NEW BREED OF BUSINESSES DELIVERS PERSONALIZED WELLNESS REGIMENS

Health is one of the most crucial pillars of our lives. When you don’t feel and look your best, everything else can feel like a bigger struggle.

Fortunately, there are plenty of local businesses in our community that are designed to help you live your best, healthiest life.

Here, we’re profiling three innovative companies in the health and wellness sphere that offer customized programs designed to meet your needs.

Whether your challenge is a packed schedule or you simply don’t know what’s best for your body, these neighborhood standouts can certainly help you get started on the right foot.

Bella Organici, Westfield and Cranford

Danielle DeCostello’s organic spray tans and facials have become so popular and in demand that Bella Organici is expanding into franchises around the state, country, and even into Canada by the end of 2018! With two locations in the area, word is getting out about Bella Organici’s services including facials, safer spray tans and other spa services. Bella Organici means “beautifully organic” in Italian.

DeCostello grew up in a family that was focused on beauty… her father was a celebrity colorist in Chicago and she was a teen model. She was raised traveling between Brooklyn and Chicago until she went to college.

When DeCostello was pregnant with her second child, she wanted a safe spray tan and couldn’t find any service or solution that she liked, so she decided to create one.

“I’m became used to a certain quality of skincare and when I first came here to New Jersey, I noticed there wasn’t many options that I would consider using, or were up to my standards,” said DeCostello. “I actually called my former spray tanner and got her to ship me what she used. I thought, ‘why not make a business out of this?’”

DeCostello has a degree in biomedical engineering and chemistry and reached out to her lab friends to help her put the organic spray tan solution together. She also went to work in her kitchen experimenting with argan oils, kale and other vegetables in order to perfect the color. “We use vegetables for coloring that are a vegan, non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) product. We use certified organic plants,” DeCostello said. She worked with her obstetrician while creating the product to ensure it would be safe for women to use during pregnancy.

“I went to school to be a chemist because I was influenced by my family being in the beauty industry,” she said. “I’ve just always been fascinated with science and I love bringing science to skincare. There’s just something gratifying about looking at your customers and knowing you helped them with body wraps or facials or whatever their condition and now they’re seeing amazing results,” she said.

Facials are some of the most popular services at Bella Organici. While you might be tempted to book a facial online because it sounds cool and interesting—like a diamond facial, 24 carat gold facial, or a crystal facial—DeCostello insists each new client come in to meet with someone on her staff first for an evaluation so they’re directed to the correct service for their skin.

“We want to do the proper facial for your face, not something you saw online that you want to try. It might not be suitable for your skin,” said DeCostello. The facials start around $100 for an hour service that often comes with a massage.
Some of the most popular facials are the placenta (using sheep’s placenta) facial (you hang in an aerial hammock listening to music during the treatment), as well as the Crystal Tune and Crystal Grid facials, microneedle facials, the oxygen facial, said DeCostello.

Bella Organici has a host of other spa and skincare services to try, as well as a meditation studio, certification classes for cosmetologists and estheticians, medium readings, and Ganesha readings.

“I’m half East Indian and Egyptian and Israeli, so… a lot of what I do, I learned in the Middle East, said DeCostello. “I grew up with a huge practicum of Ganesh, even though I’m Christian. Ganesh is in all of my studios. I’m versed in the Hindi culture. I speak Hindi. I know a lot of different meditation methods but, I do bring on a lot of meditation instructors for the classes at the studio,” she said.

With her original location in Cranford opened in 2009, she recently decided to expand to Westfield.

“The owner of DIRT [Beauty Salon] next door to me wanted somebody likeminded next door—she does organic nail services—and she knew my family,” said DeCostello. “I checked it out and I loved it. I loved the open brick finish and I thought, ‘All right, let’s do this.’ I already had a lot of Westfield clients,” said DeCostello.

“Running these businesses with a family takes a village. It’s really a team effort—my family and team keeps me grounded. I have great customers and clients, too. They’re amazing. They’re understanding if I don’t take appointments after a certain time to spend time with my family,” said DeCostello.

While you should schedule an appointment in order to take advantage of Bella Organici’s services, you can pop in and check out the Skin Bar for organic skincare and beauty products. Learn more at bellaorganici.com

Via Nutrition, Westfield

Nutrition and health coach, Karen Phillips, owner of Via Nutrition knows what it’s like to be a busy working parent who isn’t prioritizing her health. When she was working in production and juggling motherhood, she said she, “Found it very hard to keep it together nutritionally and exercise-wise. I realized how important those elements are to actually happily living your life and having a well-rounded life.”

Phillips pursued nutrition and coaching certifications and worked with clients privately for a few years before opening her office space near Downtown Westfield in 2014.

Clients come to Via Nutrition for personalized cleanses, one-on-one nutrition coaching, detoxification, help with their weight loss goals, referrals from their doctors, as well as time in the infrared sauna—which is thought to be able to remove more toxins from your sweat than a regular sauna.

“I work with a lot of people one on one and truly customize each client’s plan. We break down everything that the client does and create manageable steps for them to incorporate into their life,” said Phillips. “If you’re an attorney and you don’t get home until 7 o’clock at night and you work seven days a week as a lot of my clients do, I can’t give you the same program that I give a stay-at-home mom of four children,” she said.

Why a holistic approach to nutrition? There are about six main components of your life: work, family, food, exercise, stress, and sleep, Phillips said.

“All of those come into play when you’re looking at the holistic picture of how healthy you really are. Because you could be eating as clean as you want and exercising six days a week but, if you are bundle of nerves, stressed out or in a really bad place mentally, you’re not going to see the results you desire,” she said. “The whole mind-body connection is so strongly related that you have to treat it from a holistic perspective. That tends to unfold when you’re sitting with a coach like myself and breaking it down and vocalizing [your challenges],” said Phillips.

“[My holistic approach] is what differentiates me from going to see a doctor, or registered dietitian,” she said. “I still focus on portion control and caloric measures in my practice, but I don’t focus on that until later in the program when we get the basics down,” Phillips said.

Via Nutrition was opened in Westfield because Phillips is from the area and was looking for a location that’s a good central hub for people from Scotch Plains, Cranford, Clark and other local communities.

“It’s a great town and the clientele lives nearby,” said Phillips. “The demographic for this type of business is busy parents, commuter town folks, people who are health conscious, people who are working out and concerned about their longevity, and they want to focus on that and maintain it—that’s what my focus is,” said Phillips.

Clients complete a questionnaire from the website and then set up a 15-minute complementary consultation on the phone.

“That way I have information about them before we get on the phone, so we can maximize our time together,” she said. “Then, at that point, if they feel like this is something they want to move forward with, we talk programs.”

Phillips offers a 90-minute intensive consultation, a 30-day program, a 90-day program, or a whole food cleanse to help you clean up your diet. She prefers in-person meetings (and you can schedule a relaxing sauna session afterwards), or she can accommodate her busy clients via Skype calls.

“This is my passion, and I just really love to see people succeed,” said Phillips.

You can schedule and book services with at vianutritionandhealth.com

Flo Fitness, Scotch Plains

Certified athletic trainer, Christopher Flores, fell in love with fitness at an early age.

“My dad always got our family exercising when I was 2 or 3 years old,” Flores said. “But I never really saw it as fitness. It was just something we did because we were kids and we moved. And my dad just showed us how to just work out and run and bike and do pushups and pull-ups and this is a part of our culture, this family.”

Flores takes that philosophy of fitness as something that’s fun and functional and created a business out of it, building the Flo Fitness studio in Scotch Plains.

“I never thought ‘working out’ was an actual job, per se,” said Flores. With Flores’ college degree he pursued a career in athletic training, getting a job at Westfield High School as an assistant athletic trainer.

“I noticed how many athletes were getting injured. And I tried to figure out why they were getting hurt,” he said. “I wanted to figure out a way we could have prevented the injury if we would have helped them move better.”

Flores wanted to teach athletes how to move better, so that they could lift heavy and be stronger but, with better mechanics, he said.

“That’s initially how the business came about because I really wanted to focus on the person’s motor patterns and, if needed, correct them. So, that’s what motivated me to create Flo Fitness and open our first location in Westfield in 2009. We’ve since moved to our new spot in Scotch Plains,” Flores said.

At first the Flo Fitness trainers only worked with athletes and helped them move and train, but as the years went on, Flores’ clients were adults coming in because of an injury or because they wanted to improve their mechanics and fitness level in some way.

“Clients were coming to us to train and either get better (for a particular event or sport) or just to maintain a better quality of life,” said Flores.

In order to help clients on a larger scale, Flores created the FLO Vault which you can subscribe to on their website.

“It’s basically a vault of our exercise videos online where people can go and get creative, innovative ideas of different kinds of exercises to do to beat boredom and keep their workouts interesting,” Flores said. It’s only $3 a month for more than 150 exercises. “We have customers from all over the U.S., as well as the U.K., Ireland, and Australia accessing the exercises,” he said.

Want a personalized plan? Flores can write a fitness program for you for a separate fee, and he’ll point you to the exercise demo videos that are in the vault.

“Our facility is also for people who don’t like fitness because traditional fitness—can be boring,” he said. In the past, a trainer would tell you to do five sets of these exercises or four sets of this or three sets and then you walk around a gym and it’s like someone is holding your hand, he said.

“The way we structure our training is everyone has their own trainer and program,” Flores said. “Our exercises are very different. So at first, it’s just fun stuff because it’s so weird. You’re asking yourself, ‘What is this?’ It’s kind of like I’m playing but I’m also exercising but I’m also stretching. It’s all that stuff mixed together in our system,” he said.

You can also have a customized workout with a trainer or do semi-private or group workouts. “We always work on the mental part of [exercise] and make it fun,” he said. “Clients come to work out but say they feel like they’re just playing games in a giant playground,” Flores said.

The FLO-OSOPHY mindset training is a component of the business that Flores is passionate about. “Our minds are limitless. And so if you can get an athlete to change their mindset and focus on the important parts of the sport, you’ll have a much better athlete,” he said. He offers a five-week FLO-OSOPHY shift program that clients can buy as part of an additional service he provides to address their unique needs.

Having his business in Scotch Plains is part of the reason Flores said he’s had success.

“The area is about community and people truly, genuinely want to help each other,” Flores said. He’ll see parents help out with picking up other kids and taking them to dinner with their families, or buying something for someone else and being generous with their time and resources. “In communities like this everyone is willing to help each other to succeed and move forward.

If you’re interested in kick-starting your workout routine with Flo Fitness, their introductory package is $99 for a month of unlimited sessions. For more information go to flofitnessbh.com

About the Contributor

Diana Kelly grew up in the Garden State and is a writer who has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Reader’s Digest, Latina and others.