Adriana Vater: A Woman of Substance and Style

Gem Magazine

As co-founder and creative director for Spa Adriana, the award-winning Aveda lifestyle salon and spa in Huntington Village, Adriana Vater has pursued a career that’s become an expression of her love for beauty and a love for others.

She co-founded Spa Adriana with her husband, John, 27 years ago. Today it is a thriving business; named one of the top 200 fastest growing spas and salons in the country by Salon Today magazine. Spa Adriana is one of the icons of Huntington Village that make Main Street so very chic.

Adrianas leveraged that success to support causes that are close to her heart. She’s played a vital role in a “shop locally” initiative for Huntington businesses. Her efforts were honored by Long Island Business News when she was named one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business.

Adriana shares her success wherever she can. She spearheads a global effort on sustainability, speaks to students about environmental responsibility, supports the Hecksher Museum, the Vanderbilt Museum, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and many other causes.

GEM had a chance to sit down with Adriana recently to learn more about what drives her.

How did you get started in the beauty industry?
As a child, growing up in Columbia, one of ten children, I was always creative. I loved dolls and for as far back as I can remember I was cutting and styling my dolls’ hair, crafting styles that were distinctive and interesting. In school I explored my talents for sculpting, drawing and an all-around creativity.

Although I loved art, I felt a strong need to help others. In high school I would give facials to my schoolmates and cut my friends’ hair in my mother’s basement. I always knew I wanted to work with others, but not just on a small scale. I wanted to start a business to help people look and feel good from the inside out.

I was able to channel this drive to heal and nurture others into a successful business with my husband, John. I think loving what you do, and being with people who encourage you to reach for your dreams, is what has fueled my – our – success.

What role did your family play in your success?
I was raised by a mother who was always very interested in health and wellness. This inspired me, and it fostered my own passion for healing others, while making them feel truly beautiful. I had always envisioned running a business in which my whole family could take part. Today I work side-by-side with John. Having the love of your life alongside you, doing what he loves, too, encourages my own creativity. Our staff is family to us as well. I think our clients feel that welcoming spirit.

Where does passion fit in? Is there room for it for women today?
You must make room for your passion. After beauty school I worked in various salons, but I never felt any true sense of fulfillment; consulting and connecting with clients is what I longed for.

I think this is the key to success: find what drives you, do what you love.

As a woman, what barriers have you come across during your professional growth?
The beauty industry is very open on that front. From the standpoint of building a business on Long Island, our passion drives our success – we are passionate about beauty, and about our community and the environment. So as far as barriers go, nothing can withstand our commitment for doing what we feel is right.

What do you do at Fashion Week?
Every season John and I attend Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC. For years we were behind the scenes doing hair and makeup for many of the top designers’ shows and now I’m there in an editorial capacity and John is “front-of-house” in the media risers taking photos of all the runway action. We gather intel for our clients at Spa Adriana and bring back inspiration on the next season’s trends to our creative team at the Spa, keeping an eye on new trends in fashion and beauty.

How have you engaged local businesses?
We believe the success of one business helps ensure the success of all businesses, and the success of the community as a whole. To that end we’ve engaged local businesses through resource sharing, co-branded events and more to encourage guests to shop locally. We need to work together as a whole to keep all of us strong.

Spa Adriana recently underwent its own beauty makeover…
Yes! Spa Adriana has always been an eco-conscious, “green” business. When it was first designed we employed many of the same green building techniques used by the Mayans. For the renovation we took this green consciousness even further, using low-voltage lights, recycled steel and sustainable materials. We transformed the façade to resemble an ancient Mayan temple using man-made cements as architectural stone. Our good friends Dr. Alfonso Moralas, Archeologist and Luis Eschevres, Mayan Architect and Artisan produced wonderful Mayan art replicas.

What one thing do you think young women today need to know?
Be fiercely true to yourself. And in that you must love yourself, honor who you are, do not let anyone stand in your way. It is a commitment to give the world the vibrance that is who you are. Do not settle for anything less!Online version

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