Trust the Trends, Or Trust Your Instincts?

By Ann Brown , LMT

Trust the Trends, Or Trust Your Instincts?

By Ann Brown, LMT

Being a massage therapist is all about balance. There's the balance between your customers' needs and wants, the balance between what's good for clients and what's good for business, and the balance between overseeing current business and forecasting for the future. With trends so frequently changing, it can be challenging to determine which will bring the most benefits, and which are better left off the spa menu.

Evaluating Products & Services for Profitability

As a former spa director of one of the largest resort spas in the Midwest and now an entrepreneur with a growing business in the massage industry, I know how important it is to evaluate new products and services to determine which ones offer true potential for client wellness and profitability for business. But how do you know when to trust the trends and when to trust your instincts? Next time you're considering adding something new, keep these questions in mind.

What are we doing well? Playing to your strengths can be an incredibly effective approach to business. Are you known for your facials? Consider products—both in spa and retail—that further highlight those treatments. What are my clients asking for? If clients love a product or service, they'll be more than happy to talk about it. So ask! What are you doing that they love? What have they heard about or experienced elsewhere that they love? What trends are they excited about?

Does the trend create an improvement over how you are currently providing service? I created my business because I saw the need to create a more eco-friendly delivery of stone massage and an opportunity to provide more health benefits for clients through Himalayan salt. When you see depth in the benefits provided by a trend, it likely comes with more staying power.

Does this trend fill a void in the marketplace—or better yet, in my day-to-day business? Anyone who has worked in the spa industry for more than a few years likely has a running list of products or ideas they wish would come to market. Often, these arise from frustrations you've faced in your day-to-day operations. "If only these massage stones would heat faster" or "I wish there were a more sustainable product for facial treatments" might feel like throwaway comments in the moment, but it's well worth your time to take note of those issues.

Is the trend sustainable? What is the impact on the environment in general and at my spa in particular? You should always evaluate new products or services with an eye on environmental impact. Sustainability is more than a passing trend—it's essential if we want to responsibly move our industry forward while providing the best possible products for our clients. For each and every product that enters your spa, you should be aware of where it comes from, how it's made and whether it's responsibly sourced.

What safety precautions exist, if any? Does the trend pose any risks for your clientele? Thoroughly research any new product or service, and keep in mind that evaluating safety precautions should also include a close eye on product ingredients. What retail opportunities exist? With any new treatment brought to your spa, retail sales need to be an important consideration. Not only do you increase opportunities for revenue, but you also serve your clientele by helping them extend their spa experience.

Does the trend fit my spa's mission? Only consider what makes sense for your spa and authentically adds value. If you can't identify a shared vision between your business and the company whose product you're considering—or at least a shared value between the product and your spa's overall mission—chances are it won't be a good, long-term fit. Have I taken it for a test run? Don't make a decision before trying it out yourself. Personal evaluation will also better equip you to market the product, or service to customers.

Look for the value that new trends, products and treatments provide in keeping your spa at the cutting edge and keeping your clientele impressed with the services you offer. The best trends are the ones that are more substance than flash—and with a smart investment, your new offering may become one of your top sellers.