on her way out:

“Hm. A spa? Feels more like a ministry than a spa.”

Mic drop. And um, wha?

What am I supposed to do with that? Where does a sentence like that even come from? I don’t know how to “ministry”. Is there a manual somewhere? Help me, Tom Cruise.

And here we are, about to celebrate five years, described by one friend as a “non denominational spa”. How did this happen?

I read advice recently from a serial entrepreneur who said “don’t start a business you don’t want to run”. Seems obvious.

Truth bomb (just wait, there’s a better one coming later): I inherited (or more accurately, purchased) a business I wouldn’t want to run.

There was nothing wrong with it really, it was just a traditional “day spa and shop” model. Therapists encouraged to push add-on services and sell lots of expensive skin care, always banking on women feeling badly about getting older (or honestly, just for daring to look like a real life human person and not a photoshopped fictional creature-bot).

I am simply unable to get behind that cause. So what to do?

If I can’t be a beauty guru (for so many reasons, including a remarkable skill of growing really long hair in weird places and even worse, not caring), am I allowed to have a spa?

If I can’t be a wellness guru (you guys, I can’t even sit cross legged AT ALL, like my hips do not allow it PLUS donuts and nachos and pizza and omg wings), am I allowed to have a spa?

And here comes truth bomb #2.

I was at a dinner party recently with a lot of people I didn’t know and when they asked what I do, I was *embarrassed* to say I own a spa.

I know I’m not supposed to tell you all that. I don’t even like thinking it. Feels yucky on my insides. But it’s the God honest truth.

And on the flip side, I could not be more proud-er of what we do at Milagro. And here’s why:

My spirit is tired of this culture we’ve somehow built. And I say “somehow” and I say “we” because we create our culture. I ask myself on the regular what I or my habits have done to contribute to this mess. Donald Trump was not elected in a vacuum. Kylie Jenner isn’t becoming the world’s youngest billionaire (BY SELLING MAKEUP ON INSTAGRAM) in a vacuum. This is us. We are this. And I’ll do everything I can to help turn that tide.

And Milagro has shown me I’m not alone. You all are out there. And you come to us when the crazy is really getting to you. And you find your true north again. And you remember there’s so much more to life than skimming along superficial surfaces. And you allow yourselves to let go and tune out the irrelevant noise so you’ll have the strength to handle the hard real stuff.

You’ve made me a believer.


business plan circa 2004


And we’re not going anywhere. We’re growing at such a lovely, steady, sustainable pace. And yes, downtown OP is changing, but trust me, we’re right where we need to be and we’re well taken care of with a handy long term lease that will allow us to weather the change. Thank God for commercial real estate lawyers who took care of us all those years ago.

And thank God for you all. The Milagrans. Let’s keep moving mountains. Or at least noticing them?

© 2019 by Ashley Smith & Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective