If someone came to you and said that you could drop inches of fat within minutes, you would probably be skeptical. Stephanie Barnes certainly wasn’t buying the idea of non-surgical liposuction when it was brought to her by best friend and business partner Morria Winn.
“I didn’t think that it was real,” she tells ESSENCE. “I didn’t think that you could change your life in a matter of weeks using this service.”
Winn saw the services on social media and was interested in trying them after seeing before and after photos. But such methods of weight loss, which require multiple sessions, weren’t available in their hometown of Philadelphia. The closest offerings were in Atlanta.
“The light bulb just went off in my head, like wait a minute, we can bring this to Philadelphia,” she says. “There’s no one even in New Jersey or New York that’s doing this.”
She had to sell Barnes on the idea, though.
“I brought the idea to Steph and she’s like, ‘I don’t believe this,'” Winn says. “And so we did our research. It’s very real. And with consistency, you don’t need surgery. You really don’t.”
“We took a training and then that’s when I started to get the buy-in,” Barnes adds. “Once we started to really dig in and see how it could be done and the science behind how to actually perform the services, once we got that, I was sold.”
In 2017, the friends opened Contour Body Studio in Philadelphia. It’s classified as a day spa, but the business partners call their studio a wellness center. Contour specializes in non-invasive body contouring procedures along with regular aesthetics like facials, massages and more. The least expensive service is the foot detox (around $35 a session) while the most costly is vaginal rejuvenation (at $1,500 a session). Their most popular services are the ones centered around fat and cellulite loss.
“It’s a miracle but it’s not a miracle,” Winn says of the services, which are done in multiple sessions. “We do cavitation, which is a device that we use that utilizes ultrasound waves, similar to when people get an ultrasound done. But the frequency of the ultrasound wave is stronger and it basically breaks down fat cells. So in one 45-minute treatment, you can lose up to four to six inches because those fat cells are being permanently destroyed by this machine.”
There’s also a popular fat loss shot, which doesn’t require a needle, but instead, uses a pressurized device to shoot serums through the client’s pores. The treatment most in demand presently is their version of a BBL (Brazilian butt lift). It’s an hour-long service that, with the help of vacuum therapy cups, provides permanent results over multiple sessions.
“We place these cups on the buttocks for about 45 minutes to an hour. But we’re doing other things as well. We’re prepping the glutes for the service so we may put the EMS machine on the client, which stimulates muscle production. We may use some different creams and serums to firm up the glutes as well. And we also do a hand massage just to warm up the tissues, mold them and put them into place before we put the cups on the buttocks,” Barnes says. “It’s one of our best services, a lot of ladies like it and it brings confidence back.”
But before you assume that Contour Body Studio’s services are all you need to have and keep the body you’ve always wanted without surgery, the owners say there’s more to it.
“We have a lot of clients that come weekly or biweekly, but again, with everything you have to be consistent and you have to do your part as well,” Winn says. “You still have to watch what you eat. And that is still very important. And you still have to drink water. Water is key.”
Whatever piques your interest on their roster, at the wellness center, there’s no knives, no needles, but there are many ways to see results.
“We use ice therapy. We have a machine that actually drops to sub-temperatures and it freezes your fat cells and destroys them,” Winn says. “We, again, use heat, which is the radio frequency that produces collagen through your body, makes your body stimulate collagen and tightens and tones you. We use ultrasound waves. We use the high pressure device. So when a client comes in, they have a range of options. We can use ice therapy. We can use Cryoskin. We can use frequency. So the options are endless.”
And it seems, so are the clients. Barnes and Winn say that they’ve done very well amid the pandemic, as people put on weight during quarantine and flocked to them for a faster way to help deal with it. The success has allowed them to create more Contour Body Studios, including outside of Philly, and to hire a medical director to make their original location a full-fledged medical spa.
In a time when cosmetic surgery has become more popular than ever, Barnes and Winn are glad to be bringing more options to women to help them feel their best, and hope to do so nationwide.
“We’re in the process of franchising right now,” Winn says of their business’ growth. “We’re opening up another branch on the Main Line in Philadelphia and we’re opening another one in Atlantic City in December. In 10 years, hopefully, we’ll have Contours in every state.”