Thirteen years ago, Joanna Czech left her celebrity-favorite spa in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood before moving to Dallas for love. When she decided to return to New York, in 2019, she initially thought the 400-square-foot penthouse space at The Webster would suffice. “If people even remember me,” she thought at the time, “one room will be enough.” It wasn’t. The current wait for an appointment with the Polish-born super-facialist is six months.
To be fair, Czech never really stopped coming to the city, even once she opened her eponymous flagship studio in Texas. “I would ship my machines from Dallas every month,” recalls the petite blonde, who follows her devices. In New York, she would see regulars including model Amber Valletta and Oscar de La Renta designer Laura Kim; in Los Angeles, she would make house calls chez Kardashian. Czech estimates that she flew 30,000 miles in the month leading up to the pandemic alone. So when lockdown forced her to stand still, giving her time to rethink her business, Czech had a realization: She needed a bigger space—and better products to travel with.
“My clients travel nonstop. It’s ‘We are going to Colorado and then Cabo,’ or ‘We are climbing Everest, then going to India.’ So I was thinking about something that helps between climates, too,” Czech says of her debut product collection, The Kit. The seven-piece range draws from Czech’s experience studying chemistry and arrives in a metallic navy pouch with a seat-belt clasp. (The idea was “Prada nylon,” Czech reveals of the design, “but it ended up being more like a Moncler jacket!”) Facial wipes and a bio-cellulose hydrating mask—in-flight essentials—are joined by a pH-controlling toner; two serums, one to soothe with hyaluronic acid, the other to brighten with stabilized vitamin C; and two moisturizers, a water-based cream and a cocooning balm.
Beginning this month, The Kit will appear in the retail space at Czech’s new 2,300-foot SoHo studio, where she will also curate fashion and lifestyle items while offering her signature treatments against a backdrop of decorative molding and custom millwork. “I hate going to ugly spas,” jokes de la Renta’s Kim, who has collaborated with Czech on custom cashmere socks and blankets, which will be featured along with elevated basics from brands such as James Perse and Phillip Lim. Other highlights include a collagen-and-elastin-boosting LED light bed that Czech calls “a piece of art.”
“At first I was having nervous breakdowns because no one was traveling,” the 57-year-old says of the precarious timing around both the studio opening and the products’ launch. But the formulas are just as good at home as they are on the go. “Everything she recommends always works. She just knows my skin—she knows everyone’s skin,” says Kim Kardashian, offering an endorsement that will likely add at least a few months to that wait list.