Don’t spend all your time trying to figure out how to reach your end goal. Taking it one day at a time and one obstacle at a time will get you to the end goal much faster.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cindy Barshop, Founder of VSPOT.
Cindy Barshop has a history of talking about the things no one else will. Her fearless attitude is what made her a standout on the Bravo TV juggernaut The Real Housewives of New York City, and it’s what made her first endeavor — as founder of the wildly popular national spa chain Completely Bare — so successful.
With Completely Bare, Cindy helped to revolutionize the way women thought — and talked — about personal grooming. Now with VSPOT™, she’s doing the same for women’s sexual satisfaction and health.
A leader in the industry, Cindy has been recognized by leading magazines nationwide and was named of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs” by Goldman Sachs in 2012 — an award presented by former President Bill Clinton.
At home, she’s the single mom of two girls, twins Jesse and Zoe, the next generation of fearless women.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I opened VSPOT, the first women’s sexual health Medi Spa about 4 years ago. My vision was to create a chic, comfortable, safe space where women can openly discuss their most intimate, sexual health issues and be educated with new solutions from a specialized team of female gynecologists. It was the first of its kind, but it wasn’t the first time I had done something considered taboo that involved women’s lady parts. I entered into the women’s intimate grooming space more than 24 years ago when I realized that the money and stability I had from working at IBM could’ve been someone’s dream but it wasn’t mine. I needed to put my all into something that made me feel good about going into work everyday. I felt compelled to use my strengths to help bring confidence to women and fill a void in the women’s health sector.
IBM was my first job out of college and even though it wasn’t my calling, it was during that time that I learned of a new groundbreaking laser technology for hair removal. I had all this untapped creativity ready to be aimed at something I was passionate about and had always struggled with unwanted hair growth. If you don’t have a problem with hair removal it seems irrelevant, but I had unsightly ingrown hairs on my bikini and upper lip. It truly affected my confidence during intimacy and everyday life. I knew I couldn’t be alone. This realization kickstarted my journey as a lifelong entrepreneur. Shortly after, I opened my first Completely Bare location on Madison Avenue.
Leaving IBM was the catalyst that launched my career in women’s intimate health. I became a full time entrepreneur who created Completely Bare Spa — an all-inclusive, safe space where women felt empowered to feel good about themselves and gave women the confidence they needed to feel their best.
Completely Bare was taking off and I needed a platform to take the launching a new product line to the next level. I asked my publicist at the time what the biggest reality tv show was — coincidentally, The Real Housewives of New York were looking for a replacement for Bethany Frankel. Although my stint on the show only lasted a year, it was the best thing I could’ve done for my business.
Completely Bare helped to revolutionize the way women thought and talked about personal grooming. In 2015, I launched VSPOT Medi Spa, a result-oriented Medi Spa that focuses on educating women and helping them reclaim their sexual satisfaction while at the same time correcting the changes that our bodies experience from time and childbirth. I am forcing the conversation about feeling good and having incredible sex again because there is technology out there that works, and we have it at VSPOT.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Honestly, winning an award from Goldman Sachs — I thought it was a mistake! I didn’t believe I could win an award for being one of the Top 100 Builders and Innovators in the country.
The award arrived at the Completely Bare corporate headquarters as any typical letter brochure or promotion did in those days. I pushed it off to the side assuming it was a gimmick. “Goldman sachs is sending me an award… NOT” I thought. Luckily, my assistant at the time had more confidence in me and did her diligence and followed up (which applies to my other lesson later about surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and your vision).
I wound up attending the most incredible, informative and empowering three day event in California. Not only did I hangout with Depok Chopra on the golf course and have breakfast with Malcolm Gladwell, I received advice from CEOs of top companies and was presented with an award by President Bill Clinton. It was the most incredible, educational and life altering experience. I learned lessons about business innovation that I still apply to VSPOT today.
The biggest lesson I learned was to believe in myself, but also to recognize that going against the norm combined with believing in your vision and hard work pays off. I earned my seat at the table.We all have experienced imposter syndrome — but we can’t let it hold us back from reaching our full potential. Believe in yourself, and if you struggle to do so, surround yourself with people that believe in you.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made wasn’t actually at the beginning of my career. It was in the middle, when Completely Bare was in the midst of its sensation. I thought I needed to surround myself and hire people with the most impressive education, titles and resumes to bring my company to the next level — even though some of them went against everything I believed in.
The truth is, I took my eye off the ball and it was detrimental to the business. It’s important to do your due diligence and believe in yourself because no matter their credentials because at the end of the day, it’s your business. You are the one who created it. As successful as Completely Bare was, I lost the company because I trusted the wrong people and did not read my contracts.
I’ve learned my lesson, so when it comes to hiring for VSPOT, before I take anybody on, I ask myself “Does this person embody our mission and will they help bring the best version of VSPOT into the world?”
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am a believer that every person you encounter throughout your life and career are pivotal to your success — the good and the bad — and I am grateful for every person and role they played. Each role, shaped and created VSPOT and without each of them, we may not have been able to create a new genre for women’s sexual health and well being.
After Completely Bare, I was a 50 year old single mother of twins without any idea how I was going to support my family. I was an entrepreneur with a personal mission to help women be more confident — not the typical resume credential. Instead of returning to my traditional IBM roots, I dug deep in my network of health and wellness experts and was thankfully introduced to the president of a national laser company. He pitched a new laser that was coming to the US that was not for anti-aging but for vaginal rejuvination. He told me that 1 in 4 women have urinary leakage after childbirth and how prevalent it was for women to just lose interest in sex after childbirth because it isn’t as satisfying. A light bulb went off in my head, “So it isn’t just me?” This laser wasn’t about the look at all, it was about correcting issues that all women go through from the natural aging process.
He was the spark. The spark that has driven VSPOT to be the top women’s intimate health company. It was one meeting that truly changed the game for me, and for that moment, I am beyond grateful for.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Women continue to suffer in silence from all different things, especially in the world of health. Whether it’s menstruation, urinary leakage or an inability to orgasm, the conversations are limited to behind closed doors. When we talk about intimate health, it’s not just about the physical. How a woman feels about herself and her health are huge determining factors in how she presents herself to the world. It determines how she interacts with people and how she takes care of herself. Self-esteem can skew the level of happiness and comfort she even thinks she deserves and therefore affect how she takes care of herself when it comes to her intimate health and overall wellbeing .
VSPOT is not just about bettering your intimate health so that you can enjoy pleasure. It’s a movement for all women that sheds light on the fact that taking care of ourselves makes us strong. And when we feel strong, we are capable of anything. Getting women to say “I am important too” is the driving force behind all of my ventures involving intimate health.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Since I opened VSPOT, I’ve seen how women feel when they take care of themselves and it has inspired me to take better care of myself. It’s really about doing small things for yourself and adding little tweaks into your schedule to help improve your overall mental health, physical health, and wellbeing. My newest lifestyle tweak right now is making sure I drink one big glass of water and a natural juice first thing in the morning before I touch any coffee.
I’ve recently begun planning out more self-care. In the morning I take five minutes to meditate and think about all the positive things in my life. I have started to prioritize me. Whether it’s making sure I don’t go a day extra with my roots, getting my nails done, or making a dental appointment, I plan something that is going to make me feel better and help me take care of myself.
Because of COVID I haven’t been in the gym, but I make sure I don’t skip a day without at least ten minutes of some type of exercise with my headphones. Ten minutes is better than nothing and it makes all the difference with our energy levels and mental health!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It’s 2020 and the present is female. My goal is for VSPOT to be the movement that bands women together and encourages them to stop suffering in silence. We are half of the world and almost all of us will menstruate, have babies and go through menopause. The inequalities that exist between a man’s right to pleasure and a woman’s are archaic and I’m working with my VSPOT team to dismantle them. What happens to our bodies shouldn’t be a secret and the solutions to the pain we suffer should not be kept under wraps.
It’s important for women to know that there are solutions for them. That is why I launched a line of products clinically proven to help with the natural changes that a woman’s body goes through as we age or have babies.
Our VSPOT Vaginal Restorative Complex is a clinically tested formula that helps with the rejuvenation of the vaginal wall lining and our VSPOT Feminine Serum is a clinically proven serum that increases blood flow to the clitoris by an average 80+%.
Women need to stand strong and talk about these new technological solutions that empower us and give us confidence.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Failing is not defeat, it’s a lesson for your road to success in your next project.
- Hire and believe in people that share your passion and your values because they are the ones that will help you achieve your goals.
- Get a good attorney and a good accountant. Even though you know everything about your business you don’t know everything about the law. Having someone who does and is in your corner is invaluable and not having one will cost you.
- Don’t spend all your time trying to figure out how to reach your end goal. Taking it one day at a time and one obstacle at a time will get you to the end goal much faster.
- Last but definitely not least. Don’t forget about self-care. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do for your business. If your physical or mental health is not where it should be, even if you think you’re doing everything else right your business will suffer.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental Health is everything to me. I’ve personally struggled with mental health in my earlier years. Mental health awareness, compassion and care for children and adults is extremely important to me. I believe you can cure anything with strong mental health, but we need the tools and support to foster that strength. I truly believe in the Law of Attraction, which says that “like attracts like”, and our thoughts create our lives.The Secret” and “The Power,” of your thoughts and feelings have magnetic properties and what you put out in the world with your mind will come back to you.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
You can follow @vspotmedispa and @cindybarshop on Instagram and Facebook.