Her reputation grew by word of mouth and social media, and she has a wide variety of regular customers of all ages and professions. “It’s funny because looking at me as a goth metalhead punk girl, you wouldn’t think people would be comfortable with me, but everyone’s super happy and they love how quirky everything is,” she says.
She is now located in the Chapple Building adjacent to the Victoriaville Mall, and is looking forward to reopening again.
As a makeup artist and aesthetician, she has a wide range of experience, including working in a tattoo parlour, a funeral home, and teaching aesthetics at Everest College in Thunder Bay. “I learned a lot through working at the funeral home,” Kauppi says. Bacteriology and sanitization are important in both tattoo parlours and funeral homes, and she applied those practices to Sweet Cherry Spa.
Although the pandemic and its restrictions have been burdensome for some business owners, Kauppi says lockdown closures aside, little has changed for her. “People always ask, ‘How is wearing a mask all day, how is all the cleaning?’ But I’m already that clean, I wear a mask anyway,” she says. “I always wore a mask when I did facials, lashes, makeup and nails. I don’t want to breathe in people’s faces, and I don’t want to breathe in nail dust.”
Kauppi provides a wide range of services, from skin care, waxing, lash extensions to spa manicures and pedicures. An artistic and creative spirit, she loves makeup, and excels at special effects makeup. “I do it for Halloween, and also get contracted for movies when there’s filming in town,” she says. She enjoys being able to “think outside the box” doing special effects makeup; the filmmakers often just explain the basic idea to her and then tell her to “do what you want to do,” she says.
All the products she uses are vegan and cruelty-free, the spa owner says. It’s not too hard to find cruelty-free products in Canada. Vegan can be harder to find, but it’s important to Kauppi. “Everything has to be kind to animals,” she says.
The past year, she has been keeping her spirits up by focusing on her family and home. Homeschooling her kids keeps her busy, but she tries to find an outlet by doing some painting and art to stay creative.
“I hope to survive COVID,” Kauppi says about the future. She is now a member of the Fort William BIA. “I’d like to be a bigger member of the BIA community,” she says, and hopes to work on beautification in the downtown area.