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Shaping Your Spa Program

By: Mindy Terry
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

The treatment rooms at The Spa at The Jefferson reflect the clientele’s wish for luxury that is informal yet elegant, sophisticated and effortless.

Do you want to succeed in the spa business or, for that matter, any business? Rule No. 1: Creating a successful business is about much more than having a flashy logo, great idea or fabulous location.

You have to know everything about your key asset—the people who you want to walk through your door. The competition is stiff for small businesses. In 2008, an estimated 627,000 businesses opened, while more than 595,000 closed. The U.S. Small Business Administration also reports that seven out of 10 new businesses exist for at least two years, and only about half survive five years.

Specifically relating to spas, the International SPA Association (ISPA) reports more than 21,000 spas were operating in the United States at the end of 2008. That’s an increase of 18.8% above the 2007 figure of 17,900 spas. Day spas dominate the industry at 79% of total spas while medical spas continue to grow at the fastest rate—85% since July 2007.

The numbers don’t lie; they paint the picture that the competition is fierce. You have to do the homework on your consumer, and the good news is that it doesn’t take a doctorate or millions of dollars to conduct this research.


Do they buy organic skin care or use dermal fillers? Do they drive luxury sedans or hybrids? Do they shop at Target, Walmart or Whole Foods? As a spa owner, it’s critical that you delve into the minds of those who call your market home.