Inside the newly renovated Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, beauty industry veteran Randy James LaBrecque built himself an eponymous eco-friendly relaxing haven. At the Rande James Spa, the treatments are personalized, the products local and organic and the prices accessible, making the place what he calls "the complete opposite of a department store."
The comparison is justified. Between the 21 shades of eye shadow in the makeup counter, the seemingly similar to the untrained eye organic body butter, scrub and lotion and the professional anti-aging oils and kits, the kinds of products available at the Rande James Spa would usually be found in a noisy and crowded space at the mall. James' clients, on the other hand, get to shop for them with dim lighting, soft music and personalized advice from the spa owner and product creator himself.
The ingredient labels read like a recipe — sugar, extra virgin olive oil, 11 herbs — and at first were made like one, too, in the kitchen by James and his nephew. The project started as a common passion for earth-friendly products and an excuse to spend more time together. As the lotions, soaps and oils were perfected, they sold them in markets from Sarasota to Tampa. After his nephew, who had spina bifida, died, James continued to pursue their dream alone. Today, Rande James Cosmetics has outgrown the kitchen and is made in bulk, but still cruelty- and toxin-free, in New York.
Currently the spa offers seven types of massages (starting at $49 for 60 minutes), five types of facials (ranging from $39 to $65), manicures, pedicures and cosmetic consultations ($35), in which James shares his tips and advice on makeup application and skin care maintenance with no purchase necessary. In March, James will add a full service salon with organic products to the spa. His product line is also expanding with a pet line in the spring and two more mineral foundations in the summer.