She created a men’s spa dedicated to the idea of providing a men-centric environment. She produced every touch of her facility, and so far, men love what she’s created.
A longtime entrepreneur, and wife and mother, Platt was able to figure out exactly what men want to provide that to them through her business, offering them a space that caters to their self-care needs.
About Mancave Atlanta
Located in the Lindbergh neighborhood of Atlanta’s Buckhead District, Mancave is an upscale men’s spa that features manicure and pedicure suites, facial and massage suites, a private barber suite, a cigar suite, and a large business and sports suite that can also be utilized as an event space. The facility comes from the vision of owner Darnika “Nika” Platt, who combined the concept of a mancave, the experience of the television show “Cheers” and the idea of self-care for males into a one-stop-shop for Atlanta’s elite gentleman.
What inspired your business to create ManCave Atlanta?
It actually started with trying to get my husband to go get his foot and nails maintenance; it was like pulling teeth! He hated going, especially if it meant him missing his Green Bay game. I started “people watching” while at my spa appointments and watched the uneasiness that come over the men as they walked in. Got me to thinking what if there was a place that felt inviting to men, offered them all their grooming services, all in one place because convenience is key. Besides, sometimes we want to have our alone time so ManCave Atlanta allows men to have their little escape as well.
Did you do any market research on what appeals to men prior to selecting which services would be rendered in the spa?
I did a lot of research. I first started with talking to the men who would frequent the same places that I went to. I wanted to know what they wanted as far as services, atmosphere, aesthetic, and who they wanted to feel. Then I started to canvas places throughout Atlanta that catered to men to see what all did they offer. As I thought there wasn’t any place that comes close to what I was thinking when I decided to create ManCave Atlanta.
I decided to start with barbering, manicures, pedicures, massages, and facial/esthetician services because those are the most common and essential services for men. Men can go anywhere to get a manicure, pedicure, massage, or facial, but most nail salons take on women so there’s the smell of polish and acrylic that men have to deal with. Also, most spas are marketed toward women or don’t have a masculine feel. If a man is getting a manicure or pedicure, he doesn’t want to have to sit next to someone getting a full set. And more importantly, when he gets spa services, he wants to relax and be in a place that he can truly be himself.
My research was more so focused on what men want when it came to the design and feel of the place. I wanted that wow factor from men. And every man who came through my doors was picking his jaw up from the floor before he ever received services, which was what I wanted.
What was the easiest and most difficult part of opening your spa?
Nika: The buildout was the easy part. Everything is exactly the way I wanted it and it’s also exactly what men want. Men walk through my doors shocked at the facility. I like to say that it’s a polished version of what men want, because it’s essentially what men want through a woman’s eyes. I’m very proud of the end result.
The hardest part was sustaining during the COVID-19 pandemic. Things are just now getting better, but at the beginning people weren’t frequently barbershops, hair salons, nail salons, and spas. Even here in Atlanta, while we were more open than most cities, people were still being cautious. The best we can do is constantly sanitize, provide hand sanitize, require masks, and hope that our efforts to keep everyone healthy while allowing them to relax make our customers comfortable with coming in for services.
What services are offered at ManCave Atlanta?
ManCave Atlanta offers facials, manicures, pedicures, full-body massages, barbering and waxing.
Did owning a tax business help you understand business, funding, and finances needed to open your establishment?
It definitely helped a lot when it came to funding but since ManCave Atlanta was a new concept nothing could truly prepare me for this. ManCave Atlanta was a whole separate learning experience. I was raised around entrepreneurs, and I’ve been doing taxes since I was in high school. However, I never had to deal with building out a facility, getting approvals and licenses from the city, and working with different wellness and grooming professionals. The process of making ManCave Atlanta operation was definitely an experience that took being a business owner to the next level for me.
How do you plan to set yourself apart from other male spas in Atlanta?
I’ve already set it apart by giving it more of a speakeasy feel than just a regular spa. Also, the location was key. We’re in the middle of the most luxurious part of Atlanta, but we’re also tucked away, allowing our clientele to feel more exclusive. We’ve also had a lot of celebrities visit our facility and they love the fact that we’re hidden in plain sight because it allows them to get their services privately and truly relax. We provide that level of service for all of our clients.
Why did you select the Lindbergh area for your location?
The location was too good to pass up. We’re in the most luxurious part of Atlanta, but also we’re hidden in plain sight. My facility is 5,000 square feet but you wouldn’t know if just by looking at the outside. Before you walk through my doors you have no idea what’s on the other side. But once you walk in you’re instantly impressed.
Also, the demographic is in my favor. This area has a lot of professional people who either already partake in the type of services that we offer or need a place to relax. It’s so easy to stop by ManCave Atlanta right after work, before lunch or dinner, or on your way to a special event.
Where do you see ManCave Atlanta being in 5+ years?
The plan is to have 7-10 new locations in the next 5 years.
What goals have you set for your business?
We are adding our kitchen so we can offer delicious fresh food to our guests
How does it feel to own a male catered to business as a woman?
It feels pretty cool, the thing is women actually understand what men want more than men think.
Featured Image provided by Nika Platt