Recently Shari Puterman with the Daily Advertiser wrote an exclusive piece on our owner Brittani Pitre with O2 Face and Body Spa. Here is her exclusive piece. Brittani Pitre, 34, owner of O2 Face and Body Spa is in the business of finding balance.
As a working mother of two, finding time to decompress and "unplug" isn't always easy - but that's why she's dedicated her day job to helping others do just that.
In 2002, the Shreveport native headed south to Baton Rouge, where she attended LSU and earned a marketing degree.
After that, she moved to Lafayette - and it was love at first sight.
"It was definitely the culture that drew me in," she says. "There is so much flavor here, and it makes Lafayette such a special place. I could see that early on with my business and the support I got."
to help clients slow down, feel peaceful and take some time for themselves amidst life's chaos.
Although she's just 34, Brittani's road to business ownership has been a long time in the making.
"Ever since I was young," she says, "I've always loved beauty. I always used lotions and potions and everything I could get my hands on. I knew that beauty was going to be the route I wanted to take, and it all just fell into place."
Brittani points to her mentor, Josette Hargett, as one of the driving forces of her success.
"She encouraged me to use my degree and aesthetician license to start my own business. I lived with her while I was going to (aesthetician) school and waiting tables at Charley G's," Brittani says. "She was so supportive."
In 2008, Brittani started O2 out of her home.
"I started with hyperbaric oxygen facials, which were basically unheard of down here," she explains. "That's what my business was going to be centered around. I wanted an uplifting, airy, light feel - like a symbol of what I stood for. Uplifting in the way you feel when you walk in ... and I wanted myself and my employees to have that softer air about them, so you can carry that out the door with you when you leave."
Stepping outside her comfort zone
As the business grew, Brittani says there were lots of "angels along the way" that helped bring her vision to life.
"I had a woman who drove all the way from Cut Off to get my facials," she recalls. "She saw what I had in me, brought me to dinner and said, 'I want to help bring your business to the next level.' "
Thanks to an interest-free loan from that woman, Brittani moved the business from her home into the Oil Center. She bought some new equipment, ran an ad campaign - and had 250 people sign up for facials within hours.
Shortly thereafter, she hired someone to help meet client demands - but it wasn't easy for her to step outside her comfort zone.
"I am such a baby-stepper," Brittani explains. "I never wanted to bite off more than I could chew. I knew my break-even point every day - that's where I needed to be, and anything else was just extra.
In 2012, she expanded her services to include what she calls the "big kicker" - eye-lash extensions, a new trend that just started making its way to the Lafayette area.
"That was a game changer," Brittani says. "I was in a wedding six years ago, and I got them done in Shreveport. I got so many compliments, and I said, 'We gotta learn how to do this.' "
Brittani and her staff went for training, and almost immediately, the community fell in love with this new "addition" to the O2 menu of services. Business picked up, and in 2014, it was time for another move. Brittani found a new space in River Ranch - and she's been there ever since.
(before and after pictures of actual O2 Face and Body clients)
Throughout the past several years, she has prided her business on forming personal relationships with clients and making them feel beautiful on a level that's beyond skin-deep.
"I think it's so important," Brittani says of making self-care a priority. "We definitely give ourselves to our work environment, our kids, our spouses. "A lot of women don't take that little bit of time to give themselves that boost ... and you get into a situation where you feel drained. Women who have gone through divorce, financial struggles, loss, things in the oil field ... they still come in, and it gives them that little bit of happiness."
Brittani, who has two young children with her husband, Jean, gives lots of credit to God in helping her down this path of empowering other women.
"It's amazing who he's brought into my life," she says. "My husband has been wonderful, and so completely supportive. I absolutely couldn't have done this without him, and the incredible family and friends I have been blessed with. These women who have supported me. And my team, they have enabled me to take maternity leaves and spend time with my kids when they were first born ... there were days I thought, 'They are doing better with me gone than when I am there.' I could take a step back because of my team - it was a dream."
Brittani hopes that her journey will inspire others - specifically, her own children - to step outside their comfort zones.
"It was hard for me to leave my daughter (who was born in 2015)," she explains. "But being a stay-at-home mom was not for me. You don't have to choose a career or being a mom. You can have both. I think, for women, it's really a struggle - finding that balance of what works for you. I started this when I was 25, and it's like, why not? Why do you have to wait to start your dream?"
In a world where everything is about convenience, Brittani loves offering a service with what she calls the "person-to-person experience."
"It's one of the few times where you can close your eyes and shut out the world, too," she says. "It forces you to unplug and be present. What I do is about making people feel better, but the strong relationships that are built are just amazing."
Brittani helps people open their eyes, so to speak, in order to see the bigger picture - and her efforts to focus on the beautiful side of life are most certainly paying off. To see the full story from the Daily Advertiser click here: https://www.theadvertiser.com/story/life/empowerment/2018/04/23/lsu-grads-business-forces-people-unplug/363597002/