Learn more about the exclusively male spa, Gadabout Man in Tucson, Arizona, by reading this transcript of the interview between Skin Inc. magazine and Gadabout SalonSpas’ vice presidents Frank and Jana Westerbeke.
Skin Inc. magazine: What was the inspiration for starting Gadabout Man?
Gadabout Man vice presidents Frank and Jana Westerbeke: Gadabout Man is a place for men to feel comfortable and be able to express themselves. It is a place that they can call their own and where they can celebrate and talk with other men. This space gives them time and a place for themselves.
SI: What is the background of the founders?
Westerbekes: The key component of Gadabout Man is the male influence it has. One of the owners is a man, and it was designed for men by a man. The point is to keep a day spa feel, but with a masculine twist.
SI: In the inspiration of Gadabout Man, was Frank Westerbeke a large part of it, or was it just seen as a natural evolution of Gadabout for to begin offering a space and services exclusively for men?
Westerbekes: Frank was a large part of the inspiration for Gadabout Man. It was more of an idea that Frank had, and that really lead to an exciting new space exclusively for men.
SI: What kind of work went into launching Gadabout Man?
Westerbekes: We had to figure out a way to re-educate our already loyal guests while also encouraging new men clientele. We also wanted to keep the place very simple and focus on the man’s desire: comfort.
SI: Describe Gadabout Man for me. What kinds of treatments are featured, what kind of clientele it has, what’s it décor like and so on.
Westerbekes: The Gadabout man is typically described as a well-rounded executive who may have started very traditional. The image of Gadabout Man has transformed as Gadabout Man has evolved to include the sons and fathers of our loyal clientele. In addition, college students and retirees have joined the mix. Our idea is to create a masculine spa environment. The building’s décor consists of bold, warm colors. We made the building more comfortable with leather upholstery, as well as televisions playing sports and news. We also collaborated with an executive personal training facility located behind our spa to share the male locker room. The locker room is complete with steam shower, sauna, lockers and male grooming products.
SI: You mention that college students and retirees are becoming a part of the Gadabout Man’s clientele. Can you tell me which kinds of treatments and services are popular with them?
Westerbekes: Massages, haircuts and hot shaves. And more and more men are feeling comfortable getting manicures and pedicures.
SI: You also talk about the décor having bold, warm colors—what colors are used?
Westerbekes: The colors are rich yellows, browns, oranges. Black leather.
SI: Can you give a little more about the set-up of the space? You mention a locker room and a lounge, what other areas are there? A salon area? Number of treatment rooms?
Westerbekes: We have three treatment rooms, 10 stations, one hot shave station, two pedicure thrones and two manicure tables.
SI: Can you tell me a bit more about Gadabout Man’s collaboration with the executive personal training gym?
Westerbekes: It is with Performance Fitness, a locally owned fitness center. The collaboration is beneficial because we are catering to the same demographic. We are looking for men who are interested in taking care of themselves. Our locker room is shared and has entrances to both Gadabout Man and Performance, so the man can work out, have a personal training session, a massage and a steam, all in one place. The collaboration came about when we were looking at the location of the salon. There is a steakhouse and the gym and Gadabout Man, all services that cater to and draw men in.
SI: Does the Arizona location affect the spa atmosphere?
Westerbekes: None of our SalonSpas offer treatments influenced by the desert. At Gadabout Man, we offer executive services such as a shave and haircut or manicure and hair cut at the same time because men are very time conscience.
SI: What is the typical Gadabout Man experience? How would clients describe it?
Westerbekes: The typical Gadabout Man experience is comfortable, consistent, and personable. Our guests really like it; it is their lounge, where they can be themselves.
SI: How is Gadabout Man different than the typical spa? What is it doing to set itself apart, and how are those ideas thought of and maintained?
Westerbekes: Gadabout Man is placed in a men’s center—men’s clothing store, steakhouse, executive personal training gym—so our demographic is there. It is located in the business hub, which creates a large influx of business professionals. We have created a SalonSpa that can be a stop, such as a quick haircut, or destination with a full day spa experience. In addition, we exclusively offer men’s service. We played off of the traditional barber setting and an integrated spa-like experience. We offer treatments such as a straight edge shave utilizing warm shave cream we custom blend with comfort zone’s tranquility oil.
SI: What types of services are more popular—the time-conscious services or the more time-intensive treatments?
Westerbekes: Executive services, the ones that are fast but effective.
SI: What are the primary challenges facing Gadabout Man? How do you work to overcome these?
Westerbekes: Our primary challenge is hiring people that are as stimulated working on men as they would be on women because of the woman’s chemical dependence and understand the last minute mentality and desire for express services. Our technicians need to constantly be educated and re-educated to understand the male mind and to be stimulated.
SI: What are the best or most fun aspects of Gadabout Man? How were these devised, and how are they maintained?
Westerbekes: The Buzz and a Beer program is a really fun aspect of Gadabout Man. We offer the men a complimentary locally brewed beer with their services. The atmosphere is like Cheers, where men can talk about sports or anything, but they are comfortable and they know the Gadabout Man is their space. Men are extremely loyal—not only to their technician but to Gadabout Man and their “space.”
SI: With the Buzz and a Beer program, what services can be combined with that option?
Westerbekes: All services, although we don’t recommend a massage or facial to be combined with beer.
SI: What are the future plans for Gadabout Man?
Westerbekes: We want to continue growing and expanding hours; men like early or late appointments, and we have yet to fill those times with technicians. The journey is never over; we will continue to educate our staff, guests and the community.
SI: What is the message that Gadabout Man conveys to its clients?
Westerbekes: To make men feel comfortable in their own space.
To learn more about Gadabout Man, check out the Spa Snapshot feature in the February 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.