Panelists weigh in on the issues impacting the efforts of spas in their pursuit of top talent and the things they can do to retain their expertise
One 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 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 full-time.
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:
“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.