Friday, 21 April 2017 11:30

Bringing Passion To The Spa

Written by   Lilliane Caron

Running a successful spa can be incredibly rewarding and profitable, but skin care professionals will need to be prepared to work hard.

Professionals will also need to have basic business skills, be quick on their feet, and able to solve curve balls that are thrown at them. Most importantly, keep things as simple as possible and specific to areas of knowledge: there is no need to overcomplicate things. Try to keep tabs on industry trends and technology and be on the lookout for new opportunities to increase retail sales. To be successful, it is important to be passionate!

Managing a business means choosing which services are offered. Having a good understanding of the spa's clientele will help the owner decide which treatments they should provide. However, they always need to be passionate about what they are doing and should ensure that their staff is also replicating this attitude – clients can tell if the professional is not interested in the treatment they are performing.
A spa treatment should always be an experience that the client wants to repeat and if this means the professional has to tailor the menu to suit their expertise and passion, then so be it! If waxing is the professional's specialty, they should open a wax bar. If tanning is their calling, they can choose to offer predominately tanning treatments. Whatever the owner chooses to make the bread and butter of their service menu, they should make sure they really own it.

It is often difficult for business owners to talk about their business and what makes them so great. While most professionals generally do not want to be seen as "tooting their own horn," talking about their treatments or products and what makes their spa so unique is a completely different story! For example, if the professional specializes in waxing, they should tell their clients which wax they are using and why. This explanation can be one of the professional's biggest advantages over competitors, since the quality of wax can make or break a waxing treatment. If the professional uses a cheap, inferior wax, the client is likely to suffer from skin reactions and irritation. Usually, people are told that natural products are better, but when it comes to pine (tree) resin in waxes, unrefined resins can cause allergic reactions and product instability. Top-of-the-range synthetic resins are much safer, easier for the therapist to work with, and more consistent in production from batch to batch. By offering this explanation to clients, they will know that the professional has complete faith in their products.

Most people have experienced a waxing horror story at some point in their life due to being burned, bruised, asked to get into an indecent position, or having their skin lifted. It is best to use a combination of hard and strip wax for Brazilians and only hard wax on the face, as it is much gentler on delicate skin. An ideal Brazilian waxing technique ensures the client is lying on their back with their legs closed 80 percent of the time; they should be comfortable, and even be able to relax, while they receive their wax. It is so easy to highlight the simple things professionals do for clients in order to give them a better experience – they are likely the aspects that clients are going to tell their friends about.

There is no denying that running a spa is time consuming; as a result, sometimes the most basic things can be overlooked. While it seems obvious that professionals should check in with their clients regularly, this task is often missed. There is a fine line between excellent customer service and harassment, but professionals know their clients best and where that line falls for their business. Create an e-mail database to keep in contact with clients regularly. Social media is also a great tool and worth taking the time to build the platform.

While it is important to keep in touch with clients and ensure they are happy, it is also important to offer the same courtesy to the staff. When employees are unhappy or unfulfilled in their roles, it is difficult to get the best work out of them, thus affecting the business. Remember to check in with them regularly; think of ways to motivate and excite them, whether that involves staff incentives, social events, or awards. Set goals for the staff and allow them to feel a sense of achievement. Furthermore, professionals should share both the good and bad times with their staff members; this openness will make them want to work with the professional, not just for them.

Clients are judging both the professional and the spa from the moment they walk in the front door. Skin care professionals are in the beauty industry – everything is aesthetic! From the shop front, branding, décor, music, cleanliness, and staff to the professional's hair, fingernails, and uniform – everything will be evaluated. If something looks tired, freshen it up. The professional and their staff members are literally walking advertisements for the spa, so everyone should take pride in their appearance. Clean, ironed, and professional uniforms are essential. Wear the makeup line that is stocked in the spa and use the skin care products the spa retails. It is also good to practice proper hygiene by tying hair back in a neat ponytail or bun – it looks much more tidy and groomed.

quote-1Always smile and welcome clients when they enter the spa. Staff should never have their cell phones out in front of clients; no one should be sitting at the reception desk with their phone out. Staff should be early to work and put in 100 percent. As the owner or manager of the spa who makes the rules, the professional should be working just as hard, if not harder, than their staff. Being a manager is more than just delegation and observation; it is about being a leader and the best way for people to respect and follow instructions is to be led by example.

Retail products have a much higher profit margin than most spa treatments. They have the ability to increase the spa's bottom line dramatically, which makes them an essential part of the business. Try to upsell products at the end of a treatment as a way of offering clients a solution to a problem. Professionals should select products that are most relevant to the treatment and the client's needs, but also ones that they believe in and know work well.

Retailing and upselling can sometimes feel like a challenge, especially if the staff is not educated on the products that are stocked in the spa; it is hard for anyone to sell something they know nothing about. Give staff specific points to learn about each product so they become familiar with the benefits. Once the staff knows the products well, they will feel more confident talking about them and making recommendations based on the client's needs. Clients should never feel as though products are being forced onto them and the staff should not feel like they are forcing products onto clients.

Professionals would be surprised by the support that manufacturers and distributors would provide to them if they only asked! Promotional material is made for the sole purpose of communicating information about a product or service in a quick and effective way. In a busy spa environment, professionals do not always have the time to tell each and every client about great new products or the promotions they have for that week. In that scenario, it is best to utilize the manufacturer's or distributor's material. Ask for posters, brochures, online banners, shirts, product samples, window decals, and high-resolution product images – anything that is going to help sell products for the professional.


Social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, are a great way to market the spa to both current and potential clients. Think of deals that are going to be enticing to existing clients and encourage them to bring their friends. For example, professionals can offer happy hour or two-for-one specials; they can also offer clients a free treatment if they bring a friend. With these specials, professionals are not only giving something to their existing clients, but they are also making use of a great way to get new clients in the door.

Professionals should never think they know it all! There are so many different techniques, hints, and tips they can gain from their team. Something that may seem so simple to one person may never have occurred to another. Once a month, spend time performing a treatment with all of the staff members to see what everyone can learn from each other. It is also a good idea to pair up a less experienced staff member with a seasoned one so that the spa veteran can teach them the ropes.
Investing in the staff is worth every penny! Look into specialized training in certain techniques regularly. For example, if the professional's focus is on waxing, they could take a Brazilian waxing class to learn new time- and money-saving tips to improve their service.

Being a spa owner or manager is not about power – it is about passion. There will be numerous challenges, but if skin care professionals surround themselves with a good team and love what they do, then at the end of the day, it is worth it.

Lilliane-CaronLilliane Caron is the founder and director of Waxxxpress USA. Known worldwide for her waxing techniques, she is dedicated to helping create better salons by delivering superior products, exceptional service, and industry-leading education. In her untiring quest to make beauty therapists' jobs easier, Caron continues to devote herself to salon innovation. Her success is attributed to a high standard of customer service, training, and customer support. Therapists can deliver every treatment in confidence knowing that Waxxxpress products care for the health, comfort, and well-being of their clients as they indulge in their salon treatment.

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