Dasha Lyn

Soi Day Spa owner Dasha Lyn enjoying the company of a client in her DeBaliviere Place neighborhood location Fri. Sept. 23, 2022.

Dasha Lyn, a millennial mom of a preteen daughter and former employee of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, admits she didn’t understand the importance of self care rituals.

A friend suggested that she take some time to herself, and she obliged by getting manicure and pedicure services.

“I turned my phone off and that was a reset. That’s when I was first introduced to self care,” she said.

Lyn, who calls herself a reformed tom boy, grew up wearing braids and baggy jeans. Following the birth of her daughter, she sought to create a better version of herself. 

“I wanted to show her something different that I didn’t have,” Lyn said.

“I didn't have that female [role model.]. I didn't have anybody teaching me about self care and night skincare routines. I didn't have any of that. Having [my daughter] cultivated me into what you see now.”

While on her journey, it dawned on her that working a traditional job wasn’t what she truly cared to do. Her commitment to strengthening self worth and self esteem through self care soon became her business model.

Lyn established Soí Day Spa and became a business owner. Soí is French for ‘self,’ and Lyn’s unisex salon specializes in nails, massages, full body waxing, facials, and lashes. 

“I want it to be an off day away from everything when you step into Soí. That's what made me do it,” Lyn said. “That's what inspired me to open it. Just self care in general from a mental perspective.”

Lyn left Barnes where she worked as a liaison between patients and doctors and graduated from a nail tech school in summer 2019. She worked mobily servicing clients, and worked for two different salons from January 2020-September 2022.

She opened Soí on Sept. 5, 2022. Upon entrance, clients are greeted by rich, navy blue walls, white and gold accents including a crystal chandelier, and soft jazz and R&B music plays in the background.

“I wanted to give a Four Seasons spa feel without the price tag,” Lyn said.

“People have bills and other obligations, they deserve to be treated nicely without having to pay a hefty price tag.”

Lyn believes “beauty is more than skin deep,” meaning that self care is not just about what's on the outside.

“My nails and everything else could look good but I could be depressed on the inside, it's important to get to the root of that and fix it,” she said.

To help combat self esteem issues and other mental health concerns, Lys hosts self care days at Soí involving pampering and dialogue about problems people face.

“I’ve had ladies say, ‘Ooo, oh my God, this was beneficial. Can we pray?,’” she said. “This is a safe space for you all to come do that.”

Men are also welcome, and Lyn wants them to be comfortable, as well.

“Men also battle against a lot of things that they don’t speak about,” she said. “That’s why I’m big on having a unisex salon.”

Soí differs from many traditional nail shops because of its health-conscious methods. All services are fume and acrylic free. E-file pedicures are offered in lieu of soaks. Lyn said this service would be similar to what a patient would receive at a podiatrist office.

“It's similar to people that are diabetic and can’t soak their feet in water, they can have security in the service that they’re getting and also not worry about getting cut because it's with an electric file and I don’t use nippers,” she said.

“The skin can be manipulated better dry versus soaking in water over a long amount of time.”

Lyn said her aunt enjoyed getting her nails done in regular shops, but felt uneasy because of the chemicals used. This led her to choose healthier options for her spa.

“Acrylic isn’t good to use because of the fumes ingested into our respiratory system from it,” she said. “I don’t want to sit here 10 hours a day inhaling acrylic all day everyday and I don’t want my clients to either, that’s the reason I decided to do fume free.”

The pandemic put Lyn’s spa services on pause, but she learned a lucrative hobby that helped her stay afloat—candle making. She sells her handmade candles as Soí Essentials.

“I dropped my collection three times during the pandemic and sold out each time,” she said. “Then the goods shortage happened where we couldn’t get anything from China. The pandemic pushed me to start my retail candle line when service went down because I wasn’t making money from it, but I sustained income from retail.”

Lyn’s advice to young Black entrepreneurs is to stay true to themselves and “have a real purpose for why they’re doing it and what they’re doing it for.”

“Stick to what you want to do and don’t waver because of influences you see online,” she said. “Don’t be moved by trends. Before you say you’re going to open a business, have a purpose, stick to it, and don’t only do it for the money.”

Soí Day Spa is located at 5316 Pershing Avenue, Suite 101, St. Louis, MO 63112. For more information about Soí, visit https://soistl.com/.

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