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Building Your Winter Pedicure Business: 5 Case Studies

Between the winter blues and covered shoes, you may think pedicures are reserved for the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. But, we’ll show you five salons that still sizzle even when it’s freezing.

Case Study 3
Cascades Day Spa
Location: Bedford, Nova Scotia
Average winter temp: 30s
Marketing concept: Comfort and warmth
Storyline: Nothing lifts the winter blues like a fresh set of toenails. It’s like sunshine.
How the experience supports the story: When owner Kim Hayward describes her salon’s winter pedicure, she uses words such as “fresh, sunshine, and lounge.” It’s clear she’s telling a story that while it’s cold on the outside, clients can experience warmth and heat on the inside. “People are rushed and depressed in the winter,” says Hayward. They’re trying to get where they need to go, finish what they need to do, and get back home. Her salon gives them a place to “totally decompress” — with heat.
When clients walk in, it’s off with the coats and boots and on with the Sensi sandals and robes. “Paraffin pedicures spike in the winter,” says Hayward, but even in the dead of winter, clients have the summer scent of peach. Hayward takes advantage of her location on the river by placing a hot tub on the riverside deck so clients can relax in warm comfort. “Clients arrive early so they can spend 20 minutes lingering in the hot tub.”
Make it your story: You may not have a hot tub, but you can certainly make the hour feel like summer. We often go to warm, earthy scents as soon as the weather changes in September — and that’s a great idea — but to put a twist on the experience, pick a summer scent, use brightly colored towels and buy a sun lamp that combats Seasonal Affective Disorder. Clients will tell coworkers the story of their trip to the Isles — that they took on their lunch break.

Case Study 4
Stillwater Spa
Location: Toronto, Canada
Average winter temp: 20s
Marketing concept: Sexy, club atmosphere while you’re pampered
Storyline: Your night on the town begins with beauty.
How the experience supports the story: Marcelo Olenewa, assistant spa director, says clients come to the spa during the day to escape the cold by warming up to a hot-stone pedicure and therapeutic massage. But the story changes at night. At about 4 p.m. the lights are dimmed and the spa is flooded with candles. Even the music changes from relaxing spa sounds to contemporary, down-tempo music. Olenewa takes advantage of the bar and restaurant located on his property by offering clients appetizers and cocktails. They call it Stillwater Nights. “We’re an urban spa catering to urban needs,” says Olenewa. “We change the experience to accommodate the night environment.” The story is that the nights are longer in the winter, but that’s not something to bemoan. It lengthens the party — starting at the spa.
Make it your story: Look through the calendar of events in your city and plan a party alongside an existing event. Is there a wine tasting? A charity fundraiser? Approach the organizers of that event and ask if you can offer to expand the experience for their guest list with a visit to the salon. Or go out on your own. Start with one night and advertise it as a “Celebrate the Night” party. Decorate with darker colors and use soft lighting and candles to bring warmth to the salon. Tell the story that the nights are long and cold, but that helps to usher the party in early. You can begin your party as early as 4 p.m. and still have the mood of an after-hours event. It could turn out to be the place to go on the weekends.

Case Study 5
Atmosphere Spa
Location: Telluride, Colo.
Average winter temp: 30s
Marketing concept: Health for the feet
Storyline: People with healthy feet make better skiers.
How the experience supports the story: The clients are health conscious at Atmosphere Spa, so manager Amy Winfrey tells them a story about the health benefits of pedicures: “Ski boots provide a warm, moist, and bacteria-rich environment. It is important for the health of our clients to clean, exfoliate, and moisture their feet.” Winfrey explains that “because the foot communicates ski direction through the boot, the slightest abnormality will affect skiing performance. It’s important to keep feet healthy if skiers want to reach their peak performance.” Because clients are educated about the health benefits, the pedicure appeals to them first as a necessity for their goals. The pleasure of the pedi is a secondary benefit.
Make it your story: What drives your community? Do you live in a health-conscious community, a busy city, or a college town? Tell a story to that demographic. Market a soothing escape to college students during exams; market a package deal for friends or couples who lead busy lives and need to reconnect. Whatever story you decide to tell, make sure you believe it, and then make the experience consistent. If it’s the healthy angle, serve natural tea and use lotions that offer natural benefits to the skin. If it’s a friends’ escape, provide a lot of extra pampering with juice or coffee and treats. Weave a story around the winter pedicure, and you’ll find pedicures are not just a summer

Michelle Pratt is a freelance writer and licensed nail tech based in Johnson City, N.Y.

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Keywords:   business building     pedicures     salon profiles     seasonal services     winter pedicures  

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