What genuinely constitutes a day spa? Many full-service salons who have simple added skin care refer to themselves as day spa. Yet spa purists argue that a true spa is one that offers water treatments. Regardless, many owners say that converting salons today spas is the wave of the future
Kenneth Anders, owner of The Spa at Kenneth’s in Columbus, Ohio, converted his full-service salon to a day spa based on its good reputation as well as his belief that spas are natural transition. He explains: “Research will tell you that day spas are where the client base, mainly baby boomers, is heading. If you’re an upscale salon, adding a day spa is the next logical step.”
TRUE SPA SERVICE: WATER AND BEYOND
Refreshing water therapies that stimulates the sense set a true spa from a full-service salon. These service include a relaxing steam shower to prepare for a spa service; a hydrotherapy treatment where the client sits in a tub surrounded by pulsating jets of water, which helps increase blood circulation and relieve muscular aches; and a Vichy shower, which disperses warm and cold water intermittently over pressure points on the body to open close pores following body treatment.
“The Greek and Roman philosopher of spa is healing with water,” says Susan Constantine, co-owner of Snoobz A Salon and Serendipity Day Spa in Longwood, Fla. “A true day spa has wet treatments and shower facilities for both men and women.”
Paula Fierson, spa consultant/spa director at Noelle Spa for Beauty and Wellness in Stamford, Conn., Says, “The rule of thumb in the industry is you offer some type of water therapy treatment, facials, massage, body treatments, manicures, and pedicures, then you’re considered a spa.” And Fierson should know. According to her, owner Noel de Caprio was the innovator of say spa and she coined the phrase 24 years ago.
“In addition to water treatments, what signifies a true spa is holistic and therapeutic service,’ says Steve Cerf, who owns Metropolis Spa and salon in Princeton, N.J., wish his wife Terry. Holistic spa services are those that use natural ingredients. Such as minerals from the ocean and soil, that are healing for the body. Therapeutic services, such as massage, are also healing and help revitalize and rejuvenate the mind, body, and spirit.
THE SPA ENVIRONMENT
The total spa experience extends beyond offering the proper services: You need to create a comfortable atmosphere where clients can relax and forget about every day pressure.
“A spa should appeal to your five senses and embody warm, inviting ambiance say Constantine. Attention to detail such as soft lighting soothing music, pleasant scents and trickling water, is also an integral part of the spa concept.
The Spa should also be located in an area totally separated from the salon and have its own unique atmosphere, say Cerf.
Anders agrees. “A massage room in the middle of a hairstyling area where the client can hear the stylist talking and the blow dryers going is not a spa.”
Knowing how important privacy is for the discerning spa client, the location Cerf chose for Metropolis consists of two levels: the 3,250 square foot salon is on the first floor with the secluded 2,000 square foot spa in the basement.
ATTRACTING SPA PATRONS
Before adding a spa, you need to figure out how you’re going to bring in business. Fierson strongly recommends conducting a client survey, which includes the services you are considering offering. It should also ask for their comments and what type of services they would be interested in.
After handing out a questionnaire to see if clients knew anything about spa service, Constantine found that they weren’t savvy enough about spa service. To heighten client’s awareness and need for spa services, she and her partners spent two years educating them through videotapes on various body treatments and massage, which played throughout the salon, and written material on the benefits of spa service.
In attracting potential clients, be careful to stay true to your salon focus, says Carmen DePaquale, owner of The Spa at DePasquale in Morris Plains, N.J. “Perception is reality. You can’t be everything to everybody. You have to know your market. Getting the client is one part of the equation and keeping the client is the second part,” he says.
CATERING TO CLIENTS’ NEEDS
Spas were once considered one of life’s luxuries. Today, however, that perception has changed. Nowadays more and more people are reaping the benefits of spas and regard many of the services as necessities.
Says Fierson, “Pampering is still an integral part of day spas, but it’s a given. These days, people are coming to you for specific purposes - a facial to combat anti-aging or a massage for back relief, for example, initially, if they do come for pampering, after the first visit they realize the overall benefits of body, soul, and mind.”
Keeping appearances up, reducing stress, and overall well-being are some reason clients frequent spas, says Cerf, as more and more people are becoming aware of the advantages of spa services through magazines and word of mouth.
“From treating themselves to small indulgence to utilizing the services at a wellness center,” says DePasquale on why people visit spas. “We consider ourselves a beauty and wellness center, and we work closely with plastic surgeons and holistic doctors. The medical aspect of a wellness center, which offers a lot of therapeutic treatments, opens up a whole new level of well-being,” he says.
Following surgery, facelift patients often go through a difficult healing process so a series of massage and pedicures helps lift their spirits, says DePasquale. Liposuction patient, on the other hand, benefit from massages, which help circulation and are good for tightening the muscles.
Jodi Dahl, who co-owns Hair Success Salon & Say Spa for Beauty & Wellness in Fargo, N.D., with her twin sister Jill Ellingson, also sees the direct link to a wellness center and doctors. “Wellness is an overall well-being inside and out. It’s an inner peace. People these days are so busy and highly stressed that many doctors are referring their clients to day spas. We actually started working with doctors before we built the spa to get a client base going,” she says.
So which spa services are in demand to keep clients looking and feeling good? At Snobz A Salon and Serendipity Day Spa, Constantine says spa pedicures and facials are popular because clients can see the result - it’s instant gratification.
Facials and massage are popular among clients at Noelle Spa Beauty and Wellness, says Fierson. “Clients love the direct touching and touch is very healing.” She says. And, since the service takes place in a relaxing environment, the clients’ sense of smell and touch come much more into play, she adds.
Hydrotherapy is the fastest-growing service at Metropolis, says Cerf. “It’s something new and unique, and after the service, people realize its benefits.”
Dahl ay detoxification (body cleansing) has gained popularity among her spa patrons because it teaches people to get on road to wellness.
These former full-service salon owners have found that if you build a spa they will come. But keep in mind that many of today’s clients are savvy about spa services and may turn up their nose at your establishment if you are calling yourself a spa when the only water that can be found is at the shampoo bowls.
- A range of body treatments, including water therapy massage, facial, and body wraps, takes place in private rooms at Noelle Spa for Beauty and Wellness. The large vases along the spa’s corridor mask secret closet were laundry can be deposited from inside the treatment room, then picked up on the outside.
- A hydrotherapy treatment is one service which sets a true spa apart from a full-service salon. Relaxing in the tub helps to soothe muscles, relieve stress, eliminate toxins, and increase circulation.
- Spa pedicures are becoming a top priority for clients. Aside from a private room, various aromatherapy oils and massage techniques distinguish this service from a traditional pedicure.
- Following a body treatment, the client is treated to a Vichy shower, which disperses warm and cold water intermittently over pressure points on the body to open and close pores.
- A Salt Glow treatment, which exfoliates skin and increase circulation, is one of many body services offered at spas. A rain bar sprinkles warm water to gently wash away the combination of sea salts and essential oils.
- Having the spa in an area separate from the salon is important to create a feeling of being “away from it all“ for clients at Noelle Spa a floor-to-ceiling fountain marks the entrance to women’s spa.
Aromatherapy Bath. A healing bath in a hydrotherapy tub for relaxing de-stressing and re-energizing $50
Aromatherapy Facial. A customize facial, which includes aromatherapy oil for an extra benefit to address specific skin care needs. Improves blood circulation. $60-$75
Aromatherapy Massage. Full body massage, which incorporates fragrant essential oils to improve the flow of energy and detoxify. $60-$75
Hydrotherapy Treatment. A therapeutic, revitalizing treatment, which consist of powerful jets of water to soothe the muscles, relieve stress, eliminate toxins and increase circulation. $50-$85
Reflexology Massage. Precise pressures Is applied to specific points in the feet. These points, in turn, correlates to specific organs and parts of the body. Helps release blockage, improve circulation, and promote relaxation. $50-$60
Salt Glow Treatment. Sea salts and custom blend of essential oil are worked into the skin to exfoliate and increase circulation. $45-$65
Seaweed Body Treatment. A cleansing and re-mineralizing body wrap that helps eliminate toxins from the body as well as exfoliates and hydrates skin. $45
Spa Facial. A luxurious facial, which includes a European seaweed masque that eliminates toxins and provides nourishment to the skin. Also moisturizes and firms skin. $50-$90
Spa Manicure. A deluxe manicure, which include an aromatherapy hand scrub to help exfoliate dry, rough skin. $80-$90
Spa Pedicure. A relaxing whirlpool soak followed by a deep foot massage using aromatherapy oils, hot towels, and a paraffin treatments. $25-$30
Vichy Shower. A water treatment, following a body treatment which consist of a row of showerheads parallel to the body with the nozzles strategically placed over pressure points on the body. $32-$45