As we make our way back to the hustle and bustle of in-person events and returning to the office, the search for ways to relieve stress is in full swing — and what better way to find a little comfort and TLC than through some of the fantastic local businesses that give our city its unique character? From a community bathhouse to a luxury concierge service, these three women-owned businesses are giving us a good excuse to feel pampered!
3 Women-Owned Businesses That Make Our Lives Stress-Free
Host & Toast Luxury Concierge
Anne Elizabeth McIntosh left her corporate career behind in February 2020 to search for a job to align with her long-term goals. Even though the pandemic presented a hiccup in the process, one thing is clear: Anne Elizabeth has finally found her niche in the form of Host and Toast Luxury Concierge. “I’ve been in hospitality and entertainment in various forms and fashions for a lot of my career,” says Anne Elizabeth, “so during the pandemic, I found some creative ways to do that.” Creative is an understatement.
With the birth of Host and Toast, Anne Elizabeth is taking Southern hospitality to the next level with a service that delivers everything from simple charcuterie platters to grandiose spreads and even tackles event details. Talk about taking the stress out of planning! “The ultimate premise behind the company is luxury concierge services in the hospitality space,” she explains. “So, it’s anything that helps visitors or locals have a better experience when they’re taking a trip to Nashville or hosting an event — everything from stocking the fridge to making sure that the mimosa bar is set up perfectly when someone comes down to breakfast.”
Are you craving Nashville’s most beloved chicken and biscuits? Would you like to host an intimate songwriters’ night? Those are requests Anne Elizabeth is happy to fulfill. “I’ve done everything from assisting with 50th birthday parties to [designing] private in-home wine pairings and cheese tastings,” says Anne Elizabeth. “It’s a little bit of everything, but it’s all in the hospitality space to make entertaining and experiencing Nashville as easy as possible.”
Personal touches are the name of the game, and Anne Elizabeth certainly knows how to create a memorable experience. “One of the things that I try to do for all my clients is to bring in the touches that only someone who has lived in Nashville all of her life and really experienced it can bring.” Even better, she’s a huge proponent of leaning on her fellow local mom-and-pop businesses. “My biggest goal is to support and partner with other local small businesses and entrepreneurs — especially women, when possible,” says Anne Elizabeth. “For example, if I’m doing cheese and charcuterie, I make sure that I’m working with The Bloomy Rind versus going to Trader Joe’s because Kathleen is a cheesemonger.”
You’ll also find Anne Elizabeth hitting up local farmers’ markets for produce, fruits, and vegetables, and she’s quick to offer the history behind some of her favorite local recommendations such as Big Al’s Deli or Prince’s Hot Chicken. “That’s important to me because my family is a fourth-generation native-Nashvillian family,” she says. “When people talk about going to Fifth + Broad, I can say that my father and grandfather actually helped build the convention center that used to be in its place. It’s really special to be able to share that with people.”
Holiday Salon + Bathhouse
Officially open since July 1, 2020, the Holiday Salon + Bathhouse might be East Nashville’s best-kept secret. Located inside of a renovated, century-old factory where Douglas Avenue and Ellington Parkway intersect, this enchanting oasis is the escape you didn’t know you needed. “We’re still kind of this little hidden secret in East Nashville — especially in the building that we’re in,” says Mel Geer, who owns the bathhouse and six-chair hair salon. “It’s a beautiful, 100-year-old space, so the brickwork and ceilings are incredible!” Beyond its aesthetic beauty, the facility offers an opportunity to experience a relatively new concept in Music City — communal baths. With the summer heat settling into Nashville, you might question whether a hot tub or sauna is the place to be, but Mel says it’s the perfect remedy for whatever ails you. “It’s so good for you year-round,” she says. “Your skin is glowing, you’re detoxifying, you’re swimming … It becomes part of your year-round health and wellness.”
Originally from Tennessee, Mel grew up in Oregon, where bathhouses are more common. “Bathhouses are a thing out there,” she tells us. “Instead of going to a bar or brunch, that’s where my girlfriends and I got together to catch up.” And while many West Coast iterations may be communal, co-ed, and clothing-optional, Holiday is somewhat of an anomaly. Bathing suits are required, and while she intends to return to communal baths eventually, COVID has caused Mel to switch gears, at least temporarily. “We were supposed to be more communal, but due to COVID, we started doing private parties,” she continues. “The original plan was to have women-only, men-only, and co-ed times so that people can go at their comfort level.” Now that local restrictions are lifting, Mel is considering moving forward with opening communal bath times. “We’re still offering private parties, but we have a lot of people asking about communal baths — that way, you can pop in and have an experience without having to get a group together to make it worth the money.”
If you still need convincing, the traditional dry cedar sauna with a Himalayan salt wall is a huge draw if you’re looking to detoxify. Not to mention, guests can order from the exclusive spa menu with light fare from nearby Cafe Roze — everything from a mimosa package to a spa salad. Cafe Roze owner Julia Jaksic couldn’t be more pleased to be a part of the collaboration. “I was initially beyond excited and completely overjoyed with the idea of having a bathhouse here in Nashville,” says Julia. “Secondly, I was secretly hoping I might get a chance to create a menu for the experience!”
Fortunately for the rest of us, it all came together. Julia opted for plant-based foods, including a few fan-favorites from Cafe Roze, such as the Roze Bowl and avocado hummus. “I thought of items that could sit out while you’re going from the eucalyptus steam room to the cold plunge [shower] to the hot tub and still be delicious,” says Julia. “Overall, I wanted light, fresh, not-too-fussy dishes — really good, nourishing food you can put in your body while you’re sweating out the toxins and truly treating yourself to self-care.” Did we mention you can also order a cocktail? Where do we sign up?
Sarah Scarborough opened Tea Huntress in 2018 to merge the artful practices of tea and yoga. If you’re craving some calm and peace of mind, she’s got you covered. “Having worked in sustainable tea and yoga for over 20 years,” she says, “I began to see how the two were one and the same.” She grew up splitting time between Music City and her family’s summer house in Finland, where she experienced bathing in the sauna, swimming in the lake, and foraging for dinner. “It sparked a desire in me to live close to the land, which led me to work with plants and eventually tea,” she tells us. “I like to say that tea has been leading the way ever since.”
Studying tea ceremonies in Morocco and Taiwan, she began introducing the sacred rituals into local yoga retreats and classes once she returned, and the rest is history. These days, Sarah offers seasonal subscriptions, and members can look forward to everything from curated teas to candles and bath salts. She also offers private events, experiences, workshops, retreat discounts, and scheduled and private classes on the art and rituals of tea.
The evolution of Tea Huntress happened organically, and Sarah built an audience of fans who can’t get enough of her practices. Not to mention, the pandemic has led more Nashvillians to seek out new ways to achieve serenity. “Now more than ever, it’s so important for us to connect back to what is wild,” she says, “and to remember how to heal ourselves with plants and live in harmony with the earth.”
If there’s anything Sarah knows, it’s how to achieve a sense of tranquility. “Create space. Set an intention. Sip in silence,” offers Sarah. “Maybe light a candle or some incense or play one of my playlists (available on Spotify under Tea Huntress). Tea is subtle, but she is so powerful. If you create space, she will change your life.”
Cheers to a stress-free summer!
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