© 2019 by Ashley Smith & Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective

  • Ashley

Maker Counter as metaphor.

Smitty and I are different as can be in many ways. I like to analyze things (people) for hours and Smitty takes (nearly) everything at face value. This week when the selfie sorority girls video was everywhere we bantered because he saw it as friends having fun and I saw it as everything that is wrong in the world.

We watch a movie and I’m off about themes and metaphors and parallels and he’s all “yep, no, just a movie.” It’s probably why he can fall asleep in no less than 10 seconds and it takes me a good 90 minutes to turn off all the voices.

All of this to say I can find deep meaning in anything. Sometimes it’s a stretch, but sometimes it’s so perfectly spot on it gives me goosebumps. Such is the case with our Maker Counter.

If you start a discussion with any business-y or marketing type person about Milagro, they immediately latch onto the Maker Counter as what makes our concept unique. They’re always looking for that market differentiation – what makes us stand out from the 10,000 other spas in our city. And I completely agree, although my reasons are different. Marketing folks see a DIY skin care bar with essential oils and raw ingredients as the perfect fit in today’s handmade, natural, organic, artisanal craze. But since our goal here at Milagro is always chasing truth instead of trend, I see a lot more to it.

When folks sit down at our Maker Counter they start to strip their layers (figuratively, of course – we try to reserve the literal stripping for the spa area). But there’s something about a conversation exposing skin care BS that encourages a bit of soul exposure. And it’s my favorite thing. I don’t know why or how it happens. Maybe it has something to do with the loud voice we have allowed the skin/beauty companies to have in our heads. I only know when we start questioning long held beliefs about how we’re “supposed” to care for our skin and our body, what we’re “supposed” to look like, how many products it’s “supposed” to take to achieve all of these things (you know, all of the things you’re “supposed” to talk about at a spa), we feel free. It’s all hogwash and people know it. And when we give them permission to get real instead, it’s like the floodgates open. We hear about health battles and family tension and horrible bosses and insecurities and hopeful plans. We hear your stories. It’s humbling and so fantastic.

It is a metaphor for what we do at Milagro. We give you tools to weed whack through the treacherous BS fields of life. The scenery is so familiar we often don’t notice we’re stuck. We auto-pilot through the days, acting by rote until we’re spending time, energy, and money on things we’re told are necessary and important, but JUST AREN’T. When we stop for one second to really look around we think, “how in the hell did I get here?”. And once we’re free from all of the supposed-to voices, we get to hear our own again. We realize our stories are valuable and our experiences tell us everything we need to know about what’s important.

Even better than making your own skin care is making your own life. Creating from scratch using only the ingredients important to you. Leaving out the fillers and buffers that make things feel nice but have no true value or benefit. It’s way more work and is often messy. But it’s so much better than the prepackaged stuff.