Archive for the ‘Business Tips’ Category

Tips for Scoring a Winning Smile

In recent years, I’ve been hearing more and more about spas offering teeth-whitening services, which makes a lot of sense to me. It’s a great revenue-generating option that can be performed during a facial or makeup application. It easily adds to your spa’s bottom line, and whiter teeth make clients look younger and refreshed. As such, we’re highlighting spa teeth whitening in our October issue in an article called “Show Me Your Teeth.” (Here’s hoping all you fellow Lady Gaga lovers will appreciate the reference). Be sure to keep your eye out for American Spa in October. In the meantime, I thought I would pass some great tips from Dr. Alex Gause, D.D.S., from Smile Design Manhattan, who has some handy teeth whitening tips to help keep your clients’ smiles bright as they move into fall. Be sure to pass along his suggestions.

  1. Replace your normal mouthwash with a rinse that adds a whitening benefit, or carry a whitening pen with you that can be applied after meals or drinks that may cause staining.
  2. Cool those drinks down! Sipping hot coffee leads to this major stain causing agent to sit on your teeth for a longer period of time than necessary. An alternative is to drink iced coffee, or iced tea, through a straw.  This bypasses those front teeth that you use to present your face to the world while still giving you that jolt of caffeine that you need to start your day or keep you going after lunch.
  3. Monitor your eating habits. We all know the idea that eating candy leads to cavities, but the relationship between diet and dental health is more complicated. The simple act of eating causes an increase in acidity in the oral cavity, which contributes to the breakdown of enamel. The good news is that our body, through saliva, naturally counteracts this. Eating more frequently lengthens the time that our teeth are exposed to an acidic environment, putting them more at risk of decay. The take home message—frequent snacking can cause higher risk for tooth decay.
  4. Brush before bed. Don’t fall to the temptation to just fall asleep. During the night our mouths produce less of the saliva that is our natural defense against decay and gum disease.  Forgetting to brush means plaque and bacteria have a better environment to wreak havoc on our teeth and gums.
  5. No Smoking! In our image-conscious society, smoking has recently become popular as an appetite suppressant, or in other words, a way to keep the pounds off. But this approach compromises the beauty and health of your teeth and gums in an effort to stay trim. Smoking is one of the worst contributors to surface staining that we are aware of, and is a recognized risk factor to the development of periodontal disease, a disease that eats away at your gums and bones supporting your teeth. As an alternative to cigarettes, try controlling your appetite with healthy alternative such as fruits, nuts, and water.

UC Irvine Extension Offers Free Webinar

Those looking to integrate wellness into your service offerings should mark Tuesday, June 21, on your calendar. From 11A.M.-12 P.M.(PST), UC Irvine Extension will be holding a free webinar titled “The Path to Wellness in Spas.” During the hour, Joanne Berry, director of spa education and recruitment for Bellus Academy will discuss new qualifications being offered at the academy in health and wellness. The interactive planning session will also include pre-registration advisement for those who are interested in UC Irvine Extension’s Spa and Hospitality Management program. To find out more and register, click here.

Boom Boom Offers Tips for Avoiding
Bleached Brows This Summer

As a spa editor, I am regaled on a daily basis with news, press releases, and products that promote saving the skin from the ravages of the sun. But today, I was brought up to speed on something I never thought to save from the sun’s rays—eyebrows. According to Malynda Vigliotti, owner of New York City’s Boom Boom Brow Bar, fun in the sun can lead to bleached out brows, making eyebrow tinting a must-have service for summer. “It’s true, people come in all the time with bleached out brows, even one lighter than the other from the sun always hitting and bleaching out the same brow when they’re driving. It’s not pretty, but it can be fixed with a simple tinting,” she says.

Vigliotti advises her summertime clients to go a little bolder (but not too dark) when tinting their brows and to match color to skin and hair undertones. She also suggests advising clients to use a brow powder on a daily basis for added definition and boldness. (Her favs are her Boom Boom Brow Boostiers brow powders). I thought this was a great idea for updating your spa menu as we head into this steamy time of year. What are you doing to encourage clients to head to the spa for summer? Share your tips here!

Show Spa-Goers You Care With
Sweet Valentine’s Day Spa Specials

This year, I’m circumventing the usual fuss that surrounds Valentine’s Day and heading to Antarctica on a 10-day cruise. While that may sound extreme, it certainly takes the pressure off of planning something extravagant. However, if I wasn’t headed to the one region of the world without any spas, then I’d certainly take advantage of the many romantic spa escapes offered this coming Valentine’s Day. According to the ISPA 2010 Industry Study, 64 percent of spas reported offering couples’ massages. Another 44 percent offered a special package for couples. “Time spent relaxing and reconnecting with your loved one at the spa is the perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day,” says International SPA Association Lynne McNees. “Instead of the usual flowers and chocolates, why not focus on improving your Valentine’s overall health at the spa. The benefits of a spa experience will last well beyond February 14.” If you want to do something truly special for your clients this year, take a hint from the following spas:

  • The Lodge at Woodloch (Hawley, PA) is offering a Chocolate Manicure ($65, 50 minutes) or Pedicure ($85, 50 minutes) as a way for clients to treat their significant others.
  • Guests can enjoy the Side-By-Side Massage ($230, 60 minutes) with the one that they love at Oasis Day Spa (New York City).
  • At The Spa at Terranea (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA), couples can opt for the Loving Touch in-room spa package ($250, 75 minutes). It teaches massage techniques that can be practiced at home and includes a rose petal bubble bath and champagne.

5 Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

Though we are in the business of helping our clients relax, it’s my experience that those of us behind the scenes in the spa industry have pretty stressful lives. Add the holidays to the mix, and you’ve got a group of people in need of some serious chilling out. To help you out, Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine (McLean, VA), has provided a list of helpful tips for beating your seasonal stress.

  1. Do less. While it is the season when people tend to want to go overboard doing for others, you should back away from that impulse. Say “yes” too often, and you may get overwhelmed. Simply tell some people “no,” and share the load by delegating where possible.
  2. Live simply. While you may be bombarded by ads to Buy! Buy! Buy!, you can choose not to participate and add that stress to your holiday season. Skip the shopping, opt for a few homemade gifts, and spend quality time with those you love. And your credit cards will thank you come January!
  3. Slow down.  Maintaining your normal routine as much as possible during the holidays can help to ease stress. We are creatures of habit, and when our routine is off we feel the sting. Find a good book, and read in bed.
  4. Find outlets. Everyone needs healthy outlets or ways of discharging pent-up emotional and physical tension. Consider calling a friend to vent, journaling about your feelings, taking an exercise class, or enjoying a long bubble bath.
  5. Take care. It is especially important during stressful times to take good care of your body. During this holiday season, make wise nutritional choices; get plenty of exercise; and do things that will help restore your energy, such as meditating, or getting a massage. Loving touch heals the body and the mind.

“It is important to do all of these things throughout the year, but especially during the more stressful holiday period,” says Kaplan. “By taking care of yourself and taking steps to decrease your stress level, you can also help fend off illness.”

Oasis Day Spa Builds Business by Going Off-Site

‘Tis the season for pop-up stores. Capitalizing on that idea, Oasis Day Spa (New York City and Westchester) is boosting business by taking its services outside of the spa. It provides estheticians, massage therapists, nail technicians, and hair and makeup artists for private parties, in-store promotions, sales meetings, and more across the country. One of its off-site clients even refers to it as “Re-Fresh Direct.” With the holidays upon us, it’s the perfect opportunity to take your spa to those who are too busy to make it there on their own.

Healthy Turkey Day Tips from Aqua Star Spa

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. For most people, that means time with friends, family, and food. Indeed, it’s easy to overindulge when presented with endless arrays of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, eggnog, and more. But you don’t need to completely nix your healthy lifestyle plans. Here, take some tips from Brooke Capshaw, spa director at Aqua Star Spa at The Beverly Hilton (Beverly Hills, CA), who provides you with some ideas for enjoying the holiday without completely destroying your diet.

  1. Don’t skip meals. This backfires because you come to the next meal over hungry and eat more than intended.
  2. Fill up on lower calorie, nutrient dense foods such as fruits, veggies, popcorn, and lean cold cuts on whole grain bread.
  3. Make just one trip to the party buffet.
  4. Use a plate for even the smallest snack–you’ll eat less.
  5. Get outside!
  6. Beware of liquid calories-eggnog, beer soda, and wine. They go down so easy and often do not add much nutrition to your intake.
  7. Write a list of things to do other than to eat (such as take a walk, call a friend or do some dreaded cleaning)
  8. Be realistic: trying to lose weight during the holidays is a silly idea!
  9. When you arrive at a party, avoid rushing to the food. Greet people you know, conversation is calorie-free!
  10. Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods or feeling guilty when you do enjoy them isn’t a healthful eating strategy.

What are you doing to stay healthy this Thanksgiving and beyond? Share you comments here, and help us spread some healthy holiday cheer.

Is Your Spa Operating Outside the Law
With Its In-Room Treatments?

In the September issue of American Spa, I took a look at how many spas are offering in-room treatments in an effort to maximize space, expand their spa’s influence, or offer guests yet another experience in “Room to Spa.” What I failed to mention, however, was the legal and regulatory issues that pertain to in-room spa treatments. As Conan D. Owen, president of Relax & Rejuvenate, which offers on-site spa treatments nationwide, points out, “Many states, including CA, FL, GA, MA, MD, and MI prohibit skincare or nailcare services being performed outside of a licensed facility. A poolside mani/pedi in Miami may sound inviting, but it is grounds for the nail technician and the spa to lose their license. Plenty of spas offer such services, even tout them on their websites despite being illegal. MA is one of the strictest, whereby any act that is performed by a cosmetologist can only be performed in the confines of a licensed cosmo establishment. Legally, a bride can’t get her hair and makeup done in a hotel room in MA.” So, if your spa offers in-room treatments, make sure it’s in compliance with your state’s Board of Cosmetology regulations.

The Great Discounting Debate

In our September issue, I wrote a piece on the subject of Groupons. In addition to benefiting myself from the power of collective purchasing, I also found several spa owners singing the praises of this new phenomenon. However, in the last month or so, I’ve also come across several spa owners firm in their beliefs that such discounting ultimately undermines their businesses, or at the very least, doesn’t appear to deliver the boost in business that it promises. Earlier this week, I received the following email detailing such a scenario:

Hi Heather,

I was just reading your article under the heading “Let’s Make a Deal” in the September issue of American Spa magazine. Although I think that this column is eloquently written, I think some issues about Groupon should be explored in regards to profitability. Just as an example, if we offer a 60-minute Swedish massage regularly priced at $70 for 50 percent off at $35, and we pay commission on this amount at possibly 45 percent, which amounts to $15.75, that leaves a gross profit of $19.25. Now let’s not forget that we have to give Groupon 50 percent of the service selling price of $35.00, which is $17.50, which leaves $1.75 as net. If one does not mind this small profit margin, we need to think about how much are the cost of products (massage oil, etc) to perform this service. Also, we need to allocate a portion of our general overhead expenses (electricity, rent, reception, payroll taxes, etc). An additional concern should be that our experienced massage practitioners will not be too happy with a gross commission of $15.75 before income taxes. Also, take into consideration that assuming we sell 300 Groupons, which from our experience with gift certificates, 60 percent will be redeemed in the first 60 days, taking full-paying client spa capacity away, you have a logistical, a financial, and a staff dissatisfaction problem on your hands. Client retention from Groupons is also iffy, as this  offer can be found and repeated at other spas, making it unlikely that repeat business at full price will occur. Don’t forget that the customer who purchases a Groupon is a savvy consumer and could also be one of your previous full-paying repeat clients.


Heinz Mikulka

We’d love to hear your thoughts about Groupons as well as any experiences you’ve had with the discount website. And feel free to also give us your take on discounting in general. Have you found ways to do it that aren’t at the expense of your bottom line?

Guidance From the IRS on the New Tanning Tax

Anyone familiar with Snooki, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, or any of the other roomies from MTV’s hit reality series, “Jersey Shore,” knows that tanning is as popular as ever for some. Unfortunately for spas, salons, and other businesses offering ultraviolet tanning services, a new tanning tax went into effect on July 1 stipulating that they must collect a 10 percent excise tax as part of the Affordable Care Act, enacted in March. If you’re still a bit confused about what this may mean for your business, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offers some guidance on the topic:

  • Businesses must collect the tax at the time the customer pays for the tanning services. If the customer doesn’t pay the excise tax, the tanning service provider must pay it.
  • The tax does not apply to spray-on services or tanning offered as an incidental service, without a separately identifiable fee, to members of certain qualified fitness facilities.
  • If a customer buys other goods and services when paying for tanning, a business does not need to collect the excise tax on those other items provided that they are separately stated and the charges do not exceed the fair market value for those items. However, if the charges are not separately stated, a business should collect the tax on the amount that is reasonably attributable to the tanning services.
  • A gift certificate for unspecified services is not subject to tax when it is purchased. If the recipient uses the gift certificate for tanning services, the provider will collect the tanning excise tax at that time.
  • Tanning service providers must report and pay the excise tax in full on a quarterly basis. The first quarterly return and payment, due Nov. 1, 2010, covers taxes collected during July, August, and September. To report and pay the tax, a business must have an Employer Identification Number assigned by the IRS and must file IRS Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return. Businesses that do not already have an EIN can apply for one at Business that do not file and pay the tax by the quarterly due date may be subject to a penalty.

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