Inspiring Conversations with Harley Howard of The Bay Spa


Today we’d like to introduce you to Harley Howard.

Hi Harley, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Harley and I have always had a passion for people and beauty. This is where my love for self-care and helping others was born. I have been a licensed esthetician for over 6 years. I was trained in Southern California at the International School of Beauty.

I first started working for a dermatologist in California and later moved back to my hometown in upstate NY and opened my own studio while obtaining my bachelor’s degree in health care management. While back in New York, I met my husband and we got married in July 2021, together we decided to pursue our dreams further and move to Florida for more opportunities.

This is where The Bay Spa was developed, a boutique day spa in the heart of Soho. The Bay Spa’s mission is to provide a personalized intimate experience focusing on self-care and confidence.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Starting a business has been a significant achievement, however, that does not mean we do not face challenges. Some challenges we have faced are learning to work as a husband and wife team on a professional level. This has both challenged our marriage and made us stronger for it.

Another challenge we have faced is figuring out ways to gain more exposure within the community and letting people know we exist. For me, any challenge or obstacle is a chance to reflect on my purpose and why I started this business in the first place.

As you know, we’re big fans of The Bay Spa. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
I started The Bay Spa in hopes to provide a quality workplace for myself and other estheticians. I enjoy mentoring people and get to do that daily with my clients and employees. This is what sets us apart from other spas.

We focus on result-driven aesthetics and care about each client and want to improve their lives through confidence and self-care education. We specialize in intimate bleaching, lash extensions, customized facials, hydro facials, henna brows, brow boot camp, and sugaring hair removal.

What I am the proudest of is our results and testimonials from clients. They have allowed us the opportunity to transform their lives even in small ways that mean a great deal to me. Our goal is to provide warmth and connection which allows everyone to feel their value all while looking and feeling their best.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I am definitely a risk taker. My husband and I wanted badly to get out of New York because the weather is so depressing and most people never leave the small town we were in even though the opportunities are very slim. This was a huge drive to move to Florida away from any friends or family even though we knew it was a risk and it wouldn’t be easy. We moved here in January where my husband took a job in sales and I looked for work.

I got a job at a spa here in Tampa and soon realized I and others were being extremely under-appreciated. This is when I decided I had to take another risk and think about opening a spa of my very own. This was naturally the next step in my career as I already had my own studio for over 3 years in NY. I wanted to create a space that was different than most and allow everyone to feel a part of the team and family. This is when my husband also decided to quit his job here and help me pursue this dream.

As a team risk-wise we work perfectly together because he is a very strategic thinker which creates balance. I believe risks are worth taking and with the right support system and goal in mind they will turn out even better than expected. It certainly does take a village and even if they aren’t in Florida our family and friends have supported us every step of the way.