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Best Practices for High-performing Spa Partnerships

By: JuE Wong
Posted: March 30, 2012, from the April 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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How then can today’s spa professionals stay as competitive as the established retailers when, according to www.spafinder.com, 74% of business owners are private individuals? If your skin care facility is seeking channel exclusivity from a professional brand, be prepared to back the brand with a serious purchase partnership program, which would involve:

  1. Identifying a brand with which to partner;
  2. Reviewing your spa business infrastructure, and how best to maximize services and sales with the brand;
  3. Making a commitment to the brand for orders, events and program support and growth; and
  4. Working with brand professionals to help them assess how they can commit to channel exclusivity, and how best to provide support to the brand’s mutual benefit.

If a purchase partnership is unrealistic, understand why professional brands cannot always stay exclusive, and leverage the visibility of branching out to other distribution channels to your business advantage.

  1. Look at services and products as a synergistic partnership; it is best to retail products that you use in back bar sizes.
  2. Services can only be performed at brick-and-mortar locations. Retail products can be in multiple channels of distribution: retail/direct and professional. By using the other channels to showcase and raise the visibility of the brand the spa carries and performs services with, spas can work with a high-profile brand. Consumers trust their estheticians and, if they come in for service, they will likely purchase home-care products. If the spa also has a purchasing partnership program with the brand, then the likelihood of the brand extending a very compelling service/product deal will help keep clients loyal to the spa.
  3. Spas can then partner and co-op with brands that are in other channels of distribution to drive service traffic. As such, it should not be seen as a channel conflict; instead see it as a business-driver.

Multichannel distribution is a controversial topic. However, by understanding the facts and seizing the opportunities, everyone can climb the spa ladder together.

JuE Wong is the CEO of the health and beauty brands under the Astral Brands corporate umbrella. She guides three channel-specific brands, including professional skin care brand, CosMedix. Originally from Singapore, Wong is an Honors graduate of The Australian National University. In 2004, she was a Wall Street Journal nominee for its “Top 50 Women to Watch” list.