Spa Inc. Summer 2021

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A Summer to

Celebrate The Smooth Truth



An interview with World Wellness Weekend founder Jean-Guy de Gabriac


Foundations of Success

Expert advice and tips to help your business thrive Publications Mail NO. 40026342



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spa news

spa business




Allison Hegedus, president of Vida Spas, explains the foundations for their success­

An exciting award nomination, a zero-waste leader and new spa openings


The big business of hair removal


in the know

The power of vitamin D


How virtual spa services are attracting clients and boosting revenues


fresh & new

Cooling skincare, foot therapy and other summer essentials


spa star

Jean-Guy de Gabriac shares his inspiration for World Wellness Weekend




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between us SUMMER 2021

Reopening, at Last!


fter a tedious year-plus of uncertainty and closed businesses, we are finally celebrating the gradual “reopening” of Canada. We’ve never been more excited to do some of the things most people took for granted before the pandemic: eating at restaurants, shopping – in person, at last! – and visiting our favourite personal care providers. Haircuts, mani-pedis and massages are newfound joys, or so it seems. We’re also gearing up to celebrate the industry after postponing last year’s Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards, so there is no better time to share your recent accomplishments. It wasn’t an easy year for anyone, and we want to hear how you made the best of it! The spa industry had to sit on the sidelines longer than most businesses, but the upside is a rebound that indicates much better days ahead. According to a new study by Grand View Research, the global spa market will more than double its revenues by 2028, compared to a value of US$47.5 billion in 2020. Even that hefty number represents a large dip in earnings due to global shutdowns. In 2021, global revenue increased to US$52.9 billion. By 2028, that number is likely to reach almost US$118 billion, bolstered by the popularity of destination tourism, which the report says “is likely to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period due to growing demand.” In Europe, government initiatives and “a favourable regulatory environment” are boosting market growth, the Grand View report notes, but last year Asia Pacific was in the lead with 28 percent of the spa industry’s global revenue. During the three-year survey period, the Asia Pacific region also accounted for more than half of all spas constructed worldwide, with expansion plans underway by Starwood Hotels (adding 65 spas) and Hilton Worldwide (adding 124 spas). Even in 2020, when the tourism industry suffered the largest setback in its history, the hotel/resorts segment dominated the spa market, with 37.4 percent of global revenue. So what do these numbers mean for Canadian spas? Competition is fierce, especially globally. But with the pandemic, there is a renewed appreciation for the comforts of home – or at least, those within our borders. Out of necessity, we relearned how to fulfil our need for adventure locally, and the general public is much more appreciative of small businesses, after seeing so many (even multinational chains) shuttered. Personal connection has become a new currency, after a collective starvation of sorts. All of this represents a massive opportunity for the spa industry, as everyone seeks to recover from the pandemic lockdowns. We may be left wondering what the “new normal” will look like, but at least we know we are among the lucky Popi Bowman ones who made it through one of the worst years of MANAGING EDITOR modern humanity. That alone is something to celebrate!

Check us out online @SpaIncMag

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Award Winner ISSN 1710 -1727 Volume 18, Number 2

Publisher Susan A. Browne

Managing Popi Bowman Editor

Designer Charlene Everest Contributors

Mòrag Currin Kirsten Foss Allison Hegedus Jana Manolakos

Senior Account Edith Dhillon Executive 905.707.3525

Director Stephanie Wilson of Marketing

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 Funded by the Government of Canada

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









spa news

News to Celebrate

Spa Inc. magazine recently received an Honourable Mention in the B2B National Magazine Awards for its Spa Star column - this spring, Spa Inc. was nominated for its first-ever National Magazine Award: Best Column or Regularly Featured Department in the B2B category. Although we didn’t win the top prize, we are proud to share that the magazine received Honourable Mention for the “Spa Star” column, written by Jana Manolakos. Congrats, team!


A Beautiful Partnership Since 2019, Strøm Nordic Spa has collaborated with the Montreal swimwear company Everyday Sunday to create a line of practical but elegant bathing suits in sizes XS to 3XL, including men’s styles. The online catalogue can be found at:

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This year, Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet, B.C., is aiming to source 100 percent natural, biodegradable, refillable products for its cleaning needs and guest amenities. As one of the first resorts in Canada to adopt a Refillable and Zero Waste model, Black Rock turned to its own backyard for solutions. Thanks to a partnership with two forward-thinking Vancouver Island small businesses, The Den and Mint Cleaning, Black Rock guests are now enjoying refillable body products by Oneka Elements, Cascades paper products and Tru Earth laundry strips. At the same time, housekeeping staff now use earth-friendly, all-natural cleaning products. “As a tourism destination, we all recognize that the reason people come here is because they enjoy pristine natural spaces,” general manager Adele Larkin says. “This understanding is at the heart of all the decisions we make for our businesses, guests, staff and the environment.”

WORLD WELLNESS WEEKEND RETURNS On September 18 and 19, for its fifth annual celebration, the World Wellness Weekend will feature live events and online tutorials to connect wellness enthusiasts with free, fun and meaningful activities and workshops. Experts from around the world will share practical tips about the Five Pillars of Wellness: vitality, serenity, immunity, creativity and solidarity. Visit for more information, and read this issue’s “Spa Star” for an interview with the event founder, Jean-Guy de Gabriac.

spa news

A new spa on Governors Island, a short ferry ride from Manhattan, features stunning skyline views and expansive grounds


openings & new projects In Baxters Harbour, N.S., a proposed development aims to establish a new Nordic spa retreat on 73 acres with ocean views. The business team includes June Pardy, who has more than 20 years of experience in the spa industry, and Jenny Gunn-Sinclair, a yoga instructor and business owner. Although the property was not commercially zoned, they are seeking an amendment to allow pools, a yoga centre, a full spa and, eventually, cottage accommodations. The next step is a public hearing, and if all goes well, the project will move forward soon. In Kelowna, B.C., Baden Spa will be a 188-room spa-hotel that includes a restaurant and 10 two-bedroom cabins. The vacant 13-acre hilltop site was approved for a townhome development almost 10 years ago, so to proceed, city council needs to rezone the property. The application is currently under review. Pride Beauty Lounge is an “inclusive day salon” that recently opened in Lower Sackville, N.S., with a mission “to provide a safe and comfortable spa environment thinking of those in the Queer community, BIPOC folks and folks with disabilities.” One of the

services is a gender-neutral Brazilian – in other words, gender identification is not required for bookings. In Denver, Colorado, The Beer Spa opened earlier this year. Four self-service therapy rooms each include an infrared sauna, a rain shower and a “beer tub” for herbal, hops-based soaks, which guests can book in 90-minute intervals. As its name suggests, visitors can enjoy self-serve local beers on tap. As an added amenity, the rooms also will include new self-care mini-bars, with masks and oils available for purchase. A short ferry ride from downtown New York, Governors Island used to be an Army and Coast Guard base but it was transformed into a public park more than 15 years ago, with an arts centre and maritime-focused high school on site. The 172-acre island, which reopened with limited capacity on July 15, includes “glamping” starting at $150 per night. This September, a high-end spa will be another reason to visit. The spa cost more than $50 million to build over the past five years – the first location outside of Europe for QC Terme Spas and Resorts – with expansive outdoor grounds and spa services inside three restored structures that used to serve as military barracks. Treatments include Vichy showers, infrared beds, steam baths and outdoor thermal pools with skyline views. A $100 four-hour weekday pass includes round-trip ferry transportation and spa access, without treatments; $128 provides all-day access. Weekend rates are higher, and a massage can be included for a weekday entry fee that starts at $217. Watch here and the Spa Inc. e-newsletter for more industry updates and news.

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smooth THE


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The esthetic and beauty industry is constantly on the lookout for better ways to fight those infernal hair follicles. And spa clients are willing to spend the money.



et’s get to the root of the matter. There are about five million hair follicles on the human body, all popping up at different rates. It’s a growing concern for Canada’s spas, which help clients rid themselves of unwanted hair – tweezing, waxing, shaving, threading, sugaring and lasering their way to smooth summer skin. The esthetic and beauty industry is constantly on the lookout for better ways to fight those infernal follicles. And spa clients are willing to spend the money. Hair removal is consistently one of the most in-demand esthetic treatments, with the latest in laser technologies leading the pack. A recent Mindbody survey of 200,000 consumers found that 46 percent of women opened their pocketbooks for eyebrow waxing or threading, while 32 percent doled out on bodily hair removal. The trend is also growing among men; 10 percent paid for eyebrow waxing or threading, and 13 percent chose body hair removal. Nella Arangio – spa director at Civello Salon & Spa in Toronto, and instructor of esthetics and spa therapies at Seneca College – keeps close tabs on what’s happening in the beauty industry. “The extent to which spas offer hair removal treatments really depends on the spa itself,” explains Arangio. At Civello, it represents 50 percent of the spa’s business. For others like Alberta’s Achieve Wellness Spa, which is also a member of Leading Spas of Canada, the service is performed about 10 percent of the time. Spa owner Alethea Austin explains, “We offer a multitude of services, so roughly 10 percent of revenues come from hair removal services.”

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PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM With the coronavirus pandemic raging, the purchase of services plummeted because treatments needed personal contact between client and esthetician. Meanwhile, the global hair removal products market grew and is expected to expand at a rate of 5.5 percent annually until 2025, largely driven by Asian markets, but also by consumer demand for home-based treatments due to COVID stay-at-home protocols. At Civello, clients who were midway in their set of hair removal treatments faced service interruptions and spa closures as Ontario shut down businesses. Undaunted, some spas looked outside the box, introducing plexiglass shields throughout their facilities as well as for treatment tables, with devices such as Lemi’s Spa Shield or Lux Spa’s Lashes and Facial Acrylic Sneeze Shield. Like many spas across Canada, Austin explains, “We have plexiglass at our front desk but not in treatment rooms. We abide by all mandated health restrictions, and currently in Alberta that consists of proper hand hygiene, sanitization of all surfaces before and after each treatment and mask use by both the patient and therapist.” INNOVATION LEADS TO RECOVERY According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, spa leaders who are willing to adopt innovative technologies will be the ones to lead and grow the hair removal market, which is already showing signs of recovery. The global laser hair removal market, currently valued at almost US$444 million, is expected to grow at a whopping 15.2 percent annually until 2028. Experts say the market is gaining momentum through rising consumer interest in personal grooming, beauty trends and the availability of more effective permanent hair removal technologies, as well as increased consumer spending power, aging and changes in modern lifestyle patterns. Many spas are growing their businesses by upgrading their laser hair removal devices to include mixed technologies. Powerful new innovations, like the latest by Quanta Systems or Venus Concept, are making treatments easier, less time consuming and more comfortable – and they’re integrated with multiple functions, including treatment for veins and photorejuvenation facials. In 2019, approximately 457,000 laser hair removal treatments were performed in the U.S. The process uses a low-energy laser beam to target the melanin in the growing hair follicle within the skin’s epidermis. In the process, the hair follicle is damaged, leading to permanent hair removal. Several sessions are required because the laser treats only active follicles, and not all follicles 10 S pa Inc. | Summ e r 2 02 1

The global laser hair removal market is currently valued at almost

US$444 million are active at the same time. The more commonly used laser hair removal devices in the esthetic industry include the diode and the Nd:YAG (neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet). THE LATEST IN LASER TECHNOLOGIES While electrolysis was once the only way to remove unwanted body hair permanently, laser hair removal has become more popular since it was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995. Arangio points out, “They’re quick with a high return, and high profit.” At Civello, the spa invested in a Cynosure Vectus diode laser, a treatment that is preferred by clients for bikini and Brazilian treatments. “With the laser, a bikini takes less than five minutes, a Brazilian takes seven minutes. And usually with waxing, it takes 15 to 20 minutes.” Generally, after about three treatments, hair growth has been reduced by 70 percent, depending on the client’s hormones, ethnicity and hair structure. After six treatments, there’s a 93 percent reduction of hair growth.


Afterwards, clients may need an annual touch-up. At Achieve Wellness Spa, in addition to waxing and electrolysis, “We use the gold standard in hair removal, with a 755nm pulsed light laser, indicated for stable long-term or permanent hair reduction,” Austin says. She defines permanent hair reduction as a “stable decrease in the number of hairs regrowing” when measured six, nine or 12 months after the completion of a treatment regime. Arangio believes that the Cynosure Vectus used in her spa is one of the most precise lasers in the world today – and precision is the name of the game when you’re dealing with miniscule hair follicles. What sets this laser apart, she says, is its proprietary Skintel melanin reader. “It reads the melanin, right down to the unseen eye, and calibrates the laser accordingly. With most lasers, you have to calculate, based on what you think the level of pigmentation is in the skin.” NEW TYPES OF WAXES MAKE HAIR REMOVAL AGONY A THING OF THE PAST “Waxing is a very lucrative business,” Arangio notes. “It’s not expensive to run. For years, it was the way to go before laser technology hit. Laser technology, even up until about 20 years ago, was still not up to par like where it is today.” Hard wax, which originated in South America, arrived in North America through Europe over 40 years ago. “It was used in big heating pots, and you would use the hard wax for the whole body,” S p a I nc .c a



With a growing number of men seeking treatment, beauty schools are pivoting to offer training in body waxing treatments for men.

Arangio explains. With the introduction of strip wax, which is softer, more convenient and requires less skill, the market for hard wax soon waned, although it is still in use today for its ability to remove coarser, thicker hair. Even the formulation of wax has changed. More traditional hard waxes contain beeswax and plant resins, and they are gentler on the skin when removing hair and surface cells, while softer waxes which originally were harsh have evolved to become less damaging to the skin, and more pleasant. “Today, you have honey, sugar, plant resin and polymer waxes,” explains Arangio. “Polymer waxes don’t have a lot of ‘grip’ to them for coarse hair, but they’re good for fine hair.” In the 1980s, sugaring appeared on the market as an alternative to harsher waxing. There are many different recipes for formulating the thick, pliable sugared paste which is applied to the skin, much like wax. It’s ideal for less deeply rooted hairs. For all things sugaring, La Source Labs out of Welland, Ontario, offers a line of professional-quality sugar paste and other related products. IS TRAINING KEEPING PACE WITH TECHNOLOGY? From the latest lasers like the diode and the YAG to intense pulsed light (IPL), educational programming must keep pace with hair removal technologies. Estheticians need to understand the different results each one offers. “YAG lasers don’t work on all ethnic skin, while diodes have the technology you can use on all types and colours. IPL isn’t really a laser, it’s a pulsed light,” notes Arangio. Many community colleges, like where Arangio teaches, have introduced medical esthetics to their curriculums. “There’s a two-year diploma program, and 14 weeks for medical esthetics,” she says. “They

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learn all the technologies, how to do a service and how to complete a client health history properly, and any contraindications. The industry has evolved from when doctors and nurses were the only ones who worked with lasers.” In addition, at Achieve Wellness Spa, Austin says, “All of our certified estheticians have a minimum of 1,100 hours of educational training and then take certification by a medical doctor in the use of the laser.” MANZILIANS AND BRAZILIANS With a growing number of men seeking treatment, beauty schools are pivoting to offer training in body waxing treatments for men. Arangio believes that the popularity of “manscaping” emerged along with increased interest in health and wellness. “Men became more active, like cyclists and bikers, and being out at the gym more. When it comes to hair, men sweat more. They realized if they trim it down, they actually keep the body cooler.” For spas looking to attract consumers and build their laser hair removal service, experts suggest it begins with educating clients – “clearing the hair,” so to speak – by addressing the benefits and concerns they may have with laser devices. Review how the process can significantly reduce hair growth, along with any potential side effects and risks. Doing research on different types of laser devices, their compatibility with skin types and how they affect treatment success also is advised. Consult your device provider and take advantage of certification they may offer. And, finally, purchase equipment from a reputable distributor, such as DermaSpark. This will help build your competitive advantage, enhance client experience and elevate trust in your spa.

in the know


in the know



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in the know


Recent research indicates that vitamin D stimulates antimicrobial activity and may mitigate certain types of infections.


uman skin needs both sun protection and sun exposure in moderation – and it can have both without incurring sun damage or nutritional deficiency. The sun is the main source for vitamin D, an important nutrient for maintaining a healthy skeleton as it forms an integral part of the bone metabolism, calcium and phosphate homeostasis. There are indications that vitamin D may have several other health benefits, such as prevention or mitigation of cancer and autoimmune diseases, reduction in hypertension and prevention of influenza. Overall, vitamin D seems to have a positive regulatory effect on the immune system. Anti-carcinogenic effects have been demonstrated in laboratory studies on animals at high doses, but evidence of causality has not been shown in humans. Recent research indicates that vitamin D stimulates antimicrobial activity and may mitigate certain types of infections. There are vitamin D receptors in many organs, and long-term vitamin D deficiency may induce a wide range of harmful biological effects. HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CLIENT IS VITAMIN D DEFICIENT When assessing your client’s skin, these indicators suggest your client may need more vitamin D. 1. People with lots of pigment in their skin (Fitzpatrick VI) can produce six times less vitamin D than people with very little pigment (Fitzpatrick I). 2. Overweight individuals have a reduced capacity of vitamin D synthesis. 3. Elderly people have thinner skin, and as a result these skins

are less capable of synthesizing vitamin D. 4. People who frequent sun beds that emit UVB radiation are likely to have higher bone mineral densities. Is this a consideration for massage modifications? 5. In cold climates, exposure to UV radiation is usually on the face only, which is not sufficient for vitamin D synthesis. CLIENTS AT RISK FOR COVID-19 A single-centre retrospective cohort study done in 2020 indicates that the COVID-19 risk increased among people with lots of pigment in their skin (Fitzpatrick VI) with a vitamin D level at less than 40 ng/mL. These clients need to increase their vitamin D levels. New evidence needs to be monitored as it is peerreviewed and published, and will include results from several clinical trials on vitamin D and COVID-19 outcomes that are currently underway. CLIENTS AT RISK FOR MELANOMA When assessing your clients with a genetic predisposition, a history of or a high risk for developing melanoma, these clients should have exposure to midday sun for approximately 20 minutes – quite to the contrary of what is being promoted today. A low vitamin D status is shown to be associated with melanoma and a worse prognosis. Human skin makes a large amount of vitamin D naturally between 10:30am and 3pm, and evidence shows that people with thicker, or higher stage, melanomas have lower vitamin D status compared to those with thinner tumors. As salon/spa professionals, we should be recommending to this targeted group S pa I nc .c a


in the know

in the know

of people that they must ensure they get sufficient sun exposure during these hours in the middle of the day. This would ensure sufficient vitamin D levels for prevention. 1. People with lots of pigment in their skin (Fitzpatrick VI) produce less vitamin D, so they need to be outside for longer and more often (15-30 minutes). 2. If your client has little pigment in the skin (Fitzpatrick I), recommend 10-20 minutes outside in the midday sun with minimal clothing and no sunscreen – this should give them enough UV radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin. 3. Elderly people produce less vitamin D, and many people do not get enough of the nutrient from dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified milk, so they need to be outside for longer and more often to get the same effect (15-30 minutes). CLIENTS WITH ACNE VULGARIS (P. ACNES BACTERIA) Vitamin D deficiencies are more common in people with acne than in healthy controls. One 2016 study showed that people with acne had lower levels of vitamin D, but low vitamin D did not mean worse acne. Vitamin D affects the proliferation and differentiation of the skin, either directly or through its interaction with calcium. Many in vitro studies have shown a dose-dependent effect of vitamin D on keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation. Sebocytes have been identified as responsive target cells, indicating that vitamin D may be effective in the treatment of acne. Low vitamin D does not cause acne, and vitamin D blocks P. acnes from affecting skin cells. People with acne should be tested for vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency. A random study indicates that supplementation with oral vitamin D produced a significant improvement in acne inflammation. Testing for vitamin D levels is done with blood testing. Readings from a blood test indicate: VITAMIN D LEVELS


-30 ng/mL

Deficient (supplementation required)

30-50 ng/mL


50-70 ng/mL


70-100 ng/mL

Cancer + heart disease therapy

125+ ng/mL


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SUNSCREENS AND SUNBLOCKS Sunscreens are commonly formulated with chemicals that may not be in the best interests of our skin, nor our environment. The game currently appears to be that manufacturers are trying to outdo each other by “upping” the SPF numbers. The natural SPF that protects people with more pigment in their skin (Fitzpatrick VI) from common skin cancers is about 12-14, and we know that a product with an SPF 8 provides protection – so why apply more chemicals than necessary? To summarize: This article provides some key skin/sun assessment questions to help determine sufficient vitamin D levels for skin health. As salon/spa professionals, we should be asking our clients about their vitamin D levels, especially people considered at high risk for a deficiency: • With anorexia nervosa • Who have had gastric bypass surgeries • Who suffer from other malabsorption syndromes, like celiac disease • Who wear total skin covering (and thus absorb less sunlight) • Perimenopausal women • Who have been diagnosed with osteopenia (reduced bone density, but not osteoporosis) • With osteoporosis or other skeletal disorders • Pregnant and lactating women Mòrag Currin, the founder of Oncology Training International, has educated more than 7,000 estheticians and beauty therapists in 14 countries and six languages.

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spa business


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spa business

A solo spa owner saw e-commerce sales balloon from zero to $13K, she secured multiple corporate accounts for online facial parties and finished the year at $88K in revenue, although she was closed three times in 2020. B Y K I R S T E N FO S S


ne of the biggest throttles for earning potential of any esthetician, skin therapist or spa owner is the fact that the spa industry is based on providing hands-on treatment. It’s a universal truth. In fact, COVID-19 illustrated just how quickly those in the business hit a ceiling on their sales when they choose to trade hours for dollars. So what can be done? It starts with the conscious decision to work smarter, not harder, to achieve both longevity and financial resilience in the spa industry. Let’s dive into what this looks like in 2021 and beyond:

Analyzing pre-COVID earnings… and what was missing

With COVID-19 almost decimating the personal service industry around the globe, the pandemic forced those in the business to get creative in how they made sales, leveraged their expertise and connected with customers. Once those in the spa industry compared their earning potential pre-COVID and uncovered sizeable gaps, a few brave souls came to the same conclusion. Resiliency lay in offering online skin coaching and virtual spa services. After years of spa owners, estheticians and skin therapists toiling in treatment rooms, pushing retail and stressing over a lack of bookings, online skin coaching and virtual spa services emerged as a viable way to keep their finances – and, in turn, their careers – stable in the long-term.

While this opportunity to add, or switch completely to, virtual skin services had been available for decades before, only a few spas were willing to consider it. Their reluctance was triggered by such issues as a fear and mistrust of new technology, workloads that kept them from researching how it works and worrying if the time commitment would be worthwhile. Although the majority of spas initially were overwhelmed with stress at the first round of shutdowns in the personal services industry, there was a segment of spa owners, estheticians and skin therapists who recognized that these unprecedented times were an opportunity to develop their skin know-how in a way that supported their sales, energy and passion.

The pivot the spa industry needed

As a former spa business owner and current spa business coach, I saw this pivot in the spa industry happen in real time. In fact, one of my social media and coaching clients who lives and works in California was shut down for five months in 2020 and decided to try her hand at virtual skin consultations, parties and facials in an effort to supplement her income. To do this, she added these services to her website, promoted them consistently on social media, highlighted them on her website via blogs and used them as the star of her email blasts to inform (and remind) clients about these new virtual skincare options. The result? As a solo spa owner, her e-commerce sales went from zero to $13K, she secured multiple corporate accounts for S p a I nc .c a


spa business

online facial parties and finished the year at $88K in revenue, although she was closed three times in 2020. Virtual skin services were so successful that she’s still highlighting them as her main service to this day, despite being able to open for in-studio services fulltime. How did this happen? If you are already an experienced skin therapist or esthetician, you have all the skin-related knowledge you need to offer comprehensive and valuable digital services to your clients. The only aspect that’s missing is knowing how to quickly, efficiently and consistently, while applying the tech and delivery systems that are required for e-commerce.

How online skin coaching and virtual spa services can work for you

• Instead of waiting for an in-person walk-in client who is asking about skincare, you receive a notification on your website that a consumer has questions about their skin, is looking at offered products or services, or both. An inexpensive example is Drift, which allows easy in-website messaging between you and prospective clients. • Instead of a client booking an in-spa consultation or skin analysis appointment, they schedule a comprehensive virtual consult so that you can review their current routine, go over uploaded images of their skin and create a home care plan that supports their skincare goals… all remotely! • Instead of booking a facial at your business, a prospective client will purchase a DIY facial kit or book a 1:1 Zoom, Skype or Google Meet facial that will permit you to lead the experience digitally. Despite online skin coaching and virtual spa services being a gamechanger for those in the spa industry looking to earn more, work less and use their knowledge to generate long-term sales, there are a few questions that commonly crop up from those who haven’t tried doing it: 20 S pa Inc. | Summ e r 2 02 1

“CAN SKINCARE ALONE SUPPORT MY CLIENTS’ SKIN GOALS?” The answer is a resounding yes! Eighty percent of your clients’ skincare success comes from what they use at home, and only 20 percent from in-spa treatments. “WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF OFFERING THIS SERVICE?” The obvious perk is having the opportunity to serve beyond your physical location. This will bolster your revenue potential in both the short- and long-term. “IS THIS A RELIABLE INCOME SOURCE?” Think of it this way: How long does it take to give an in-person $100 facial versus selling $100 worth of skincare products? On average: one hour versus 10 minutes. Shifting at least a portion of your services to a digital platform helps to authentically and reliably promote these sales. The bottom line? Adding online skin coaching and virtual spa services isn’t nearly as complicated as many in the spa industry may think. Once you determine your service offerings, your method of communication and which digital platform you’ll meet your clients on, the world is your oyster! Consider adding virtual services and coaching to your skin therapy menu to expand your professional reach, impact and bank account. Kirsten Foss is a coach with more than 20 years of experience in the spa industry. She helps entrepreneurs increase productivity, enhance client satisfaction and boost revenues.


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spa business

The Foundations of Success AT V I D A S PA S BY ALLISON HEGEDUS


ida is dedicated to building and operating the very finest of quality spas. We have built a clearly defined brand and only seek partners whose brand will provide a synergistic fit with ours. When it comes to our operating principles and our design and construction principles, we bring an unwavering standard of excellence to each. Through 20 years of operation, we have a true understanding of how to build a successful brand, how to build a positive long-term team and how to excel both in reputation and revenue. 22 S p a Inc. | Sum m e r 2 02 1

spa business

spa business

The Vida brand was built around our values, mission and vision. We are mindful. We are present in everything we do. Every staff member and guest feels appreciated and listened to. This is the essence and foundation of our brand. The values we have maintained over the years have allowed us to achieve our current success.

Lead with transparency

e always have regular staff meetings or emails focusing on W industry and company updates. Educating the team on the cost of goods, operating expenses, bottom line cash flow and industry margins is an important part of our philosophy. If your managers and team understand the cost of goods and expenses associated with sales, and the margins you are left with, they will work with you to stay within your budgets. By doing this, you remain cash flow positive versus overspending. This will allow you to have the cash flow needed for capital improvements and other unexpected expenses. This also gives your therapists and estheticians an honest approach and education they may never have been taught in school or through a previous employer. Without this transparency, your team only sees the top revenue line coming in. They might assume the company is being greedy by pocketing a higher percentage of profit than they actually are. With education, your team will realize the costs to run the business and that their compensation is fair. They will want to work with you to keep the business healthy and strong for years to come. Review monthly financial statements with your key managers. Going over each line item against budget and previous years allows you to work with them on improvements for the following months.

Establish a healthy work environment

Ensure that every member has 15 minutes built in after service to allow them the time to clean the room properly, rehydrate and be on time for the next guest. Allow for proper lunch breaks so that they can refuel their bodies, which helps create exceptional service. How can they give the best to someone else when they have not given the best to themselves? Reward your team through competitive compensation, annual bonuses for each line item they manage and five-, 10-, 15- and

The Vida brand was built around our values, mission and vision. We are mindful. We are present in everything we do. Every staff member and guest feels appreciated and listened to. This is the essence and foundation of our brand. 20-year anniversary gifts. Generously give back to members who have helped to build your business and your brand. Support causes close to your team’s heart. Give back to those in need and it will come back to you in client awareness and appreciation.

Be hands-on

Lead by example but ensure you also delegate and allow your team to learn and grow. Let them make mistakes that they will learn from. Do not micromanage, yet give them the autonomy they need to be challenged on a daily basis. Hire managers who have the same core values. Invest in back-of-house staff. Ensure you have enough administrative support for the team. By putting too much burden on your front-line managers, they may soon burn out. Without this support system, team communication can falter and their needs may not be met. Back-of-house support frees your manager or director for strategic thinking and overseeing the spa to ensure hygiene levels are maintained. It also allows your managers to be in the front of house to engage and interact with guests, and allows them to mentor the team by setting an example for the quality of customer care you expect from your team. Our culture leads by example. S pa I nc .c a


spa business

Watch the bottom line

• Reserve cash flow for unexpected and necessary annual capital improvements and the often unknowns in a luxury and hospitality-driven industry. Whether we face a recession or a pandemic, having excess cash flow is essential to keep your business going strong until things change and you can bounce back to a strong revenue-generating position. • Understand your top-moving retail and back bar items in order to manage your inventory levels. It is best to order more frequently than to have too much stock on the shelves, eating up your cash flow. • Leasing linen reserves cash flow versus out-of-pocket annual capital costs. Ensure the agreement you have in place makes the linen company responsible for maintaining quality linen that is replaced annually at their cost. Professionally cleaned laundry ensures a higher level of hygiene via commercial-grade laundry machines and detergent. • Maintain long-term relationships with your vendors. They will often support you by taking back inventory or working with you to get your costs down; some offer marketing support to help boost bookings. • Work with your neighbourhood businesses or hotel partners on seasonal promotions and partner discounts. • Share your knowledge with other industry leaders. Learn from each other versus hiding information that could help everyone improve their businesses. There is plenty of market share for everyone.

With this formula in place, we have cultivated a happy, healthy work environment where our team feels valued and appreciated. This has allowed for unprecedented longevity in our team with Vida. With some three dozen team members working for us from 10 to 20 years, we pride ourselves on our team support and loyalty. Even after rebranding in 2002, we have dozens of guests who remained loyal to our brand. If you have happy staff, you have happy guests. If you have happy guests and staff, you will always have a thriving business.

With almost 30 years of experience in the esthetics industry, Allison Hegedus has been with Vida Spas for nearly 20 years, as president since 2006. Hegedus is a founding member of the Leading Spas of Canada Quality Assurance Committee, where she worked for over 15 years to improve industry standards and practices. She is experienced at managing multi-million dollar projects and organizational budgets, and is knowledgeable in all areas of the esthetics industry, including education and sales.

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Spa Inc. magazine will be opening nominations on

AUGUST 23, 2021 This year, we are not only celebrating the leading spas, industry partners and educators, but applauding the Canadian spa and wellness industry as a whole for their resiliency, creativity, and the overwhelming sense of community.

W H Y N O M I N AT E ? » Salute your team, colleagues and partners in style » Gain national recognition and credibility » Increase visibility with national media coverage » Rejuvenate company spirit and boost team morale » Inspire confidence of clients and retain loyal clientele In case you need another reason, submitting a nomination is straightforward and FREE! P L AT I N U M S P O N S O R S :


S I LV E R S P O N S O R :

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Cucumber Heel Therapy Intensive Treatment

Make the most of your summertime sandal look with feet that boast glorious, soft-skinned heels. This therapeutic cream uses a deeply moisturizing botanical complex to help alleviate dry, callused heels. It softens soles with daily use and contains naturally soothing cucumber, chamomile and aloe.


Glacial Revitalizing Mist

Ideal for treating skin after a day in the sun or cold, this multipurpose balancer hydrates, protects, refreshes and tones/rebalances while targeting signs of aging. Hyaluronic acid restores hydration levels, seaweed infuses minerals and reduces inflammation, and vitamin C and specialized plant extracts nourish, protect and tone skin.


Hyaluronic Sea Serum

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Lavender & Honey Balancing Mist

This floral mist, featuring lavender, honey and aloe vera, instantly balances and hydrates all skin types. Lavender oil is known for its purifying antimicrobial properties, honey is a natural humectant and rich source of amino acids, vitamins and antioxidants, and aloe vera balances pH levels, while providing its legendary healing qualities.

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Rose Quartz Sculpting Spoon


Photoderm Milk SPF50+

This lotion offers maximum protection against harmful UVA rays, helping to prevent sunburns and boosting immunity against the sun, with its unique, patented Cellular Bioprotection. Made with organo-mineral and anti-UV filters, the environmentally friendly lotion offers protection while decreasing the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.

Take your gua sha technique to the next level. This beautiful rose quartz sculpting spoon is designed for precision work and is ideal for releasing stagnation, stimulating pressure points, facial sculpting, under-eye release and lymphatic drainage. Rooted in ancient Eastern practices, this facial toning tool promotes self-love and skin radiance.


Overnight Watermelon Mask

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Cooling Aqua Jelly

A moisturizer for oily skin, this jelly-based cooling formula leaves skin feeling fresh and lightly hydrated. It contains a retinol-like bioflavonoid complex, which helps reduce excess oil and refine skin. Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture to deeply hydrate skin without leaving a shine.

spa star Vedic Akashic fields. I questioned how we might improve someone’s energy balance and help them be their best, beyond hands-on treatment. There are different techniques that can restart the energy, the vitality, and it's something I wanted to share. As a symbol of our connection to each other, World Wellness Weekend can open the door to greater synchronicity and the universe. I encourage you to listen to your inner selves, to probe for these messages in your clients as you treat them. Do spas have a responsibility as beacons of wellness? When you see that well-being is ranked third out of the 17 most important sustainability goals identified by the United Nations, and you think about the suffering, the poverty, illness and stress that exist in the world today, you soon realize our profession does have a responsibility. There are so many opportunities for spas, fitness centres, hotels and resorts. Are we looking at our clients holistically using the five pillars of health as a lens, or are we missing out through complacency and an unwillingness to invest in the development of our therapists so they can help their clients, their communities and themselves become their best?



ellness is more than just improving your mental and physical health. It is an act of influence to inspire others to become the best version of themselves – a belief held passionately by Jean-Guy de Gabriac, founder of World Wellness Weekend. Launched in 2017, as a global movement to increase awareness of healthy lifestyles, this year the event will be held September 18 and 19 in over 130 countries and 950 cities. De Gabriac is a perpetual motion machine, whose experience and knowledge across the spa, wellness and hospitality spectrum is phenomenal. He is the CEO of Tip Touch International, an award-winning consultancy and education company specializing in the guest experience for the hospitality and spa industries. He holds a bachelor degree in marketing and communications and once worked at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. What ignited your passion for wellness? As a seven-year-old, I wondered why some people had such great energy, while others were simply plodding through life. After I had two motorcycle accidents, I was introduced to Reiki and it opened my eyes. I realized I wanted to work with energy flows and was lucky to meet dynamic people who introduced me to massage and the spa community. I’ve seen a growing number of therapists embracing ancient Eastern practices, studying reiki and shiatsu, and learning about unique energy practices. I’m fascinated by physiology, meridians, pressure points and

What effect has the pandemic had? The pandemic has turned the world upside down. Social distancing has been particularly difficult and our clients are hungry for more meaningful interactions that help boost mindfulness, better nutrition, movement and vitality, improved sleep and a sense of purpose – the five pillars of wellness. Massage therapists, estheticians, fitness and nutrition counsellors, and wellness practitioners have an opportunity and an obligation to partner with the medical community and others to work toward better prevention and strengthening the immune system. I recently saw a photo of a surgeon and nurses and anesthetist, who were just about to go into the operating room, holding hands and doing Reiki together. What are your hopes for World Wellness Weekend? As we move through the pandemic, and have to learn to live as well as possible with the virus and its variants, let’s encourage people to switch to healthier lifestyles, and to feel the joy of being well. As we all adjust to a new normal, let’s make enthusiasm “safely contagious”. Let’s encourage guests to join classes, workshops, retreats during the year. Let’s build our client relationships, boost return visits, nurture employee moral and so much more. It's not just an event in September – from sunrise in Fiji until sunset in Hawaii, it's a planetary movement. It's not just one weekend – I hope that wellness enthusiasts or “weekenders” will visit our website ( and be inspired all year long by Weekends of Wellness. Why did you choose the timing of World Wellness Weekend to fall each year on the Autumn Equinox? The Equinox symbolizes the harmony of work and life as it is a moment in the year where day and night hours are equal. It’s fall in the northern hemisphere, a time when people enjoy nature’s glorious colours. S pa I nc .c a


spa star

Jean-Guy de Gabriac is the CEO of Tip Touch International, an award-winning consultancy and education company specializing in the guest experience for the hospitality and spa industries

It’s also a time when tourist numbers dwindle, and hotels and resorts look for ways to fill emptying rooms. Below the equator, it's spring, a time to renew and refresh. September is a very strong month to get business back on track for fitness clubs promoting memberships and spas introducing new products and treatments. We also didn’t want to compete with Global Wellness Day in June. What are some of the benefits of participating in this iconic weekend? We showcase the participating venues on our website in 16 languages, and include in our international press releases the “wellness champions” who go above and beyond. The website is a great resource to attract wellness enthusiasts, with creative ideas for activities, marketing and communications materials, and social media. We strive to inspire wellness professionals

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worldwide so that in turn they can elevate their services and programs. You can email us at to let us know what your plans are and we’ll promote them on the website. Today, you are jet-setting to destinations around the world. How do you maintain your own vitality? The truth is, like anybody else, I need to take better care of myself. I travel a lot and by the time I adjust, I’ve depleted my sleep reservoirs. My wife quite wisely asked why I was taking care of the wellness of the world, when I should also take care of myself. When I’m home, I practice yoga, sometimes with my daughter’ westie, Snowy. Through mindfulness I enter a state of flow and creativity. I am driven by a strong sense of purpose – to help make a difference, as often as I can.



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Distributed in Canada by DermaSpark Products Inc. | 1-866-237-0849 |

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