Q & A: Soft Opening

How can I do a soft opening for a skin spa? What do I need to do? What gift should I give out?

Hello Connie,
For my soft opening I invited my friends, family, and the surrounding businesses. During the soft opening you are still in the placement stage. A small or soft opening allows you to see the layout with people in it. It also allows you to test everything out before you actually start operating. What looks good to you looks totally different with clients in the space.

• I only invited friends, family, and local businesses. I wanted to create a buzz, having little advertisements I was able to draw people in from the small group I invited. I would do the advertising for the Grand Opening. Also if the salon is located in an area where people walk through, they will stop in just to see what you offer.
• Offer refreshments. I kept it very small. I wanted to save the main excitement for the official grand opening.
• Coupons are always great. These items were given to people who scheduled appointments. I also made a better gift bag with more in it and a greater discount on the gift certificates for the grand opening.
• One thing I thought of after the fact that may help you is to offer sample services. Like mini manicures, facials, or other services (to give clients an idea of what you have to offer).
• Create some type of take-home information. Not just a business card, but a flier, price list or About Us pamphlet.
I hope this helps. A soft opening can start your word-of-mouth marketing, an important tool.
—Alica, Upscale Nail Bar & Boutique, Griffin, Ga.

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