Gretchen Tiernan
& Megan Tiernan

  • Owners

    Sand Spa, Polish by Sand Spa

  • Locations

    3408 & 3219 Highland Ave.,
    Manhattan Beach
    325 & 327 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach
    953 N. Sycamore Ave., Los Angeles

  • Website | Social
    IG: @thesandspa

  • Special Section

    Women of the South Bay

Sand Spa, founded by Gretchen Tiernan and Megan Tiernan in 2014, is a self-care brand composed of three pillars: body, skin and polish. Sand Spa has five brick-and-mortar locations as well as partnerships with several hotels. This one-stop, affordable spa offers highly flexible, customizable treatments and services such as massages, facials, skin care, waxing and nail care. 

What is the best advice you’ve heard?

To never stop growing and learning as a person. The more you learn and grow, the better your life will become. Grow your current professional skill level. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he states that to achieve greatness in an area, you need to spend 10,000 hours of deliberate, focused practice developing your skill in that area. Beyond expertise in work, we emphasize people skills, leadership skills, our attitude and ability to handle difficult situations, creativity and problem-solving skills.

Tell us about a few of your passions.

We are passionate about overall health. Recently we overhauled our diets and have had a lot of fun with that. Gretchen loves to cook, and Megan loves her spin bike! We work out together during the week, and we love our dogs (Shark, Sally and Shrimp).

How do you find time to fit it all in?

We prioritize and plan ahead. We must have a baseline for each day. Things that need immediate attention, things we can delegate and things we can outsource. As business owners, we wear many hats, but we really try to manage our energy. The core problem with working longer hours is that time is a finite resource. Energy is a different story!

Tell us your favorite quote.

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable or find another place to fail.” – Tim S. Grover

How do you balance work and play? 

We are always improving and evolving in this area of our life. We got married last September and decided to fully lean in to that moment. We had been together 10 years, we own businesses together, we survived a global pandemic and one wedding postponement, so we really wanted to enjoy every second of finally getting married and what we have been able to create for ourselves since opening Sand Spa. The vision for our brand is vast, but if our foundation isn’t solid and if we aren’t watering our relationship, how can we expect to add bricks on top of a cracked foundation? 

Being married and also being business partners is not easy. It is a weekly and sometimes daily challenge, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. We’re on the same team, we have the same goals, and this relationship is our springboard for all our big ideas and dreams.

What is the #1 thing you do to ensure your business is successful? 

We have spent more than eight years creating a culture around our clients and their needs. At Sand Spa, it is our privilege to meet client expectations and to strive to go above and beyond for our client base. Clients are the focal point of all decisions related to delivering our products, services and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. Our keys to winning are to treat customers with respect, offer great services and build relationships with them. We have deep roots in the Beach Cities, and serving this community isn’t something we take lightly. We feel very fortunate to have businesses here and very grateful to have had the community support over the years.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay grounded?

Constantly checking in with ourselves and with each other while practicing gratitude. We get to do this life! We are very excited and blessed to be around the people who surround us on a daily basis, and this community has changed our lives. Connecting with this community championed the ways we believe in ourselves. It is important for us to lead from a place where we prioritize mental and emotional health. While advocating for self-care, we are able to have a little fun along the way!

How do you encourage honest, open employee dialogue?

Encouraging honest and open employee dialogue is a part of our culture. We ask employees for their input; we’ve created services and implemented efficient ways to share ideas so that we are evolving too. To take it a step further, we take feedback from clients and are constantly finding ways to improve where we can. Our employees are like family to us. We know their kids and their families, and we do things together.

What strategies can work well to promote inclusion in the workplace?

We celebrate everyone, and we celebrate our differences. Being inclusive is a continuous process for us. We hire people who understand the importance of inclusion and who always keep an open mind. We want everyone to feel comfortable expressing themselves and have a safe space for everyone’s beliefs.

What is the #1 thing you do to ensure your business is successful?

As Tim Grover said in his book Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, “There is no off-season when you’re serious about being a winner.” We show up every single day and do the work. We’ve evolved so much since we were the 23- and 24-year-olds who opened Sand Spa, and we still do the things we did when we started.

Photographed by Create What’s True