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What Product Mix is Right for Your Spa?

By: Deedee Crossett
Posted: March 28, 2011, from the April 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
skin care professional in skin care facility's retail area

Private label, one brand or multiple lines … what’s the answer? Every spa is unique and each client is equally individual. As a small business owner, studio esthetician or large spa chain manager, the following information can help you review the pros and cons of going “one brand, one vision,” starting your own line or having a complete product mix.

One brand

Price

  • Retail prices can vary from product to product. Some companies offer a baker’s dozen-type deal, so with every 12 products you purchase, you’ll receive 13.
  • It’s expensive to switch if you ever decide to change brands.
  • You may qualify for free shipping. Many lines offer free shipping with large volume orders.

Marketing support

  • Some suppliers offer a level system that provides spas with a variety of complementary marketing materials, ranging from DVDs and consumer brochures, to shopping bags and samples.
  • You may work with a dedicated sales representative. The larger the account, the larger the support. Small accounts will call orders into a customer service line while larger accounts will have a dedicated sales representative to assist them in business planning and marketing.

Education

  • John McGourty from John Francis Spa in San Francisco says, “By choosing to work with one particular supplier, I have more educational opportunities than if I had multiple lines. I feel as though we are working as a team.”
  • If you want your sales representative to send an educator to your spa and train your team, you need to purchase product. The more you purchase, the more education the supplier will want to provide. Of course, starting off, you and your team will get trained on the line; however, to keep the suppliers coming back, you’ll need to show them the money.
  • It’s easier for consumers and therapists to know one line really well. Product knowledge is normally higher in spas that work with one brand than in those that work with multiple brands.

Perks

  • The main perk is national exposure. If the brand is national or international, you can benefit from its advertising and promotional campaigns.
  • If you commit to retailing a brand, many times, the supplier will add you to its website. Clients who recognize the brand will come to you to purchase product and hopefully stay and schedule a service.
  • Inventory is easier and takes less time.
  • You’ll be invited to special events, education and promotional packages that only VIPs or exclusive clients can attend. Many of the lines in the spa industry are operated by the original owner; you may have a chance to meet with the owner directly.