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Capturing the Tween/Teen Market

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: August 1, 2011, from the August 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

According to the International SPA Association’s (ISPA) 2010 Spa-Goer Study, four million teens have been to a spa. That’s a pretty big number. Does the tween and teen demographic in your community know the role you, as a skin care professional, can play to help with their growing skin care needs, such as acne management?

By their mid-teen years, according to the American Academy of Dermatology more than 40% of adolescents have acne or acne scarring, which can severely affect a teen’s self-esteem. “Having great skin helps everyone with their self-esteem, no matter what age the client,” says Renee Mallari, director of spa services for The Enchanted Lagoon Kids Spa at Paradise Mist Spa in KeyLime Cove Indoor Water Park Resort in Gurnee, Illinois. “During the teen years, there are so many changes happening that it helps if you don’t have to worry about whether someone is staring at your skin. If teens are self-conscious about it, it can withdraw them from social functions, meeting new friends and can cause them to miss out on fun that others may be having.”

Angela Horejs, owner of Simply Beautiful Day Spa in Lombard, Illinois, believes that consumer advertising and education have helped educate today’s teens on the importance of skin care. “Teens understand more about skin health,” she says. “You would think if teens come in with acne and are very self-conscious that they’d just want a quick solution, but they don’t. They are talking among themselves, they are talking to adults, and they definitely are turning to alternatives to the harsher chemicals.”

It is this need for proper skin care combined with tweens’ and teens’ increased knowledge on the subject that makes them a viable skin care clientele to pursue. Many spas throughout the nation have found innovative ways to reach out to this niche group with much success, and a huge start-up fee is not required. In fact, many skin care facilities are already offering services to address the issues experienced by tweens and teens—it’s just a matter of putting some serious marketing behind them.

Identifying a need

Before diving headfirst into offering tween and teen treatments and retail offerings at your skin care facility, it is incredibly important to identify whether there is a need in your area. Some businesses grow organically toward offering services to this client base, others build their original business model on servicing tweens and teens, and still others reach out to this demographic in an attempt to work with their parents as well.