“We knew that we wanted to be in the south suburban Denver area,” says Oakwell Beer Spa co-founder Jessica French. While most small businesses leverage hard work and a focus on the day-to-day operations to make up for the unattainable analytics that large corporations utilize, French and her husband, Damien Zouaoui, have it both ways.
“Our data analysis includes heat maps, zip codes, demographics — it’s high-tech,” French notes. The team can not only breakdown where a customer is coming from, but they can see how long they spend at the spa, as well as what types of beverages they’re drinking. This allows them to identify consumer patterns and helps tailor the experience for each customer — an important touch for a spa setting.
Those analytics helped determine that outside of RiNo, where the business originally debuted as the Beer Spa in 2021, Oakwell’s second-largest customer base was coming from the south suburbs, allowing the team to focus its search on that area with confidence that the customers will be there.
The Highlands Ranch outpost is expected to open in the fall of 2024. “The drive [to RiNo] is far for customers in Highlands Ranch,” says French. “With work-from-home being such a popular habit, our customers are telling us that they’re not coming downtown as much, that they’d enjoy the spa more frequently if it were closer to home.”
The second location will feature four spa rooms, and will be a model for Oakwell launching a full franchise program in 2024. French and Zouaoui decided to change the name to Oakwell to better show the ethos of the company. “We wanted something that differentiates us,” says French, “that allows us to build a strong brand.”
Oakwell is also expanding its beer-infused cosmetics line. “It used to be in-house — customers would buy our beer and body lines while at the spa,” says French. Now a new website for Oakwell Cosmetics has launched, and it aims to be a national, standalone brand.
At the upcoming Highlands Ranch location, there will be ten taps for beer. Half of the taps are dedicated to a brewery of the month. “The number-one thing we look for in our brewery of the month partners is that they are local,” says French. “There are over 400 breweries in this state; there is no need to go outside of Colorado.”
Variety is also key. “We look for something lighter, something fruitier, one or two IPAs, a sour beer, and something darker like a porter or a stout, especially for the winter,” she adds.
The other five taps are dedicated to other local breweries, and include the house beer, one that Oakwell has partnered with Spice Trade Brewing to create. “It’s a cucumber gose,” says French, adding that the beer is the perfect complement to the spa.
One new addition to the Highlands Ranch location that isn’t present in RiNo is a patio. That wasn’t on the must-have list, but the location that French and Zouaoui found just happened to have outdoor seating. While the RiNo location has seating for about fifteen patrons, Highlands Ranch will have space for twenty-five inside and another twenty outside. “We are hoping to increase our walk-in and taproom traffic,” French says.
With this second location, franchising and the cosmetics line all developing throughout the next year, Oakwell is poised for substantial growth. French and Zouaoui, however, understand that the value in the experience is that the customer comes first. “We really strive to give the best relaxation, to be unique and innovative,” says Zouaoui.
Oakwell Beer Spa RiNo is located at 3004 Downing Street. The Highlands Ranch location will be located at 6660 Timberline Road. For more information, visit oakwell.com.