Monthly Archives: June 2016

  1. How to Differentiate Your Spa from the Competition

    How to Differentiate Your Spa from the Competition
    Courtesy of Karen Raasch from Continuum Pedicure Spas Coming into the spa industry as a business owner can have its challenges. First there is the need to have a business strategy. Are you offering something distinguished from competitors? What sets your salon and spa apart from others? Then there is the need to keep up with evolving spa trends. New product lines, services and techniques are dime a dozen. How will you integrate fashion fads into your business without veering from your vision and mission? Ask yourself questions like these when learning how to differentiate your business. 1. Do you understand your spa’s identity? From décor to product lines and services, your spa has strengths that are unique to your business. Consider the specialties of your staff compared to other establishments in the area. What do you do well and differently? What are your specialties? Promote and master this niche first before expanding upon your skills and services. 2. Do you know your spa’s story? Practice telling the story of how your spa came to be and why it is special, in a concise and engaging way. Share your long term vision for the spa in the community. Will you partner with health practitioners, nutritionists or a non-profit organization? Also provide information about the origins of your treatments and the products you use—especially if they are local. If your salon has salon equipment and products that are Eco-Friendly, point out that your salon practices are saving resources as noted by your selection of products and equipment. 3. Have you identified your market? Every spa attracts a different kind of customer. Who is your targeted client? A successful spa will not only meet its customers’ needs but also exceed them and provide an experience they cannot receive elsewhere. Design your décor, service menu, retail offerings and environment accordingly. 4. Are you on the Internet? Creating a brand presence online can build your customer base with social media and connect you with your customer. You can also notice how competitors are engaging with audiences and take note of their online specials. 5. Are you consistent to your vision? As previously mentioned, spa trends are always evolving. Be weary of implementing something new just because it’s new. Explore trends first before incorporating them into your business model. First and foremost, stay true to your business’s vision and theme. That being said, you don’t want to be caught as the only salon without shellac polish or nail stilettos. By constantly defining and refining your business, you will stay fresh and relevant in the community. Of course, always be authentic and qualified to offer what you advertise. Only promise what you can deliver, be it discount packages, free snacks and drinks, a bridal pedicure party discount or other specials. Promise less, provide more.
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  2. How to Choose the Right Massage Table

    How to Choose the Right Massage Table
    Designed for Success! Every decision made in your Spa is intended to create success: profitability and competitiveness for the spa, great experiences for your clients, sustainability for the spa, your staff and our planet. Successful decisions take the breadth of your experience combined with the experience of many others. Your equipment manufacturers can and should be an important part of your team. The first step is to choose the right manufacturer, one with a solid reputation and experience in designing and building products for spas. One whose product engineering ensures longevity, ease of repair, ergonomics and client comfort will serve you best. The initial purchase price may be higher, but their success is proof of long term value and return on investment. Look for companies that have won awards in the market place and can provide references from other successful spas. Don't forget to look for the company's commitment to the environment. Do they offer FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) products, CFC free foams, non-vinyl upholstery fabrics? Companies committed to doing their best most likely produce the greenest products: products that are designed to last. When you are making such a purchase, you’ll want one that satisfies all of the needs of the people who experience it: client, therapist, spa owner, and even the maintenance team. Let’s consider the priorities and all the points of view. The client is the center of all things, your major focus. Comfort is paramount, safety in mounting and dismounting the table, sense of security, serene and harmonious service, and appealing aesthetics are the major concerns. Great padding ensures both comfort for the client and good access for the therapist. This is starting to change, with 4" and even 6" high quality padding options available. The thickness itself is only one criterion. Is it supportive and resilient enough to eliminate pressure on sensitive breasts and bony areas? Does it hinder or aid the therapist’s work under the client’s back? Is it durable? Good quality padding is expensive, but it is an investment with great rewards. Look for longer guarantees on foam and fabric that support quality claims. High-density polyurethane foam that is California 117 certified, CFC-free is the best choice for longevity, comfort, accessibility and ecological responsibility. Sinus pressure and congestion can ruin an otherwise great experience, so the face rest is very important. Memory foam has its place in this application, and more advanced systems that incorporate water spheres inside of the foam to disperse the pressure have emerged. Platforms that can be widely adjusted to accommodate all the shapes clients come in can go a long way to alleviate discomfort. Good therapists make the difference between a successful spa with loyal, repeat customers and one that is constantly rebuilding its customer base. Therapists have a physically challenging job. An electric lift table allows therapists of different sizes to walk into any room and quickly adjust it for their height and style of work to ensure good ergonomics, essential for workplace safety and productivity. Allowing change in height during the session enables the therapist to sit, stand, and apply appropriate pressure for any size client without strain. The on-command height adjustments also allow customization of treatments based on client expectations and feedback during a session. A relaxation massage can become a cranio-sacral session or a deep tissue massage with ease. An electric lift table also allows each client to get on and off the table safely. The size of the table from every point of view is also important. As all of us know, good ergonomics require a minimum of twisting and reaching when exerting force, and the wider the table, the more a therapist has to strain. Generally any table over 29" wide is going to create challenges for some of your shorter therapists. An electric lift table with on-command height changes helps. With this feature, most therapists can work safely on 31" wide tables, which happen to be a size that 90% of clients find comfortable. Wider tables might be more comfortable for large clients and 32" and even 33" wide tables are available but not recommended. For larger clients the use of armrests and table length extenders is the best solution. The length is not as important, and 72" long is both typical and functional. The therapists will likely need ready access to hot towels, hot stones, and positioning devices such as bolsters and the most beautiful tables have convenient, well-designed cabinets. For small rooms this is a great feature. However, some items would be better located in either a trolley or a built-in cabinet system. The goal: convenience for the therapist and a great aesthetic statement to the client. While taking care of the client is key to any decision, ensuring that both clients and staff are satisfied ultimately delivers bottom line profitability. Initial cash outlay and cost per session are big drivers in the decision process also. The old adage still holds true, you usually get what you pay for. Better equipment may cost more money, but it delivers a lower cost per session and higher customer satisfaction leading to higher volumes of business. Some quick math: If you buy a table that costs $4,000 and it lasts 10 years, with an average of 3 treatments a day x 365 days a year, it will cost about 50 cents per treatment including maintenance. Obviously, higher utilization of your rooms is common and this is very conservative analysis. Flexibility and versatility are key in optimizing room use to insure profitability. Therefore, it makes sense that products designed to do a wide range of services are best, as long as they don't compromise on the core purpose. For this reason getting a table that has a salon or "flex" top ensures that the room can be used for many types of treatments. Wheels are also a good idea, allowing easy movement of the table within the room to accommodate facial or other equipment or to even move the table to another location. Electric lift tables ensure that every therapist can work more comfortably and this really helps keep turnover down. The ultimate in flexibility is found in a table that features a concealed, but fully-plumbed, jetted foot bath with drain that can function as a massage table or multifunction salon top for every conceivable treatment. When the cost of real estate is taken into consideration, these ultra-flexible models allow spas to handle more treatments in a smaller footprint at a lower total cost. The best companies deliver on their brand promise. A company that has designed a high quality product typically is one where customer service is not a big cost to them and therefore the service level you receive will be high. The table will be designed to have parts easily replaced, easily serviced, with quick response. Otherwise, the cost of repair can run into big money, both in actual cost and in time lost. Last, but not least, is aesthetics. For a high-end spa where finishes cost a bundle and are key to your brand, it is important that the look of the equipment match your decor. Some companies go beyond just offering a selection of looks and finishes, and offer a level of customization that includes matching stains and even wood and trim elements. That being said, customizing should only be considered when you are sure that your idea will work and the manufacturer can effectively implement it. Be prepared to find out that your idea is either not cost effective or not really workable. Perhaps a combination of elements already offered by the company might meet your needs just as well. If at all possible, experiencing the product before purchase is the best, and these days that likely means attending a major trade show or finding an experienced and reliable dealer who has product available at a show room. The goal is to design for success, so always keep all the people involved in the use of the product in mind and choose a company that can guide you to a product that will help you be successful. The manufacturer’s success is contingent on your success.
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  3. Opening a Medi-Spa: Furniture & Equipment Make the Difference  

    Opening a Medi-Spa: Furniture & Equipment Make the Difference  
    Medical Spas are an appealing way for physicians to expand their medical practices while increasing private pay revenue. According to Spa Finders, Inc., the first medical spa opened in a hospital in 2000 and there are now over 600 of them in this country. Medical spas are said to be the fastest growing segment in the industry, according to the International Spa Association (ISPA). The International Medical Spa Society says that people spend an average of $720 per visit to a Medical Spa versus $150 spent by those who visit a traditional day spa. Many Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeons, Dermatologists and even OB/GYN physicians have begun adding Medical Spa services to their repertoire because these services are the perfect complement to the care delivered in their primary practices. They also help grow sources of revenue from both existing patients, as well as new clients who may also become patients. The key in a Medical Spa is that the experience is not just about clinical expertise. Luxury plays a very important role. When someone visits a Medical Spa for an extravagant treatment, they want– and will pay for – a luxurious experience that meets their expectations. This means that their surroundings and, in particular, the equipment on which they are positioned must convey a sense of luxury. Equipment tends to be sparse and clinical in appearance. A visit to a Medical Spa must be Luxurious in every way… from furniture and equipment, to a décor that is both soothing and opulent, to the staff who will assure the client an unforgettable experience. Selecting the right positioning equipment, like tables and chairs, is far more than an economic decision. Making the right choices will have a positive effect on both your medical Spa’s efficiency and esthetics, which will result in a growing and highly profitable clientele. Here are some factors to keep in mind before making your investment: Is it versatile? Your equipment should work for you in more ways than one. If it can be configured for a variety of procedures, this will help streamline client and staff flow through your Medical Spa, thus maximizing the use of space. Versatile equipment ensures that any treatment can be done in any room, which leads to enhanced revenue generation. Equipment with pre-set hand controls will ensure consistently correct client positioning while reducing set-up time (which your therapists will love you for!) Does it say “Luxury?” The success of the clinical procedures combined with the overall “spa factor” of the experience will keep your clients coming back for more. Choosing comfortable, luxurious equipment that inspires a sense of pampering and serenity is a key factor in creating the kind of welcoming environment clients expect. Is it ergonomically designed for staff and clients? According to ISPA, one of the biggest problems that Medical Spa owners face is staff turnover. Not only is recruiting and training expensive, but one departing staff member can cost you thousands of dollars in business lost to spas that attract them. By creating a work environment that caters to the physical needs of your staff, you will take a big step towards improving retention. Look for equipment that has been designed to reduce physical stress brought on by various procedures. Choose furniture and equipment made by a company with a history of producing products that support the physical needs of therapists, estheticians and others while providing clients with a truly pleasurable experience.  Does the equipment support Risk Management efforts? Any equipment used in a physician’s office must support efforts to minimize liability. Selecting furniture and equipment that can handle the physical attributes and special needs of your clientele is extremely important. For example, if you serve elderly patients, appropriate height range will facilitate those patients to safely get on and off the table. Creating a successful Medical Spa to expand your services requires a focus not just on clinical protocol, but also on luxury. Remember to emphasize the “spa” aspect of the business while keeping your clients and therapists in mind at all times. Need more tips? Just reach out to our Pro Spa Services team!
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