Monthly Archives: May 2013

Kid-Friendly Spas- Are they Worth it?

Revised from Spa Marketing: Caring About Childcare by DAYSPA Magazine

Time Out Beauty Retreat in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada is one of the few spas that offers childcare to its clients coming in for spa services. Owner Erin Van Oene opened her spa with the intention of caring for both her clients and their children. She says, “Our spa is in a little town, and even though I’ve got some of the best estheticians around, there’s competition here; you need to have a niche.” Many of Van Oene’s clients find her spa’s childcare helpful, as they wouldn’t be able to enjoy her services without someone looking after their children.

On-site childcare can initially seem like a great idea for spa owners. Spas are able to attract more customers with children who are find it difficult to find short term childcare. Customers are at ease during their spa services, knowing their children are close by. However, there are many things to consider before choosing to offer childcare, some that may put off the idea altogether. Van Oene even admits, “Honestly, some days I wish I didn’t have it. Some days it’s that tricky.”

Just like with any business offering childcare, there is insurance and various licenses that must be obtained. Laws vary from state to state so it’s the responsibility of the spa owner to understand which licenses are required. Childcare providers often need CPR certification and criminal background checks which are standard for anyone caring for children.

The location and upkeep of the childcare space must also be considered. Regina Polevoy, owner of Koi SpaSalons in New Jersey says, “We have antimicrobial carpeting, the bathrooms are cleaned several times a day, and the toys are disinfected daily.” As for the location, it’s usually best to keep the space at a good distance from the treatment rooms. If children can be heard through the walls, that can defeat the purpose of trying to relax and enjoy a spa service.

Some spa owners have had better luck than others with providing childcare services. Van Oene’s business is thriving with this addition, while other owners have not seen the benefits. Zenana Spa owner Annee Ingala offered childcare for three years but saw very few clients take advantage of it. She decided to convert the space back into a treatment room and is now making more of a profit.

Another option is to partner with a nearby childcare location so the spa doesn’t need to maintain this service on top of the spa itself. Revive Day Spa in Fayetteville, Arkansas partners with Kids Fit Fun Factory and offers complimentary childcare, which the owner says is worth it because both businesses get exposure.

Most clients are unaware of a spa offering childcare, so promoting it is often the most important factor. It really depends on the spa and its clients to determine whether or not childcare would be a worthwhile endeavor. If a spa caters mostly to younger clients, it has the potential to expand its business.

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What to Expect During an Inspection

Can You survive a Spa Inspection? by Skin Inc

Understand the purpose of the visit

Although the laws applicable to professional skin care facilities vary from state to state, their underlying principles are the same. All states want to protect the safety and welfare of the consumer and, therefore, must ensure that spas are adhering to state laws and enforce penalties if they are not.

State boards require regular inspections of schools and spas. Inspectors are responsible for a region, and are assigned a territory and a certain number of facilities—at which they conduct inspections to ensure general compliance with state rules, and to investigate improper sanitation and unlicensed activity. The consequences for violations include fines, revocation or suspension of a license, or monetary penalties.

State boards receive many complaints, which range from unlicensed individuals employed in a spa to bad chemical peels; unsanitary conditions, to dissatisfaction with the spa’s return policies. It’s determined on a case-by-case basis whether an investigation is required. It is possible when the state board receives numerous complaints on a licensee or particular spa that an inspection might follow. However, it is more likely that the visit is simply routine.

What the inspection involves

Upon arrival, inspectors will let you know they are from the state board and are there to conduct an inspection. Inspectors should always have proper identification. You don’t have to drop everything that you are doing; continue to work on your clients while the inspection is being performed. Inspectors may ask to see valid picture identification to verify the employees or technicians working are licensed. To ensure the spa has its proper authorization, they may ask for relevant business licenses and employee licenses. They will ask to see the manager or licensed employee responsible for unlocking cupboards, doors or drawers within the spa for inspection.

To ensure you are practicing within your scope of practice, contact your state board. Complete contact information for all 50 state boards can be found at If your spa offers laser treatments, Botox, teeth whitening and permanent makeup, be sure your estheticians are appropriately licensed to conduct such treatments. These are the types of issues the inspector will be on the lookout for.

The report

After inspecting the spa, checking for licenses, reviewing proper sanitation practices and ensuring all spa employees are performing duties within their scope of practice, the inspector will likely review an inspection report with the manager and with any individual licensees found to be in violation of their licensing terms. According to the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology website, common violations include: incorrect storage of disinfected and soiled nonelectrical instruments, improper disposal of nondisinfectable instruments, and improper labeling of liquids, creams, powders and cosmetics. Examples of individual violations include: failure to have a license, having an expired license and providing services for which an individual is not licensed to provide.

Be prepared

Don’t slip so far into your everyday routine that you become lazy in your efforts to comply with state rules governing your spa. Preparation plays a significant role in surviving a routine spa inspection. You can prepare your spa and team members for an inspection in the following ways.

Stay up-to-date on state laws and regulations. State laws and regulations governing the practice of cosmetology are constantly changing; new licenses are regularly created.

The best resource for staying abreast of new guidelines that might be part of an inspection is your state’s board of cosmetology. New guidelines and explanations are often posted online and also are reflected in meeting minutes from previous state board meetings. By reviewing your state board’s monthly meeting minutes, you can find what violations are popping up most frequently. Bookmark your state board’s website and check it often.

Perform random self-inspections. Ensure that your skin care facility is operated in a manner that is consistent with state board standards by conducting random self-inspections. Create a list of common violations and randomly check for them. Document a strategy and time line for addressing each issue. Immediately take action to address threats to clients’ safety. Get your staff members to help—this not only gets them involved, but also strengthens their awareness of acceptable and unacceptable practices in the spa.

Prepare with your team. Discuss the potential for state board inspections and their scope with your team, and include a discussion of areas in the spa the inspector is permitted to access. Educate your employees on the procedures involved in an inspection and discuss their rights.

Knowing what to expect from your state board inspection can really help you and your skin care facility survive the visit unscathed and with confidence … and often emerge a safer, more sanitary business for your clients.

Make sure to have the proper equipment to ensure the cleanliness of your spa or office. ComfortSoul offers the Sterilux XL to disinfect various equipment you might use in the workplace such as glass electrodes, brushes, and scissors.

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Promoting Spa Deals for Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, many people turn to spas when choosing a gift for the mothers in their lives. For those last minute shoppers, spa specials are a great way to bring in extra customers. Irene Diamond from Massage Today gives the following tips to remember when promoting a special:

1. Determine what the offer consists of: couple’s massage, extra time/services, special gift or discounted service.

2. Set a price: Services don’t always need to be discounted. When offering extra or special services, a higher price is acceptable.

3. Determine the time frame and/or expiration: Will the offer be available to purchase after Mother’s Day? Once purchased, are there any restrictions (not available on certain days)? Will the offer expire?

4. How will the special be promoted? Remember that the customers purchasing the specials are most likely the husbands or children of the recipient so it’s important to think of other ways to advertise the special, aside from the spa’s website. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter, or even ads in the local newspaper will help get the word out.

Specials also provide a great opportunity to recommend other services and products. A Mother’s Day special is a smart way to bring in new customers and continue business with regulars.

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