Joyce Adenike Busari is the Founder of Biyou Women Only Spa and Health Bistro, a health restaurant based in the hearts of Alausa in Ikeja, Lagos. Joyce is an accomplished and CIBTAC Certified Esthetician, Electrologist, Laser Technician and Holistic Nutritionist, with over 15 years experience in the beauty and wellness industry.
In 2005, upon completion of the prescribed training in skincare and nutrition, she gained valuable experience while employed by one of the United Kingdom’s pioneers in the health and beauty field, and was recognized as one of the top therapists in their various clinics across the country. Advances in technology have now enabled her to broaden her extensive experience in skincare and weight-loss over the past 10 years with the use of heat and light therapy.Joyce is European-trained and graduated from the renowned Champneys College in Tring (UK). Joining a progressive team of skincare professionals at one of Europe’s elite spas expanded her knowledge and expertise in advanced skin care therapies.
As a wife, mother of four, and a dedicated professional, Joyce is acutely aware of the importance of continuing education; she has furthered her studies in anti-aging skincare practices and technologies, as well as holistic modalities such as Aromatherapy and Reiki.Her passion for total health, beauty and well-being led to her intensive study of Nutrition. This knowledge has given her the ability to remedy the skin from the inside out and also assist individuals in reaching their optimum health and weight-loss goals.This birthed Health Bistro a restaurant providing meal plans and only Healthy Continental and African dishes.
Standing behind Biyou’s philosophy and the products and services it promotes is extremely important to her. As a result, she is diligent with her research and testing which can take weeks to months to satisfy her high standards, before a potential new product or service can be offered.She expatiates more on why she chose to run a women only spa, women’s wellness and her recently opened health restaurant in this interview with GuardianWoman
Tell us how the spa started?
After studying in the UK, I worked in a Spa and when I got back I realised that there was something missing. Most of the spas were targeted at relaxation but I wanted something more, I wanted to help women be the best version of themselves. When women have children, they tend to have missing links, but I want to help them be the best of themselves amidst all. Help a woman be how she used to be.
Is that possible?
Of course, I am a living witness; you can burn all those fat with the right eating habit.
How old is the spa?
It is about four years old officially, but before then we were running little portion of the business before expanding.
Describe the sections of the spa?
We have the skincare aspect that includes the facials, body scrubs, waxing and massage. And then the weight loss and nutritional aspect where we consult with women to know what their needs and weight-loss goals are and then we take it up from there. Then we have treatment plans and protocols for her to achieve her desired body. We also have our skincare line, which is organic and natural body products that I make myself and I am happy to do it. For the skincare range we have the black wash, which is the African black soap. We have about four skincare range, which we will gradually expand- we have the Blak Roc deodorant that lasts for about 18 months, the British Cancer Research has endorsed it, because when you use it, it allows your pores to breathe. We have the black castor oil, which is good for people that want to grow their hair; we have the lotion, which has natural food enzymes that exfoliates the skin and moisturises. Our best seller is the Black Wash with honey, Shea butter and avocado. At the spa we have different products for people with stretch marks, who want to hydrate their skin and then want their skin looking brighter.
Why run a women-only spa?
When I was working in the UK, I never liked the idea of working on men, and coming home to Nigeria, for most of my friends, their husbands are very particular about where they go and so I just thought to myself, since this is what I am comfortable doing, I will just continue with it. Because every woman who comes in here is naked and free and that for me is the reason I am sticking to women. We have some Arab women that come here, too, and their husbands are very strict with where they go, sometimes, they call in to know if it is truly a female spa and so they are comfortable. I think all married men are comfortable having their wives here.
What are the advantages of running an all- women Spa? Do women network here? What calibre of women patronise your place?
As an exclusive Spa, our clientele are mostly high-end that love to network with other women. An all-women Spa provides the ideal space for workouts and treatments without the disturbance of being approached or ogled at by men. The Spa is to be treated as a place for doing result-oriented therapies, and not as a dating venue. Most women do not like to mix up the two activities. Husbands, too, are more comfortable and encourage their wives to visit the spa more.
Secondly, when you are not in shape, it is much more embarrassing to do treatments and workouts in the same building with partially naked men. With female-only patrons and therapists, you can do your treatments more comfortably without being self-conscious, and focus on results. Nigeria is an amazing mix of different cultures, and there are women coming from conservative backgrounds. Such women are not free and find it highly inappropriate to be partially naked with men present, and it clashes with their religious beliefs. All-female Spa are specially tailored for a woman’s physique and her specific needs. A woman’s body develops and works, in quite a different way than a male’s one. Only a woman can best understand the problems faced by another woman, whether it is physical or emotional. The women-only Spa provides the best support group you can imagine. You will already be struggling with being out of shape and overweight, and the right support can do wonders to your routines. You immediately start gaining confidence, and know that getting into shape is definitely within your reach. Other members of the Spa would have gone through the same struggles you are facing, and you can always turn to them to clear your doubts and fears.
Has it been a lucrative venture, since you’re limiting yourself to a particular segment of the society?
Yes…we thank God. I would not use the word “limiting” because even with regards to a unisex spa, women clientele are the majority and the most important segment to target.
How does your weight loss system work on women, since you have said that most women do not have the time to follow strict regime?
When a woman comes in here, we check her weight, height and Body Mass Index (BMI), from there I can now calculate what her ideal weight should be. From then we can now talk about how often she can come around and then we can talk about how we can achieve it. Apart from that we also do meal planning; I am an advocate of eating once a day I call it intermittent fasting. As an adult, we don’t need much food unlike children who need it to grow.
What calibre of women do you cater to?
We have the middle and high profile women and it is also responsible for the location we have chosen too, nobody wants everyone to know they were seen entering a spa and out.
Do you have other professionals working with you?
Yes, my manager is trained abroad, too, hence every other staff gets these expertise from us.
How affordable is your spa?
Are you planning to open more branches?
Yes… Abuja is in the works
What is the capacity of your place?
We can treat about six to nine people at a time.
How did you come about the name of your spa?
My mum is Japanese and that influenced the name. I want people to come in and feel comfortable in their skin. There should just ‘Be You’, be confident and happy with you.
Tell us more about your weight loss services?
We have two types of weight loss services we run; the sporadic which helps to firm and break body fat and the Ultra-sound calibration which also breaks body fats internally and your body processes it, that is why we can’t do more than twice a week on that machine. Depending on your body type, in one month some people will have lost about five kilogram.
Kindly give examples of clients with results
We have a client who started with us at a 110kg, she is not yet where she wants to be but currently, she is 95kg and this is two months into the weight loss journey.
You are doing some expansion, what other things are you introducing?
We have just introduced the restaurant; this came about because I saw that healthy living and healthy skin is all about what is inside and a lot of our clients, even when you give them a meal plan to follow, some of them are too busy to stick to it. Not only do we handle weight loss but also for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level. They want to get better but do not know how to go about it and so we decide to help them by showing them what to eat. Aside cooking for them, we sell the ingredients so they can cook them at home, too.
Is it only for your clients or for the general public?
The restaurant is opened to the general public to both male and female but it serves only healthy foods and pure drinks. This idea was born out of years of nutritional consultations, counselling and writing meal plans for my customers. It finally became clear that most of my clientele did not have the time or understand the science of food in order to prepare healthy wholesome meals daily….this gave birth to “Health Bistro” Serving lower-calorie traditional Nigerian food and beverages which is not only good for guests, I believe it’s the right thing to do. It’s good for my soul.
You recently turned 40. How do you feel at this age? How have you been able to maintain your well-toned shape and youthful look?
Indeed…Family and friends insist we are vampires (smile). My husband and I eat only once a day, one healthy meal daily without snacking. We have been eating like this for over 10 years now and we both feel like teenagers.
You job entails helping fellow women to relax and unwind, how do you find time for relaxation too?
I get high in my own supply. I practice all that I teach and regularly join customers in various treatments at the Spa
Tell us about your growing up?
My mum was a health freak, so I grew up doing exercises and it became my passion and since I couldn’t get the certification here, when I got the opportunity to travel in my family, I just went for it.
How about family life?
I have four children. My husband is very supportive and we are into this together, he is also very passionate about health and wellness.
Do you think people are paying attention to their health and wellness?
Currently, I think that there has been a lot of awareness, I don’t think anyone wants to spend the later part of their lives going from one hospital to the other, I think the awareness is getting out there, that what you put in is important.
Why should anyone pay attention to his or her wellness?
At the end of the day you want to live longer and be better in your outlook in life and in your daily life.
What is your fashion sense?
I am very conservative in my dressing.
Who is your style icon?
Michelle Obama- she doesn’t show her body, but there is class in her dressing. Here in Nigeria, it is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Joke Silva.
Being of a mixed-blood, how have you been able to merge the Japanese and Nigerian cultures?
My father is from Ondo and I was born and bred in Nigeria, I only know my Yoruba roots and culture. I speak pidgin and Yoruba fluently, but I do not understand Japanese nor can I speak the language. My mother who is Japanese is very much Nigerian also.
Kindly advice them on how they can look good for the season.
Avoid over-eating; eat only between 12:00pm and 6:00pm. You may drink water, tea or coffee outside the eating window. Start with a broth-based soup, smoothies or salad.
By the time you reach the main course, a few bites will be all you need to feel satisfied.Eat what you love. Instead of piling your plate with things that you don’t really like, pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment.
Avoid treats everyday; keep your treats to one day a week. Alternate alcoholic beverages with sparkling water. Alcohol turns to sugar in the body and will make you fat. Go to social gatherings, work parties and events to socialise (not to eat). Watch out for sneaky sugar, avoid processed foods and sauces. Start the New Year with a good full body detox.