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Stand by Your Brand

By: Steven H. Dayan, MD and Terri Wojak
Posted: March 26, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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If a spa specializes in being on the leading edge, services and products need to be available that will attract clients who seek the latest and greatest. Even more importantly, spa team members must be educated in the most current advancements in the industry. Clients who seek cutting-edge esthetics will likely do research to find out what new treatments are available. The staff should be the experts and be able to answer any questions the clients may ask.

Image is everything

Spa professionals may wish to work more on the relaxation side of the business instead of the medical spa side. This can be further broken down into areas such as resort spas, hotel spas and wellness centers. This decision is going to subsequently result in what kind of image a particular business should convey. Resort spas and hotels are more likely to concentrate on relaxing the client, and this should be evident from the minute a guest walks through the door. The spa should have relaxing music, scents and décor that provide a calm, refreshed feeling. The treatments provided should be more focused on the experience, and give clients an oasis from their hectic lives.

Spas that are on the more holistic side should concentrate on offering treatments that include internal wellness, relaxation and spiritual healing. Educational seminars for skin care can be done in health food stores, yoga centers and vitamin shops to help bring in clients, and spa professionals may also perform treatments that involve energy work or relaxation techniques. It could be beneficial to focus on organic products and treating the skin from the inside out.

On the other hand, advanced treatments for the skin should be focused on in a medical office or a more clinical setting. The business can specialize in treating common skin disorders, such as acne, photodamage or hyperpigmentation. Many spas can individualize themselves further by concentrating on one particular skin disorder, such as acne. An entire esthetic business can be built on treating acne alone. Ask clients who have had good experiences to write testimonials, and use before-and-after pictures, if possible. If you are good at treating acne or any other disorder, word of mouth will get you far. Try to associate yourself with skin care clinics, high schools and colleges. Acne can be difficult to treat, but advanced training and experience can make you an expert. Having educational materials, testimonials and before-and-after pictures available for your clients can be extremely beneficial. This isn’t saying that you can’t treat all skin conditions, but becoming an expert in one area makes a big difference in the message that is sent to potential clients. If something was wrong with your heart, you would likely seek out a cardiologist instead of an internist. The same idea applies here.

Waxing is another possible option when choosing a specialty. Although the waxing business has found some competition with laser hair removal treatments, it can still be a profitable business. Laser hair removal cannot be done on the eyebrows, which is one of the most popular areas for waxing. There are many waxing salons opening nationwide due to the low overhead; for waxing, the spa professional only needs a table and waxing supplies. Waxing services are also very quick to perform, providing the opportunity for a high-volume business with high profit margins. (Editor’s note: To read more about the profitability of hair removal, see “Hair Removal in Hard Times” in the April 2009 issue.)

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