CEO, SPA SYDELL
CHARITY OF CHOICE: Camp Sunshine
Written by Heather KW Brown
Reina Bermudez tells the best stories. Much like her, they are energetic, full of humor and insightful. As a teenager, she recruited a gaggle of girlfriends to help sell Avon products. All was going splendidly until someone robbed her locker. When she told her dad she needed money to pay back Avon, he said, “Part of having your own business is figuring out how to pay back business losses.”
What would have been a setback for anyone else simply proved to be an early business lesson for Bermudez, now CEO of Spa Sydell. Bermudez and her family emigrated from Cuba to Miami when she was 4 years old. “My parents were very resourceful people. They pushed forward regardless of the situation and figured a way out,” she said.
That determination combined with an uncanny business sense have served her well ever since. From a management position at the Federal Reserve where she met her husband of 22 years, Bermudez spent years starting and stopping her working life in order to raise their seven children, aged 17 to 27.
“I didn’t realize I was good at business … I just did what I did — I wouldn’t take no for an answer,” she said.
Bermudez saw great opportunity rather than imminent demise when Spa Sydell faced bankruptcy. She promised the company’s employees they would not close down, and that failure was not an option.
“If you believe in something, you keep on going,” Bermudez said. “No doesn’t really mean ‘no’ in business; it just means ‘more.’ As in I need more time; I need more information.”
Spa Sydell emerged from Chapter 11 and, with Bermudez leading the charge, repositioned itself as an expert in the spa industry.
In addition to other charities, community-minded Bermudez also supports Camp Sunshine, an orphanage in Peru and MUST Ministries.
Bermudez is wearing Ming Wang embellished stitch print scarf collar jacket in almond/coffee with coffee “Tess” tank and coffee “Sydney” pencil skirt; Shane Co. sterling silver tri-color necklace, pink, yellow and white sterling silver mesh bracelets, 14k white and yellow gold tennis bracelets, and 14k gold hoop earrings.