Thinking about Skin Care? Some Folks Are!

For the skin care business, this time of year (end of the summer and fall) is typically when volume begins to drop until we get close to the holidays?  Why?  Primarily because the summer is over, most are working on going back to school, and candidly, we’re not “out and about” as much we have been the past 3-4 months.

We don’t sell as much wrinkle serum, body lotion, spider vein cream or cellulite treatments…and sunburn relief products have but gone into hibernation until next spring when the first sunburns start popping up during spring break.

There are some exceptions to this trend for discretionary skin care products however. 

First, if you are in the north, upper midwest, in the UK or one of our customers in Canada, then you are starting to feel the first waves of colder, dryer artic air.  The denseness, low humidity, and higher winds associated with these air masses bring with them a wave of dry, chapping, and irritated skin.  Though it may sound a bit contradictory, we start selling a lot of our moisturizing body firming lotions, Skin Tight in particular…as folks get a jump on moisturization to avoid wrinkles and tight skin.

Second, as I have just learned, a lot of folks stock up as kids go back to school.  Having been in this business for 6 years and seen the trends, I didn’t put 2 and 2 together, but when girls go off to college they spend a lot of money on a lot of things…one of them being skin care.  While they’re not talking about the latest wrinkle cream or psoriasis treatment, they are talking cosmetics, makeup and lotions.  So again, we see a bit of jump as schools crank-up.

Third, for folks who need real solutions to real skin problems and ailments, the flurry of the summer passing allows them to sit down and consider what can or should be done for treatments.  Again, I can attest personally and have direct evidence from the volume of calls we receive in our customer service center.  Spider veins, rashes, eczema, scars, oily skin…you name it.  It seems like everyone put these on hold since the spring and have decided it’s now time to decide what to do and what products work best.

If you have stayed with me so far, thanks…good to meet you and please give me any thoughts – rambling or not.  The point of what I wanted to discuss was skin care is a round-the-clock, annual issue and treating skin problems requires full-time diligence.

If you are a skin care retailer – spa, exercise facility or gym, salon, or product retailer – and you would like help with the direction you should take product-wise or help selling the products you have, give one of our account managers a call toll-free at 888-909-1658.

Spa Management in 2010

For many of us 2010 is and was a welcome challenge compared to 2010. Many firms for which we consult or advise had a very difficult go in 2009 as they saw traffic, revenue and services contract.

While there have been many who have seen a rise in profits and volume, many have seen eroding sales, margin and flow since the end of 2007. In business terms this is a long-time.

I won’t digress into my personal observations of recessions, the recession in 89-91 was for a short time equally severe as what we are experiencing today. The big difference being how long the economy was contracted.

In the recession in 89-91 we were basically in bad sorts for about 18 months. Even smaller, less capitalized firms were able to sustain themselves – especially with a quick and measurable recovery that was experienced in 92-93.

Many I have spoken to want to include the recession of 2000-2001. Yes, our economy slowed substantially, that contraction was as much about technology and the infamous “internet bubble” as much as anything else. This coupled with the tragedy of 9/11 put the brakes on the economy and slowed us measurably…but not like this.

Many economists – myself included – believe our “recession” began at the end of 2007. I agree. The holiday traffic, sales, and good mood of the nation just seemed a bit different…something was not quite right. The same feeling I got at the end of 89.

With that said, where does that put us related to the spa industry?

Well for one, sustainability seems to be a watch word for many. If you have had the capital, resources and business model to get you this far, the focus should be maintaining for an extended period of time – probably up to a year or more.

There are plenty of excellent operators out there who also at the right place at the right time with the right staff; but on the whole many firms – firms that have been extremely successful in the past – are having a tough time.

Throughout this blog I have written about ideas you can or should consider to either increase revenue, increase margin, decrease expenses or help retain clients and staff. Some ideas are as simple as effective follow-up following treatments and as complex as introducing medspa treatments requiring significant capital expenditures and hiring or training of certified staff.

All of these ideas can be helpful to almost any size firm…and many of these ideas are those that we hear about, either through communications or hands-on observation.

If you have ideas that you think will help others in the industry, please let us know and good luck in 2010!

Adding Services for Increased Spa Traffic

Increasing revenue and traffic for spas and MedSpas can be done several ways. One, open new locations, increase marketing efforts, or adding new services or products.

For many spas, opening new stores or locations may be part of a long-range growth plan, yet may not be suitable while operating in a down economy when spa treatments are viewed as either a luxury or discretionary.

Marketing efforts can be categorized as advertising or direct sales. Advertising can come in many forms. Direct mail, email campaigns, joint marketin efforts with related products or services, TV or radio. Many spas I have seen are flying banners outside their locations (local laws permitting), putting up billboards, and putting advertisements or discount inserts in papers, local news, press releases, or handing out discount or “specials” to customers and guests coming through the spa.

Increasing marketing efforts or expanding services is your best ROI when the economy has slowed. Massage Therapy, Botox or anti-wrinkle procedures, facials, and vein therapy can be supplemented with several ideas.

Another opportunity is making available additional services or products inside the store.

Selling in-expensive consumable products can help boost sales, improve traffic, and get consumers coming back. Spider vein creams can be excellent ancillary products following sclerotherapy or laser therapy. For pregnant women or those who have had children, a preventive or repairing stretch mark cream can help aid recovery and prevent scarring. And while injections can help smooth wrinkles and puff lips, anti wrinkle creams and serums help neck wrinkles, crow’s feet, and puffiness or dark circles under the eyes.

These products are designed to supplement and enhance procedures and improve weekly or monthly revenue. Choosing products that are expensive with luxurious packaging and “rock star” name brands may work against you. While they may certainly enhance the image of your spa (and to many that is important), high-priced skin care products have been shown to be great initial purchases, but lack the consumable “punch” needed for return purchases.