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The Benefits of Branding
By: Josannah Birman
Posted: October 26, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Those in the skin care industry—like every other industry—are keenly aware of the economic downturn. It’s no secret that clients are coming in less frequently and buying fewer products than they have in the past, which is evidence of their personal struggles with finances. Of course, this trickles down to the spa owners who are also trying to make ends meet. But two of the main problems spa owners are currently facing can possibly be addressed by considering offering a private label line of products: bringing costs down and standing out from the competition.
Stand out from the crowd
One of the most game-changing benefits to adding a private label line to your business is standing out from the crowd, especially these days when many lines can not only be found in other spas, but also in prestige department stores and beauty mega stores. “For me, private label is the way to go,” says Nina Ummel, owner of Ummelina International Day Spa, with locations in Seattle and Yakima, Washington. “It allows you to have your name on the products and if clients like them, they are going to come back to you because they can’t get those products anywhere else.”
According to Ellen Clark, founder of private label company Global Beauty, this type of benefit is called “brand equity.” “It is a way for clients to take a little bit of the spa experience home with them and that appeals to many spa owners,” she explains. Maria Stadler, vice president—marketing of YOUR NAME Professional Brands, another private label company, also emphasizes the important role branding plays in a business’ success, especially during the recession. “Private label gives your clients the opportunity to purchase unique products that enhance their experiences at your place of business,” she says.
Meet your clients’ needs
“When spa owners purchase a product line, it is so important that the first thing they have to ask themselves is: ‘What do I really believe in when it comes to skin care?’ ” Ummel explains. Ultimately, the decision comes down to carefully considering how offering a private label line will benefit your business. After you have decided to begin offering private label products in your spa, the next step is identifying what your clients desire in skin care and how to best meet their needs. Svetlana Sharapova, owner of A-Skin Care Salon in Arlington, Massachusetts, believes that a private label product is only as good as the professional reputation attached to the name on the bottle, and the prime benefit of offering private label is the trust that is encouraged to your spa’s name and brand. Sharapova chooses products that treat her clients’ specific skin conditions and incorporates them into her private label line. Creating relationships with her clients means that she will also incorporate other brands into her product mix if they have a distinct benefit that she can’t deliver in-house.
After identifying the needs of your clients, the next step is finding a supplier that will help you meet those needs. There are many out there, so it is important to know what you want and find a supplier that can offer solutions. According to Vonda Simon, founder and president of SeaCliff Beauty Packaging & Laboratories Inc., one of the benefits of working with private label suppliers is that many formulas have already gone through product testing. “This saves time from having to choose your active ingredients and sift through marketing data from raw material suppliers that is often hard to understand,” she says. “The products have already been tried and tested.”