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FALL 2019


Mareel Wellness

& Beauty


BRANDING, EXPANDING & RENOVATIONS Expert advice, practical tips

Next-level equipment Publications Mail NO. 40026342



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spa news

The all-new Esencia Spa is nestled in Costa Rica’s rainforest, Förena Thermal City will be one of the largest spas in Canada and a new survey says happiness and kindness are among the most important beauty traits



13 steps for a successful spa makeover


science of the spa

Dr. Gloria Wong explains the ins and outs of renovations


spa light

Luxury cruise line Cunard recently launched Mareel Wellness & Beauty, a holistic spa concept – on the ocean


spa business

How to achieve retail excellence and profits


in the know

12 Six success strategies from spa industry insiders


fresh & new

Treatments and technology to modernize your spa, from a water treatment bed to a virtual reality meditation headset


spa star

Groupe Nordik CEO Martin Paquette shares his business journey


25 20 Cover photo: Mareel Wellness & Beauty

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between us

one size

fit all

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ifferent spas can have distinctly different goals and modes of operating – maybe one is on the verge of expanding nationally, while another is shifting its focus to product development and retailing, while another is in the early days of launching its first location. These business owners have unique needs, but some of the basic principles are the same: They each need a solid, well thought-out plan that covers marketing, revenue and branding. Every business needs a clear vision of where it is headed, and how to get there. What works for one spa might not apply to another – it depends on who your customer is, where you’re located, what services you offer and many other factors. Even if there isn’t a magic bullet that guarantees success, Spa Inc. helps point the way by sharing the advice and experiences of others in the industry; that’s why we’re focusing on several angles of business growth in this issue, from renovations to retailing. In “6 Success Strategies” (p.14), we asked a variety of spa industry insiders for their insights, and almost every time they pointed at customers as the source of their success. “Consumers today are smart and know who they are and what they want,” explains Alex Basso, vice president of marketing for Mynd Spa & Salon (the rebranded Red Door). “A brand must be an extension of its consumers’ belief system and stand for something more than just a product – there needs to be an emotional connection.” Connection is an interesting word – it’s the motivation behind so many things we do; if we didn’t crave connection, social media probably wouldn’t exist. As your connection to the Canadian spa and wellness community, Spa Inc. knows the importance of sharing information, and with most of our communication being digital these days, we knew our website was due for a makeover – so, at the same time that we were producing this issue, we also relaunched! We hope you like our renovation, and as this decade races to a close, we are excited to see what the Popi Bowman future of the spa industry holds. We’ll be there every MANAGING EDITOR step of the way.

Check us out online @SpaIncMag

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FA L L 2 0 1 9

ISSN 1710 -1727 Volume 16, Number 3

Publisher Susan A. Browne

Managing Popi Bowman Editor Art Katrina Teimo Director

Contributors Ildi Arlette Jana Manolakos Kashish Hura

Director Beth Kukkonen of Sales

Senior Account Edith Dhillon Executive 905.707.3525

Director Stephanie Wilson of Marketing

VP of Roberta Dick Production

Production Crystal Himes Manager

Published four times a year by: Dovetail Communications Inc. President: Susan A. Browne Tel: 905.886.6640 Fax: 905.886.6615 Email: SUBSCRIPTIONS AND RETURNS 30 East Beaver Creek Rd, Suite 202 Richmond Hill, Ontario L4B 1J2 PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40026342 Legal Deposit – National Library of Canada. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced, in all or in part, without the written permission of the publisher. Dovetail Communications Inc. cannot be held responsible for any losses or other damages incurred by readers in reliance on information appearing in Spa Inc. Spa Inc. and Dovetail Communications Inc. do not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement and any and all representations or warranties made in such advertising. Spa Inc. will review unsolicited submissions (hard copy or digital texts, photos or illustrations) for editorial consideration but does not guarantee their publication. The submitted material may be used without consent or payment. One-year subscription: Canada $25, U.S. $39. Single copies: $6. Please add GST/HST where applicable. PRINTED IN CANADA

Printed on paper with 10% post-consumer waste. This magazine is recyclable. Please recycle where facilities exist.

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spa news

Paradise found – and improved On a private, 500-acre reserve in Costa Rica, the first Relais & Château destination in Central America is undergoing a property-wide upgrade, with the initial phase already completed. At El Silencio Lodge & Spa, 15 newly refreshed luxury suites opened in advance of this year’s high season, while additional improvements are continuing until mid-2020. The renovation includes a new spa, updated multi-bedroom suites and villas plus an on-site hydroelectric system that provides 100 percent of the resort’s electrical needs. El Silencio has earned a maximum Five-Leaf Rating in Costa Rica’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism. The property includes a 5,000-sq.ft. organic greenhouse, free-range chickens and trout ponds to supply its Las Ventanas Restaurant. All accommodations feature private outdoor decks with heated jacuzzis, and floorto-ceiling glass doors with views of the forest. The resort’s Esencia Spa is situated in the middle of the rainforest, next to a creek and a hummingbird garden, with an al fresco yoga deck that hosts private and group classes. A choice of more than 10 massages includes clay, stone, chocolate and mom-to-be therapies, plus a “meditation duet” for two providing 30 minutes of exfoliation and a one-hour aromatherapy massage, accompanied by wine and dessert. Body wraps, facials (using nature-based Germaine de Capuccini products), a hair mask, mani-pedis and body waxing provide head-to-toe pampering – while visitors are immersed in nature.

Defining beauty In a recent “What is Beauty?” survey by Ipsos, confidence was rated as the most attractive trait in men (by both men and women). In rating a woman’s beauty, the results were close: women said happiness was most important, while men rated kindness first, and happiness second (confidence landed in the top five, in both cases). Women ranked “appearance of skin” considerably higher than men did, but surprisingly, “makeup/cosmetics” ranked last on all lists. Consistently, physical traits were valued less than wisdom, humour, intelligence and other personality traits. The full report can be viewed at:

Förena Thermal City opening this winter A new thermal spa at the foot of Mont Saint-Bruno National Park, about 30 minutes outside Montreal, will be one of the largest spas in the country when it opens this December. Covering more than 600,000 sq.ft., the facilities will include beauty and massage treatment areas, indoor and outdoor pools and, when its second phase of development is completed, a hotel, restaurant and various pavilions.

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The 2019 Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards will be announced soon! The winners will be featured in our next issue, and be sure to check for updates.



E X P E R I E N C E T H E R E S T O R AT I V E P O W E R S O F S N O W M U S H R O O M, B I R C H W AT E R, A N D R E I S H I M U S H R O O M.

If you are interested in partnering with Éminence, an award-winning natural, organic and Biodynamic® skin care line, call 1-888-747-6342 or visit

spa light

Taking (to) the



s one of the world’s oldest cruise lines (and owner of the ill-fated Titanic), Cunard is known for classic elegance and setting the gold standard for world travel. The exclusive Cunard fleet travels throughout the world – including to the Caribbean, Asia, Dubai, South Africa, Australia and Iceland – with ship tours lasting a few days to several months; the company also recently relaunched its Alaska tours, with roundtrip voyages originating in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., between June and September. Established as a weekly transatlantic ocean crossing service in 1840 by Canadian entrepreneur Sir Samuel Cunard, the Cunard Line was the only shipping company to continue regularly scheduled transatlantic crossings by ocean liner after the 1970s, and it was the first-ever cruise line to offer an ocean-going spa, which opened in 1981. Canyon Ranch became Cunard’s wellness partner with its first branded spa in 2004 on the Queen Mary 2, and it now operates spas on more than 20 vessels with the cruise line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation. After more than a decade on the seas, it was only natural that a spa rebrand was overdue; late last year, in collaboration with Canyon Ranch, Cunard launched a new holistic spa concept, Mareel Wellness & Beauty, named after the Norse term for phosphorescence (or, translated literally, “sea fire”). Four Mareel spas will be completed by 2022 – when Cunard’s newest ship sets sail. Now operating from 8 am to 8 pm daily on the freshly renovated Queen Elizabeth ocean liner (and also on the Queen Victoria ship, with the Queen Mary 2 following in late 2020), the redesigned spa features 22 treatment rooms in an expanse of 20,000 square feet that includes an aqua therapy pool, aromatic steam room, cedar-lined Finnish sauna and “sensory showers” with customized fibre-optic lighting and built-in aromatherapy. A comprehensive menu of spa services includes acupuncture, reflexology, gait analysis, makeup lessons, men’s grooming, complimentary wellness workshops (some of which are available on the stateroom TVs) and a choice of more than a dozen massage packages, incorporating Swedish, Balinese, Hawaiian, Thai and Ayurvedic techniques. To facilitate seaweed soaks, a couples spa suite includes an oversized bath for two. A meditation room is equipped with acoustic resonance loungers for full-body relaxation, while every treatment room also includes sound therapy facilities. Mareel also offers a variety of themed spa packages. During the Alaska tours, a 2.5-hour wellness experience comprises an outdoor meditation session, guided stretching, a facial and full-body exfoliation, massage, Alaskan glacial mud wrap and seaweed bath. As its name implies, the Mareel spa is inspired by 8 S p a Inc. | Fall 2 019

spa light

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spa light the ocean, so many seaweed-based treatments are offered using the organic, sustainably harvested Voya line (an Irish company best known for its seaweed baths). In keeping with the spa’s natureinspired theme, a new range of luxury products including Red Flower, Shankara and Environ were selected based on socially responsible production techniques using organic, wild-picked and toxin-free ingredients. Cunard tours include stops in Quebec and Halifax, and a yearly Transatlantic Fashion Week cruise takes passengers from Southampton, England, to New York while enjoying fashion shows and seminars with some of the fashion world’s well-known names. Knowing that its clientele is well travelled, Cunard is ensuring that its spa experience matches the reputation that it promises, as a repeat winner of “World’s Best” awards from Travel + Leisure (among many other accolades).

Accept WaySpa Gift Cards and WELCOME YOUR NEW CUSTOMERS! Boost your exposure with a free mini-site Take advantage of marketing opportunities Drive traffic to your spa

CONTACT RAFIK AT: Or visit: 10 S pa Inc. | Fall 2 019 / 1 800 929 7723 ext 2

spa business





hat are we going to do with all of this?” is a question that’s been asked by many in the aesthetics industry as they stand in front of a full shelf of product, or as they unbox their most recent delivery. Product sales are one of the best sources of extra revenue for your business. It’s also one of the biggest revenue sources that is underestimated and overlooked, so it typically underperforms. It’s a vicious cycle: You meet a product rep, attend a trade show or hear about a product that promises high sales, marketing support and makes you feel like this is the break you’ve been waiting for. You’re excited, and so is your team. You place an opening order, it arrives, you fill your shelves and then… you wait. You might experience some sales at first and then, crickets. The product lingers, sales are low and interest from your staff and clients gets stale. What happened? This experience can leave even the most seasoned owners and managers feeling disillusioned or discouraged about investing in products. Imagine a different scenario: In addition to your menu of services as a source of revenue, what if you added products that enhanced your clients’ experience of your spa or brand even after they leave your establishment? This is exactly what a carefully selected range of products can do, along with creating a new, continuous source of revenue. In my travels and work with spas, salons and clinics across Canada, I’ve gathered some best practices that businesses of any size and style can start implementing today. 12 S pa Inc. | Fall 2 019

1. Adopt a retail mindset Make the switch: Instead of thinking about products, think about retail. Treating products with a retail mindset versus a product mindset is everything. Here’s why: When you think “products,” your focus is going into inventory, categories, ingredients, staff training, client education and asking questions like, “What would sell best?” These are all important to consider and have a place in your business, but most professionals are already great at knowing their product lines and memorizing ingredients. Now, watch what happens when you think about retail: Your focus shifts to goal setting, displays and visual appeal, merchandising, how clients buy, why they buy and the overall client experience. You may be asking, “Do you want me to turn my spa into a store?” My answer is: Your clients already see your spa as a “store.” It’s a place they chose to buy/shop by investing their time and money into their wellness, appearance, relaxation and overall well-being. So, it would make sense to have a full range of ways to meet these needs and retain your clients’ time and money, rather than allowing them to seek and purchase products elsewhere. 2. Follow the rules of retail When it comes to being profitable with product sales, here are two of my favourite rules of retail that top spas, salons and clinics follow: Eye level is buy level. This is a basic principle that you, as a consumer, experience every day. Display your products at eye level

spa business

or risk having them blend in and get completely missed. Being mindful of your client’s experience, most of their time at your business is spent sitting, waiting or relaxing in a service. Use lower shelving in reception areas or try creating a cluster of products on a mirrored tray to display testers (which need daily maintenance to be kept immaculately clean at all times!). Avoid the “wall of product,” including taking all or most of the inventory and lining them up or stacking them in any way. Seeing too much product on a shelf sends a message to the client that “there is plenty” and they don’t need to buy now. Instead, consider using existing shelf space for signage that clearly states the product category and/or what solutions it may provide. For example, use category headings such as: hydrate, moisturize, peel, relax, energize. Try it to buy it. Mystery shoppers report being 82 percent more likely to purchase a product after reading a label. Product packaging does so much of the explaining and educating for us – so let the label do its job. Consider having a large-print version of the label for your five top-selling products and watch what happens. Note: If your client samples the product via a tester, the likelihood of purchase climbs to 90+ percent.* Consider having a small, designated area as a tester bar. Feature products by rotating them weekly or monthly, or feature a single product with the sign “Best Seller” and be ready with inventory to sell. A client recently implemented this practice to the tune of increasing product sales from an average of $800/ week to $2,600/week and has maintained those results for 18 months. 3. Being picky earns you more Most spas and salons carry too many product lines. It’s confusing for your team and especially for your clients. Strategically selecting your inventory and being thoughtful about your retail offerings results in a better client experience and higher sales. It seems counterintuitive to shrink your product selection, and yet expecting to sell more strictly by carrying more products has long been proven untrue. Take, for example, SmartSpa:** In 2006, this 12-employee spa carried 12 product lines with sales of $156,000. In 2011, they curated their product lines to only six and increased sales to $323,000; in 2015, they reduced to three product lines and their sales were $547,000. 4. Integrate products into your consultations I’ve saved the best for last! Too often, product suggestions end up being an afterthought in the client experience. You perform a great treatment and somewhere at the end of the encounter, you say, “And by the way, we have this great product you may want to try.” By far the most effective way to increase your revenue through retail sales is to incorporate the product recommendations directly into your client flow, meaning somewhere in the treatment. While this

consultation process can be done in a more formal assessment appointment, it can also happen in a five- to 10-minute pretreatment assessment of what their major areas of concern are and inquiring as to what products they are currently using and their level of satisfaction with these products. Professionals sell solutions, not products or services. Consider this success story: A busy salon/spa had average product sales, meaning they hovered within the same two- to five-percent increase year over year. They changed their scheduling slightly to allow for a five- to 10-minute consultation process to ask a few well-crafted questions that helped each service provider learn vital information about their client’s concerns and goals. Their product sales jumped an average of 24 percent year over year from 2015 to 2018. When it comes to incorporating retail products in their appointments, service providers too often expect a client’s “no.” Remember, clients want products that will prolong or enhance the service or treatment they’ve just had. Having a strong retail plan in your business not only sets you apart from your competition, it will increase staff engagement. Imagine having extra cash flow to continually replenish your stock, or what it would be like to use product revenue towards your payroll costs or travel and education for you or your staff. It’s possible. TO DO: Start clean. Take all products off the shelf and clean the shelves. Remove everything that has expired and vow to never let it happen again. Pull what’s going to expire in the next three months and focus on selling those using the tips above. Make room for new items! Stay tuned: In the next issue of Spa Inc., we’ll focus on more strategies to boost your retail sales.

Ildi Arlette created her company, Results Continuum Inc., in 1994 as a premier consulting, training and HR company. Since 2004, she has specialized in consulting with Canada’s top dermatology, plastic surgery, spas, retail, cosmetic, medical and dental clinics to increase their business results by catalyzing patient service and levels of employee engagement. Ildi has developed and delivered customized business plans, training sessions and workshops while acting as a trusted consultant to over 90 top Canadian and American cosmetic clinics. She is an awardwinning business leader including Top 40 Under 40 and multiple nominations for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards. Ildi also was recently nominated for the 2019 Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Award (A.W.E.). *Data from Results Continuum Inc, Service Audit Data, 2010 – 2016, Canadian spas and clinics. **Name changed.

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from industry insiders How to bolster your brand



romoting your spa or product isn’t just about plastering your logo around town or paying an ad agency to flog your name. We asked some industry veterans – spas, distributors and marketers – for their insights into successful branding. Collectively, they told us that the client is king… or queen. Simply put, your clients define your brand; success depends on what they think of your business and how they spread that message. Building trust and enhancing your brand’s reputation is an ever-evolving process that even a well-known business needs to consider. The following strategies will help lead the way. 1. SOMETIMES EVEN AN ESTABLISHED BRAND NEEDS A FACELIFT This summer, after more than 100 years in business, The Red Door Salon & Spa announced it was

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undergoing a comprehensive rebrand, including changing its name to Mynd Spa & Salon. As part of the transformation, all of its locations (26 throughout the U.S.) will be renovated by next year. For Alex Basso, vice president of marketing, the strategy is to retain existing customers while attracting new ones, by honing in on – and refining – the brand’s identity. “Consumers today are smart and know who they are and what they want. A brand must be an extension of its consumers’ belief system and stand for something more than just a product – there needs to be an emotional connection,” Basso explains. “Over the services. So what type past several years, The Red Door had been losing relevancy in the of man makes up this marketplace. We realized it was time for a change.” growing market segment? Spa The company discovered that much of who it is and what it owner Aharon Trottier says the typical male spa-goer doesn’t does was not understood by potential customers. “We are a enjoy being on display, especially when it comes to personal service company focused on the self-care experience, rather than grooming. That’s why assessments and services are performed in just a beauty company focused on external appearance,” Basso private treatment rooms, where clients can enjoy privacy while says. “In a world where self-care is more vital than ever, it was feeling free to ask questions. important for us to become the most authentic version of “We live in a world that does not prioritize a man’s skincare ourselves, and the most important part of that is in how we make and grooming. Most men go their entire lives not knowing how to our guests feel, shifting our focus to overall well-being. Mynd properly shave or treat their skin,” Trottier explains. “These are helps each guest discover personalized self-care that’s uniquely men who need a space to call their own in the spa world. We no right for them.” longer wanted men to awkwardly wedge themselves beside a While maintaining the core of The Red Door’s philosophy – group of women getting their Saturday afternoon mani-pedis.” caring for its guests – Mynd Spa & Salon represents an evolution With most esthetic schools spending only a few hours in of the original brand. “A great deal of work was put into revamping training to work with men, Bodé places all employees through an and curating a best-of-the-best product portfolio,” Basso adds, intensive six- to eight-week course and provides ongoing training “including Rodial, Delilah, Babor and Dr. Dennis Gross, that are on how to serve a male clientele. From the decor and spa all socially responsible and environmentally friendly.” amenities to having robes and sandals that fit any size, everything Recognizing that self-care journeys are unique and everhas been designed with a man’s comfort in mind. “We’re even changing, the company is focusing on tailoring its services to the equipped with wider massage tables and chairs, so you no longer specific needs of its clients. “We’re not here to define self-care for need to feel like you’re our guests, or to provide them with a invading a woman’s space,” preplanned product or service,” says Trottier. Basso emphasizes. “We ask our To enhance your brand, he guests to be unapologetic about who Know who you are, what your suggests, “know who you are, they are and what they need.” what your value proposition value proposition is, who your is, who your clientele is, what 2. ENHANCE YOUR BUSINESS clientele is, what makes you makes you unique, how you BY UNDERSTANDING are better than your YOUR CUSTOMER unique, how you are better than competitor and what your About 14 years ago, Toronto’s Bodé your competitor and what your core values are as a business.” Spa opened its doors as Canada’s Once these key points are first spa dedicated entirely to men – core values are as a business. identified, other marketing providing personal grooming, stress – Aharon Trottier, owner, Toronto’s Bodé Spa efforts will be supported by management and educational

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your overall vision, whether it’s a logo or website design, deciding what types of promotions to offer and other strategies. Bodé also prioritizes its online presence. “Have a website that is easy to navigate and provides all the information that a client might want to know,” Trottier recommends. He also points to research that suggests 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as their friends. “We ask our clients for feedback, and use their feedback to evaluate strategies currently in place and to create new ones. The majority of the feedback and reviews we have are high praise. We know we are succeeding because sales are increasing every year and our clients are happy.” 3. HAVE A CLEARLY DEFINED PURPOSE THAT SERVES YOUR CUSTOMERS’ NEEDS Mindbody is a leading global provider of business management software and online scheduling for the health and wellness industry. Established in 2001, it now serves tens of millions of consumers worldwide, and attracted a $1.9 billion investment in late 2018. There’s a good reason for the company’s success: While Mindbody offers an integrated software and payments platform for businesses, its app is positioned as a pathway to self-care for consumers, who can book a wide variety of wellness offerings such as fitness classes, salon and spa services, and integrative health appointments like acupuncture and chiropractic care. Josh Todd, the company’s chief marketing officer, says, “We truly believe that we are changing the way fitness, beauty and wellness fit together in today’s world. Our work matters because we have a clearly defined purpose of connecting the world to wellness.” So how did Mindbody determine its brand and differentiate itself from competitors? Todd says it begins with who the company serves. “Our customers are passionate entrepreneurs who are working to change the world in their own unique way. And that’s the core of who we are. We serve all of the dimensions of wellness – from the physical, to the emotional, to the spiritual. Our brand needs to encapsulate all aspects of wellness because we know how personal an individual’s journey can be.” At press time, Mindbody was on the verge of launching a national advertising campaign designed to drive more consumers into the marketplace through app downloads and engagement; inevitably, the businesses that use Mindbody will benefit directly from this campaign. “We basically get a two-for-one,” Todd explains. “By advertising to consumers, we are able to drive more business for our customers. And the stronger our customers’ businesses are, the more they are able to leverage all of the benefits of our platform. It’s a marketer’s dream when your outcomes and success are so tightly aligned with the success of the amazing customers we serve.” By developing a streamlined service portal to connect

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Our customers are passionate entrepreneurs who are working to change the world in their own unique way. And that’s the core of who we are. We serve all of the dimensions of wellness – from the physical, to the emotional, to the spiritual. – Josh Todd, Chief Marketing Officer, Mindbody

businesses with customers, Mindbody has secured its success – but, as Todd admits, the company is constantly refining its product: “We are always looking at innovative ways to add additional value to our customers. A big component of developing a reputable brand rests in continually scaling your operations.” For example, the company offers a customer engagement and retention tool that is continuously being refined. “Through our marketing suite, we help salons and spas rescue lost customers by sending customized emails and alerts using an AI-driven formula with the intent of driving them back to the business,” Todd says. Based on previous bookings, the email contains their preferred days and times of the week in which they book appointments, and it comes with a discounted offer to return to the business at their convenience. “The key is providing a consistent consumer experience that leverages all of the information you have on your customers to drive customized and personalized experiences that increase revenue.” 4. ONLY EFFECTIVE MARKETING PRODUCES REVENUE, SO FOCUS ON SALES FIRST Think Basis is a Toronto-based marketing and business consultancy that works with plastic surgeons and medi-spas in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Europe. It helped push Skin Vitality, a well-known nonsurgical medical clinic, into the number one spot as Canada’s largest provider of Botox, Juvederm, Coolsculpting and several other services. CEO and founder Nick Dumitru (also the author of How To Be a Cut Above Your Competitors) is a passionate champion of entrepreneurship: “We’re not in the business of selling websites or marketing services. We’re in the business of growing practices, and we do what needs to be done to get you there. That’s what sets us apart.” He believes branding is a misunderstood term and that it’s wrong to think you can “build” a brand. “A brand is born out of doing good business,” Dumitru explains. “If you don’t have clients choosing you by voting with their wallet, you don’t have a brand – all you have is a logo and some self delusion. Instead of »

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you go after. Since measurement and testing is important, digital advertising is one of the fastest ways to grow. But you can be just as successful with radio and TV if you already know your message and can track your conversions. If you don’t have that nailed down, then start in the medium that allows you to safely test and hone your message before spending big on things like radio, TV, print and other mediums,” Dumitru says. “Income is the only real measure of success for any marketing campaign. If you can point to revenue and say it was generated by your marketing at a profit, then your marketing is a success.” 5. IF CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES ARE HAPPY, PROFITS WILL FOLLOW DermaSpark might not be well known to spa customers, but contrary to typical promotional thinking, the company likes it that way. As the only Canada-wide distributor for big-name spa » focusing on your brand, you should focus on your client. If equipment manufacturers like Dermaroller, Pollogen and you’re not making sales, you’re not in business. If you’re not in Freezpen, the company sees itself as a supporting actor in a spa’s business, you don’t stand a chance of building a brand. Once you marketing playbook. DermaSpark’s mission is to help its make a sale, give that client a reason to talk about you and give customers choose the best equipment to grow their business. birth to your brand.” Company president Moshe ben Schlomo says that as a familyAs he notes, most spas don’t have the budget to do “brand owned business, DermaSpark doesn’t need to report profits to building.” Instead of investing in marketing, Dumitru says, “If shareholders; the true bottom line isn’t about dollars, it’s about you want to kick up your brand, do yourself a favour and put the the relationship with customers, and their happiness. “I want to revenue-generating activities in place first, so you can fund make sure that not only is everybody making money and the your advertising and grow your presence in the market from company is profitable – profitability is essential, otherwise we those efforts.” become a charity organization – but the other thing is to make In shaping a market strategy, Think Basis begins by helping its sure we are happy with what we do, even though it may cut into clients answer a fundamental question: Why should your client our profitability.” His comment echoes numerous business choose you over other options? “Sometimes, just being better is studies that show how boosting your employees’ happiness leads good enough to get you traction in the market,” Dumitru admits. to greater customer satisfaction “We take all of our clients through and an increase to your bottom a process of determining the line. DermaSpark differentiates right answers to that critical itself from other companies question. It gives clear focus to If you don’t have clients choosing through its commitment to the all your marketing efforts moving you by voting with their wallet, happiness of its employees, forward.” you don’t have a brand – all you partners and customers. For ben He also asserts that there’s no Schlomo, that brand experience right answer to where you should have is a logo and some self is built on “a lot of love.” put your marketing focus. “The delusion. Instead of focusing on He believes that the best kind real answer to that question is of marketing happens through this: Are you able to measure and your brand, you should focus on word of mouth: “I can tell test what works in the different your client. everybody how good our products mediums available to you? If not, are and how good our service is, then you can fail in any medium – Nick Dumitru , CEO & Founder, Think Basis

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spa business

but we have a vested interest. The most authentic result is when you hear it from a third party that doesn’t hold interest in the company; when your client is happy with the service they got at a spa. The first thing I would make absolutely sure of, if I were a spa owner, is that my clients get the best possible treatment, with the best possible results, with the best possible service,” he says. It’s also important to be realistic: “Do not ever promise things that you are not absolutely sure you can deliver. Always set the expectations a little bit lower than what you think you can achieve. It’s advice I always give my customers: Never set expectations too high.” DermaSpark invests heavily into making sure the equipment it distributes is up to par. “There’s a lot of investigation and a lot of due diligence until we decide to carry something,” ben Schlomo admits. “And we make absolutely sure that what we carry does deliver the results that we expect.” With over 80 percent of DermaSpark customers returning to buy more equipment, he knows his approach is working and his customer following is strong. “Recently, a client from Toronto was upset because I hadn’t told her we were carrying a new device that she really wanted to buy. Another client told me that her estheticians are fighting over the machine. Everybody wants to use it, because they know that their clients will be happy after they get the treatment – and, of course, they are getting better commission and better tips.” Although many of the doctors and skin care professionals who purchase equipment through DermaSpark are already successful, sometimes their promotions are lacking. “So we took the initiative, and offered to support their efforts with marketing campaigns aimed at the public in order to push business to them,” says ben Schlomo. “For example, our own website is really designed to drive clients to our customers, not to us.” Helping the customer, making sure they are profitable and happy, is DermaSpark’s priority – and it's good for business. 6. BUILD A DIGITAL STRATEGY Brent Purves is the CEO of Stir Marketing, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency based in Vancouver. For more than 15 years, Stir has been working with clients in the health, wellness and beauty industries worldwide. “Every marketing campaign, both offline and online, should start with some level of strategic planning, and that includes a good, hard look at branding and competition,” he explains. “This is especially important in digital marketing, where it is possible to spend a lot of money with little return on investment if the wrong tactics and targeting are chosen.”

The first thing I would make absolutely sure of, if I were a spa owner, is that my clients get the best possible treatment, with the best possible results, with the best possible service. – Moshe ben Schlomo, President, DermaSpark

THESE ARE THE STEPS HE RECOMMENDS: 1.  Start with a strategic digital marketing plan for your campaign(s), that includes audience, competitor, industry and keyword research. 2. Do a thorough audit of your existing online presence (i.e: website, social channels and past campaigns, plus current online brand sentiment). 3. Make sure you’re already following best practices online: website is up to date and optimized, regular social posting, email marketing to stay connected with past and prospective clients, etc. 4. Choose marketing and advertising tactics that best suit your goals, resources and budget. 5. Decide who your ideal client is and where they spend their time online, and start there. Want to build brand awareness, or promote a particular promotion? For each, you’ll choose very different tactics and measure success in different ways. 6. Start small and mix things up – don’t spend all your digital marketing and advertising resources in one place until you know which tactics give you the best results. 7.  Plan to monitor your online marketing and advertising activities/campaigns constantly and be ready to change tactics to maximize success. Some things should be happening all the time: social posting so your Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram feeds are fresh; regular content marketing (blog posting) so that you’re providing information of value to website visitors (and – hint! – helping your website’s search rankings); and some form of email marketing so that you’re staying connected with clients. Note: A simple but often overlooked piece is making sure that it’s easy for people to find and sign up for your eNewsletter – that’s key! These people can be added to your customer database for future marketing activities. To view Purves’ complete plan for developing a digital marketing strategy, visit

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in the know

13 STEPS for a successful spa makeover B Y JA N A M A N O L A KO S


s your spa looking tired? Do you have circles under the welcome mat? It may be time for a spa makeover. A well executed renovation can translate into more business, but before you start swinging that sledgehammer, here are some things to consider. To renovate or not to renovate, that is the question 1. It can get costly, so be sure you know exactly why you want to renovate and how much you can afford. Be realistic about the outcome. If you are thinking of adding more services, you’ll probably need more space. Like a good makeover, any planned changes should enhance your brand and improve how you deliver your services. 2. Take a good look at the competition – have a clear vision of what’s contemporary and popular, whether it’s a treatment or a design trend. Clients tend to reaffirm their loyalty if a spa is seen as innovative and upscale. 3. Ask your employees for input. They’re working in the space and probably will have some interesting observations for you to consider. Also, they can share what they’ve heard from clients. 4. Working in a dynamic and fresh environment can make employees happier and more productive – and here’s the bonus: It has been shown that satisfied employees actually impact your bottom line. Consider improvements that will also benefit your employees. 5. Make sure it’s a wise investment by doing your homework. Plenty of data suggests that spa renovations will draw in new business. Consider weighing the cost of remodelling against a possible growth in sales.

A RENOVATION CAN PAY OFF In a 2010 marketing study, researchers at Monash University found that sales increased after retail store remodelling, with the increase lasting over an entire year; for example, a small independent retail store experienced 43 percent more sales to new customers and 7 percent more to existing customers in the year after remodelling.

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in the know

Timing is everything 6. Look for signals that tell you it’s time for a change – such as dwindling client numbers. Some salon and spa experts advise planning for a remodel every four to five years, to align with changes in fashion trends; they also suggest a touchup every two years. Consumer health and wellness trends also can indicate it’s time to upgrade your image, to satisfy a greater demand for natural spa treatments or alternative therapies, for example. Put your plans on paper 7. Planning in advance will mean less of a headache from project delays or added costs down the road. Before you start, put all of the critical details into a clear plan to determine what the “must do” and “optional” tasks will be. 8. Let customers know well in advance about your plans and what to expect. Plan your clients’ appointments around work schedules, whenever possible. Money matters 9. No one wants to see costs climbing. The best antidote for uncontrolled spending is a thorough and well-conceived budget that includes a 15 percent contingency fund (at least) to cover any unexpected surprises or changes. 10. There’s help on the horizon. You might be eligible for a business loan through the Canada Small Business Financing Program, which works with banks to share the risks of lending to small businesses. The loans can be used to finance, purchase or improve land or buildings used for commercial purposes, or for a tenant’s renovations to a leased property. Work with an expert 11. You’ve thumbed through design and spa magazines to get ideas for your look. Sure, it’s easy to add a fresh coat of paint or a few strategically placed potted plants, but for loftier plans, there’s more at stake. Lighting and ergonomics, workflow, storage and access to power sources all play a role, but these need expert advice. Do you need building permits, rewired electrical or new pipes? Hiring professionals – including contractors, plumbers, electricians or a retail design specialist – is often your safest bet to get the job done properly. Green is ‘in’ 12. When renovating, consider the savings you might get by boosting your spa’s energy efficiency. Simple green upgrades like programmable thermostats, double-pane windows and automated faucets could substantially reduce your annual energy bill. It also sends a message to your clients that you are environmentally responsible, and according to a Nielsen study, today’s consumers prefer companies that care about their eco-impact. Create some industry buzz 13. Show off your new makeover, but not just on social media. Remodelling is a fantastic excuse for a party – to celebrate and promote your business, build excitement and attract new customers. Consider incentives such as door prizes. Hosting a successful event sends a strong signal that you are successful and here to stay, and it builds confidence in your services. S pa I nc .c a


science of the spa

Spa Renovations {





hen contemplating spa renovations, there are many personal and professional considerations to be made prior to planning for this process. It is a major decision that should not be made lightly. If done well and executed to plan, the positive outcomes can outweigh the immense amount of work and worries that are inevitably part of all renovations. Deciding on the right timing is crucial. Renovations may be undertaken to start up a new business, to add a new location or to update an existing space. For a non-corporate spa owner, the decision has to take into consideration your budget, time and the energy that you are willing to invest at this point in time. As business owners, we often are heavily scheduled already with the day-to-day routine of conducting services, overseeing the business, networking and multitasking in general. The extra burden of spa renovations should be undertaken only when the time, alternative space and resources are available to prevent a potentially stressful situation. We have all heard about or experienced the challenges that renovations can present. Being over budget and behind schedule are typical scenarios; accounting for these possibilities is necessary. You have to plan to have extra financial cushion and an alternative space, while being flexible with your completion date. Also realize that much of your “spare” time will be devoted to the demands of the project and unless you are willing to give up your day job, you need to acknowledge that you will be working long extra hours. You may want to plan to have some backup coverage and extra hands on board to help with daily tasks. Contractors can be difficult to work with, and you need to make the decision early on whether you will hire a general contractor or manage the project on your own. Unless you are extremely experienced and have a true love for such projects, a general contractor and a designer are recommended. They will

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drive up the cost significantly but may save you a lot of time and effort. Consider also hiring a consultant who can guide you through the process, rather than relying on a general contractor and designer who probably have limited knowledge of the requirements for a beautiful, functional spa. A consultant needs to have an in-depth understanding of your type of spa and how the day-to-day procedures are conducted. They must be completely aware of function and flow on a practical level. A designer can make everything look beautiful, but a consultant also can provide input on functionality. Imagine moving into your new space and finding that things are not set up with efficiencies and ease of use as priorities. You will wish you could step back in time and perhaps set things up differently. Modifications after the work is already completed add a lot of cost, time and frustration, and they’re the avoidable consequences of poor planning. Once you have done many renovations, however, planning and designing your own space can be one of the most enjoyable parts of the renovation. Creating a beautiful yet customized functional space that is your own creation is one of the most satisfying experiences. Seeing the project unfold and having the ability to adapt the process to meet your desired outcome is truly a wonderful feeling. The satisfaction and pride you experience may even outweigh the headache and long hours you spent toiling late into the nights and over countless weekends. Seeing your vision come to light and experiencing the final product is very rewarding. If you plan to manage the project yourself, make sure you have access to skilled tradespeople who are available and willing to devote themselves to your project. The various trades usually have many projects on the go with a multitude of other clients, and your project may get extremely delayed waiting for one trade or another. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, etc. are

science of the spa

A space doesn't need to be large to have a big impact.

Keep up to date with the times but don’t get too trendy. You want to create a beautiful space that will stand the test of time and be able to pay off the leasehold improvements before getting outdated soon after your renovations are completed.

all in high demand and need advanced bookings and incentives to get the job done efficiently. Details such as lighting, electrical outlets, sinks, sound proofing, ventilation, heat/cold/music control, accessibility, storage space and communication tools, such as phone and internet, are all part of the details which will determine if you have an efficiently functioning space. Neither functionality nor beauty can be sacrificed when outfitting a spa. Choosing resilient materials for floors, countertops and shelves that are durable yet beautiful is more feasible now than in the past. Decor, colour and accessories cannot be selected based on your personal taste only – you must focus on the message and feel you want to convey to your clients. Have a clear idea of your brand. For example, do you want a zen, modern or clinical feel? Keep up to date with the times but don’t get too trendy. You want to create a beautiful space that will stand the test of time and be able to pay off the leasehold improvements before getting outdated soon after your renovations are completed. Staying neutral in your decor and choosing quality materials can definitely be a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Outfitting your new space will push your budget to the limit, inevitably. We all want to have the best of the best and showcase our space with the money-making equipment. You must select the proper beds, chairs and equipment, or else all you have is a beautiful space with substandard services. Carefully budget ahead for the most important items first. It is so easy to get carried away with upgrading as the project evolves. Provide the best products and services, and your renovations will soon pay for themselves. Once the project is finally completed and your signs are proudly displayed, celebrate your success with a party and a launch. Showcase the renovation with photos, videos and let everyone know you’ve got a fresh new space. A spa that shows quality and attention to detail will attract many clients. Dr. Diane Wong, MD, is the owner and founder of Glow Medi Spa, with three convenient and luxurious locations in the Greater Toronto Area: Yorkville (downtown Toronto), Aurora and Markham, Ontario. Glow Medi Spa was voted as the Top Medi Spa in Canada for the past two consecutive years and Top 25 Spa in Canada for the past three consecutive years. Glow Medi Spa also received the Business of the Year Award in 2018. S pa I nc .c a


fresh & new


Lash Lift Starter Kit

For spas thinking of adding a lash lift service, the Elleebana Lash Lift Starter Kit is supported by online training. As one of the hottest trends in the eyelash industry, Elleebana lash lifts provide a longer lasting option for those seeking naturallooking lashes. The kit includes 15 single-use sachets, lifting rods, adhesive, application brush and a stainless steel lash lifter.


MLW Amphibia

The ultimate treatment table, Amphibia brings wellness with water into the treatment room. The luxurious, electric heated treatment table can be transformed easily into an innovative water treatment bed. Controlled heat, unique colour therapy LED lighting and music applied through gentle acoustic waves combine to create a tranquil experience for busy minds.


Ultra Plus VPL

The most powerful pulsed light system available, Ultra Plus is a multi-application workstation using world-renowned and patented Variable Pulsed Light (VPL) technology. This compact, versatile system offers power and flexibility for optimal clinical results with hair removal, skin rejuvenation, vascular applications, pigmented lesions and acne treatment.

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fresh & new


Engage 75 Convertible Headset

The traditional spa welcome desk is disappearing as receptionists are increasingly adopting a more mobile approach to customer service. Now, new wireless technologies like the Jabra Engage 75 Convertible Headset enable your staff to be more responsive while moving around at distances of up to 330 feet.



Removing manual labour from the equation, CTN’s revolutionary and patented technology provides the perfect cryotherapy facial within two minutes, efficiently and safely every time. The X°CRYO is the world’s first 100 percent electrically powered cryotherapy device, which was recently launched in April and has been delivered to over 17 countries.


Guided Meditation VR

Some U.S. spas are using virtual reality headsets to help their clients experience guided meditation in a virtual world. This program, which features over 20 hours of meditation and calming music in 100 lush environments, comes free with the purchase of an Oculus headset.

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fresh & new


HydraBrasion PRO

With diamond tips, HydraBrasion PRO uses a new technology – active dermoinfusion – to deliver nutrients via aqueous solutions and different density products like plasma, gels and emulsions. While cleaning and hydrating, it ensures optimal absorption into deep layers of the skin.


HaloFX Mobile

The HaloFX Mobile offers the benefits of a salt cave in a mobile unit. With a directional arm that maximizes salt absorption for your clients, it easily fits into small spaces and doesn’t require extensive or expensive room build-outs or modifications. The HaloFX offers an additional revenue source that spas can use during a massage or facial treatment.


Pharaoh S II

One of the most luxurious full-body massage chairs on the market, the Pharaoh S II delivers massage in a space-saving design. A customizable range of roller heads to suit unique body contours combines with brain-soothing binaural beats and a range of other features including a high-quality Bluetooth speaker, genuine leather and zero-gravity rotation.

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fresh & new


Light Pod

This industry-leading, full-body cold laser therapy machine emits red LED light that penetrates into the body cells, stimulating the natural healing process in muscles, tissues and nerves. Six specific healing settings focus on pain relief, sports recovery and other health issues. Photobiomodulation therapy is believed to accelerate cellular recovery four to 10 times faster than the body’s natural process. Effects can include reduced stiffness, fat cell shrinkage/weight loss and improved appearance of hair and skin.


Opté Precision Skincare System

A handheld device that may make skincare and makeup brushes obsolete, the Opté scans and analyzes even the tiniest blemishes, to apply precise dots of makeup or skincare serum with pinpoint accuracy using a tiny built-in camera and blue LED scanning lights.


Square Terminal

This new point-of-sale device accepts tap, swipe or insert transactions with credit or debit cards and mobile payments through Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. With built-in WiFi, a 5.5-inch touchscreen display and a built-in thermal printer, the terminal can take payments even when internet service is temporarily unavailable, via “offline mode.” It can be plugged in or used cordless, with a battery that’s designed to last all day. There is no long-term contract; just pay for the device, plus a commission on each transaction (with no hidden fees). Use the free Square Point of Sale app to log payments, keep track of inventory and record sales analytics.

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des produits et des spas qui tirent parti des richesses de la nature

spa star primary mission of making a difference in people’s lives, my company is socially involved with community organizations, such as a food bank, the Quebec Cancer Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. I get inspired by others, but I don’t copy – I innovate! What are your long- and short-term priorities? Currently, we are leading multiple projects and gaining momentum by identifying business opportunities, getting involved and bringing promising, large-scale projects to life. Our goal is to develop 10 spas across North America by 2027. The objective is to push the industry to new heights by offering leading and innovative experiences in a way that will transform the company into an international leader in Nordic-style spas.



his past May, Groupe Nordik announced it was building a $50 million nature spa near Edmonton, Alberta. When construction finishes in 2021, the Parkland County– based spa will become the company’s fourth location, after spas in Quebec, Manitoba and Ontario. It’s the next step in a strategy that includes opening 10 spas across North America by 2027, and a goal of propelling Groupe Nordik forward as a leading international wellness spa; the company continues to look for additional opportunities both in Canada and abroad. Groupe Nordik is on a growth trajectory with over 300,000 annual guests since first opening Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Quebec; followed by Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature, in Winnipeg, the only Nordic spa in the Canadian Prairies; and subsequently, a third spa in Whitby, Ontario. The company’s Founder and CEO, Martin Paquette, was named business personality of the year by Le Droit and Radio-Canada. How did you end up in the spa sector? I enjoyed sports and once dreamed of becoming a professional hockey player. At age 18, I was sure of one thing: To reach my goals, I had to find pleasure in the effort it would take. From age 20, I took my first steps into the world of business while working as an educator in rehabilitation programs; then, as a police officer. My entrepreneurial instinct is truly the source of my motivation, and the field of health and wellness led me towards what would become the largest spa in North America. Where do you find professional inspiration? I am always on the lookout for new concepts, and I draw inspiration from what others in this field are doing around the world. Surrounded by experts, I am always innovating to push Nordik ever further. For example, I am actively involved with TEC Canada, a group for CEOs seeking to exchange information on self-improvement and expand on our knowledge. To fulfill my 30 S pa Inc. | Fall 2 019

What sets Groupe Nordik apart from other spas? Over the years, Groupe Nordik has developed a vast knowledge and expertise in the spa domain, and we now wish to share this knowledge through partnerships in others’ projects, while always focused on our mandate to improve people’s overall wellness. What we bring to partnership is our mentorship, consultation and guidance; support in developing a health and wellness offer; a full range of packaged IT solutions specifically designed for the spa industry; business solutions for optimal spa management; organization, recruitment and management of human resources; plus marketing and communications support and general spa management. Why is innovation so important? Innovation and new experiences are what sets an organization apart and help to determine success. To succeed, you must be passionate about the work and committed to your projects. Since Nordik’s adventure began, the team has proven itself as an industry trailblazer through its commitment and mission. We have continued to innovate and evolve by introducing unique relaxation experiences, such as numerous saunas, each with their unique features; Aufguss (or infusion) rituals; many types of restaurant offers on site such as bistro, lounge and Biergarden; relaxation spaces that take their inspiration from beautiful, comfortable shelters all around the world such as Mongolian yurts, heated stone beds from Asia, or our Källa treatment – an epsom salt floatation pool inspired by the Dead Sea; and more, to eventually become the largest spa in North America. Did you exceed your goals? When I first built the spa in Chelsea, the intention of creating a village, such as what the spa became, was not on my radar. Now, I have a team behind me that is as passionate and dedicated as I am. We distinguish ourselves not only through our innovative and authentic experiences, but also through the atmosphere we create for our guests. Everything is done for the purpose of achieving the “Nordik way” with warmth and authenticity. We are driven by social and ecological awareness. We are committed to staying at the forefront of technological developments, and we strive to continue improving the efficiency of Nordik’s facilities. I would never have thought I would work with such dedicated, professional and amazing people to make my vision become reality.


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Spa Inc. Fall 2019  

Spa Inc. Fall 2019