And Luxury for All

November 14, 2005

Salons and spas are visited by folks of all ages and varying incomes.

A professional touch means better results, according to executives at Valencia, CA-based Cuccio Naturalé.
To find out where you’re going, you need to know where you’ve been—and nobody knows this better than spa marketers.

U.S. spa industry sales topped $10.7 billion in 2001, according to a study conducted by Price-WaterhouseCoopers for the International Spa Association (ISPA). During that time, spa visits increased by 71%. Today, more clients than ever are visiting spas for a host of treatments, but marketers should view the growing numbers with caution, some industry experts said.

Suzanne Grayson of consultancy Grayson Associates, San Juan Capistrano, CA, likened the sudden growth of salons and salon-type products to the men's fragrance boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

“In the early 1970s, there were huge strides in men's fragrance, with a number of new releases all within a relatively short period of time,” Ms. Grayson pointed out. “There was huge exposure in print and television ads. Everybody expected men’s fragrance to explode. Well, we’ve been waiting for years now, and although the category has slowly been building, it never quite exploded.”

She noted that the spa and salon craze—which encompasses on-site treatments as well as products available at retail—is off to an impressive start, but could level off at some point. “The big question is, will (the spa industry) build business, or will it fraction the department store business yet further?” she asked. “As these products move to retail, they may become lost among other products in the store that contain botanicals or boast reparative properties.”

But for now, the segment is going strong, according to Ms. Grayson. “Spa treatments and products are very hot among the top of the consumer ‘triangle’ (greater disposable income) that tries everything and wants the latest and the newest,” said Ms. Grayson. “But the trickle-down to department store customers is what has the potential to make this category really grow.”

Part of the success of spas in recent years may be due to the fact that the concept is not new. Few consumers need to be convinced that a hot soak and a warm botanical rub can have positive effects.

But until recently, one key element has kept the everyday consumer away from his or her local spa: economics.

This has been changing in recent years, executives insist. “Consumers look at spa treatments as a trade-off. The consumer decides what she’s willing to give up for what she really feels is worthwhile,” said Ms. Grayson. “Today, in many cases, that worthwhile thing is a visit to the spa.”

An additional boost to this fast-growing industry is demand for retail spa products. Clients want to purchase treatment products in order to duplicate the beneficial effects at home.

Further bridging the gap are spa-type products sold directly through retail, enabling virtually any consumer to get in on the therapeutic skin care trend.

Dermajuvenate helps aid in the microderma-brasion recovery process, Pharmaskincare executives said.
For Trained Professionals Only
While spa-type products are popping up more often on store shelves, many spa professionals maintain that nothing beats a full-scale treatment on site.

Sothys USA is serious about spa treatments. “We sell directly to the salon and spa industry,” said Vivianne Garces of the company. “We have always had the philosophy that products work best when applied by a certified, licensed, trained esthetician or massage therapist. It’s been our philosophy for more than 50 years.”

Sothys has more than 20,000 salons in 82 countries. The company offers training in various global locations, including the Institute de Esthetiques in Miami. Classes also take place in New York, Dallas, San Francisco and Puerto Rico.

“What’s happening in the spa industry is that while the average person used to think that going to a spa was ‘the rich thing to do,’ now he or she can go to a day spa and receive targeted treatments,” Ms. Garces said.

Sothys has a lot on its agenda. The company’s newest introduction is its Secrets line. Secrets, introduced in October, targets women 45 and over who are experiencing hormonal changes that can affect the skin. The line contains Tex-OE, an extract from prickly pear. The extract is said to stimulate the skin, while preserving skin cells against external aggression. “With this product, we teach the skin to protect itself so it can stay younger, longer,” Ms. Garces said. The treatment incorporates a 21-day cycle that can be completed at home.

The company also introduced Lift Defense II. The Lift Defense Institute Treatment contains retinol and vitamin C to continue the effects of the in-salon treatment. Lift Defense Silky or Enriched creams complete the skin care experience.

Next on the company’s agenda will be Anti-Earth Drainage concentrate, a slimming booster that increases microcirculation in the body, company executives said. The cellulite-fighting treatment will be available shortly.

“The spa industry is definitely growing,” Ms. Garces said. “If you compare it to a few years ago, it’s already grown significantly.”

Get Serious
Going a layer deeper, some treatments aim not to duplicate the effects of a trip to the dermatologist’s office, but to make recovery from them easier.

Pharmaskincare, Sun Valley, CA, offers RHR Dermajuvenate to aid in the microdermabrasion recovery process. RHR (retexture, heal and refine) soothes and relieves irritated skin. It is packed with fatty acids to help clients maintain the results of exfoliating facial treatments between visits, company executives said.

“In their daily lives, men and women are extremely busy, and they accumulate a lot of stress,” said Rena Revivo, founder and chief executive officer, Pharmaskincare. “Our concept is to capture both the external and emotional sides of the equation. Our products aim to correct and revive externally, but also to help in relieving a little of the environmental stressors.”

The company utilizes products that have been through both in-vivo and in-vitro testing and are proven to work, Ms. Revivo said. “Our raw materials are very effective,” she said. “The research is extremely extensive. That’s why we chose them.”

Pharmaskincare utilizes vitamin and liposome technology for intense treatment, according to executives.

“The liposomes are a very unique and quick delivery system,” Ms. Revivo commented. “It’s very advanced skin care which has become a strong element in spas. The liposome technology in Pharmaskincare products is very targeted. It comprises a quick delivery system containing a beneficial composition of products that actually perform right away, either through facial treatments or daily remedies the client can do at home.”

She added that the technology helps to stimulate collagen synthesis to work deeply within the skin.

Pharmaskincare products include Vita Liposome Collagen II, which is said to penetrate to the third layer of the skin; Derma Juvenate Skin Force system, with vitamins A, B and E in capsules; ACC (acne control complex), with vitamins and beta-hydroxy acid and the RHR Dermajuvenate.

Body Bistro, available at Henri Bendel, Planet Blue, Kitson and other upscale locations, also offers help for overworked skin. Body Bistro Apricot-Lavender Soothing serum is said to soothe irritation caused by minor traumas such as waxing and tweezing. In addition, the formula soothes the senses, executives insisted.

“Both spa and follow-up home care treatments are leaning more toward the medical side. It’s getting much more advanced,” Ms. Revivo insisted. “I think that’s a great combination.”

There’s magic in products from the sea, according to Dead Sea Spa Magik.

Water, Water Everywhere
The idea of the spa goes back millennia, to pre-Roman times, when it was a commonly-held belief that water had healing properties.

In ancient Greece, bathing in fresh water or springs was considered a critical element for the treatment of a variety of ailments.

Sea water and sea salt were also considered therapeutic, and the current spa renaissance is taking the idea a step further with products containing sea plants, marine extracts and salts.

Dead Sea Spa Magik products are sold exclusively to select day, hotel and destination spas worldwide. Rich Moisturiser was recently added to the line. The product is said to moisturize the skin, while offering UVA and UVB protection.

Company executives said that natural compounds from seawater can help reconstitute lost elements in the body, producing a holistic effect.

Dead Sea Spa Magic Rich Moisturiser can be used at home as a day protection cream or as a base for makeup.

AquaSanté is another line that utilizes the riches of the sea. Meaning “health through water,” AquaSanté was created by Annette Hanson, founder and president of Atelier Esthétique Institute, a New York State licensing esthetics school and postgraduate facility.

Ms. Hanson tapped pure seaweeds from the coast of Brittany, home to more than 1,200 species of seaweed, she said. The varieties Fucus vesiculosis, Laminaria digitata and Spirulina are utilized in the product line. The seaweeds contain a variety of minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B12, C, D, E and H, as well as oligoelements.

The Aquasanté line includes Moisturizing body lotion with Marine Extracts, Hand cream with Shea Butter and Aromatic complex with Six Essential Oils.

Do Try This at Home
While spa-goers can take home their favorite products from the salon, selective consumers can choose from some of the newest releases off the store shelf.

Borghese Inc., New York, NY, has created “the ultimate in pure indulgence” with its new At-Home Spa kits, according to company executives. The At-Home Spa kits are designed to meet the demands of today’s active consumers, executives said.

Developed from the time-honored treatments of the Terme di Montecatini spa in Tuscany, Italy, the kits include Spa Mani for hands, Spa Pedi for feet, Spa Capelli for hair and Spa Occhi for the eyes.

Borghese’s spa products are formulated with the company’s Acqua di Vita “living water” complex. They contain an entire range of spa-type products from penetrating moisturizers to body exfoliants, company executives said.

Kniepp, which distributes products through spas and salons, now offers an at-home spa line as well. The Kniepp Spa line features body oil, massage oil and bath oil in three scents: Wild Rose, Sea Buckthorn and Ylang Ylang.

Kniepp executives said superior quality is the cornerstone of the company’s product lines. The Spa line includes exotic plant extracts and oils from around the world. Kniepp products are available at Nordstrom, The Garden Spa-Memorial Hermann Wellness center and stores and spas nationwide.

UK-based Get Fresh offers a variety of bath and body products. The company has introduced Bath salts, a therapeutic bath soak with natural sea salts for detoxifying and a pH-balanced mixture of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid for skin softening. The company has an extensive Get Fresh Spa line, including Moisturizing Body sugar, Bath treatments and a Hand treatment. It also offers Body Facials in Soy, Hydrating and Bio-Exfoliating.

“Spa products used to be a luxury,” observed Ms. Grayson of Grayson Associates. “Now they can be found virtually anywhere. The current and upcoming generations feel differently about ‘luxury’ items than previous generations. They’ve grown up with them, so the growth potential for the future of this industry is great.”

The Scentual Spa kit from Cuccio Naturalé includes everything a man needs to de-stress, including slippers.

Oh My...Guys
Personal pampering isn’t just the domain of women. Industry executives insist men are the next untapped segment in the spa category.

Getting men into the spa can be a delicate matter, but some professionals say they have the answer. For example, Tony Cuccio of Cuccio Naturalé, Valencia, CA, insists that a blend of salon and spa can make men feel comfortable about entering a salon’s doors. These locales, coined “salon/spa hybrids” by Mr. Cuccio, are the wave of the future, he insisted.

“It’s not unlike what happened with the barbershop industry of yesteryear,” Mr. Cuccio noted. “To get men out of the standard barbershop and into the salon, they created the unisex shop. You saw the term everywhere.”

Mr. Cuccio said the times are changing. “Today, you don’t need that phrase anymore, because (the hair salon) is a common place for men to get their hair cut and styled at the same salon women do,” he said.

And as for the future, “You’ll see the same thing happen with the salon/spa hybrids. In 10 years, the salon will be extinct, and the spa will be what remains,” Mr. Cuccio predicted.

Cuccio Naturalé executives are loyal friends to salon and spa professionals, company executives said. “By not offering our lines through retail outfits, Cuccio Naturalé remains a prestigious brand,” said Mr. Cuccio.

The company recently introduced the Milk & Honey Scentual spa kit, “the most successful introduction of any product in our five-year history,” Mr. Cuccio revealed. “As soon as we stock the shelves with our new line of Milk & Honey products for manicures and pedicures, they are empty again.”

The line features Butter Blend, a non-oily intensive hydrating treatment that delivers five times the moisture and excellent staying power.

Also available in the line are Sea Salts, Sanitizing Manicure Soak balls and Pedicure Fizz tablets. Each product can be purchased separately or in the Scentual Spa kit, which also includes two pairs of faux cow fur pedicure slippers.

“Due to the incredible response of the Milk & Honey line, we expect to add products to enhance the experience,” Mr. Cuccio said.

He commented that the secret to Cuccio Naturalé’s success is its targeted in-salon treatments and follow-up products and regimens.

“We focus on finding creative solutions to clients’ problems, such as the Lemon Skin Lightening serum and service,” he said. “We’ll continue to do so. We’re always looking forward to developing innovative products and services to enhance spas worldwide.”

Body Bistro soothes minor skin traumas caused by tweezing and waxing.

Room to Grow
The spa industry can only grow from here, industry professionals told Happi. Available to men and women of all ages, indulgent as a day on the site or as convenient as the store shelf, spa products have the potential to permeate nearly all channels.

“The growth potential (in this industry) remains tremendous,” said Mr. Cuccio. “The spa market is only now just inching its way out of the infancy stage. More people than ever, including men and even some children, now visit spas. And baby boomers who have made spa visits a regular part of life will have a huge impact on the spa market tomorrow, because their children will follow in their footsteps.”

And with endorsements coming more frequently from the medical field, the spa is a place of holistic comfort. Mr. Cuccio said, “Spas are going to become an important part of those enduring illnesses, to help maintain a positive attitude and to aid in their recovery.”

With odds like that, it’s no wonder so many retailers, estheticians and marketers are joining the spa craze. “I don’t see the spa industry slowing down,” said Ms. Garces of Sothys, “because we have too many stressed people in this world. We need to take care of them, and we need to do it the right way.”