The Benefits in “Going Green”


After decades of exponential growth in the spa industry we have become accustomed to steadily increasing numbers of clients, revenues and opportunities. The primary constraints to revenue growth have been management skill, facility size, the number of qualified employees, and the ratio of esthetics to body services (esthetics delivering more dollars per client visit with skin care purchases.)

New constraints on revenue growth are the US economy, the credit crisis, and increasing fuel costs. The revenues of “brick and mortar” retailers are decreasing while on-line retail sales are increasing. Many of the lines we sell are being sold by manufacturers on-line directly to the consumer. With that $120 bottle of serum normally found at a professional skin care salon available at the local Whole Foods market, top skin care lines available on EBay and clients curtailing the number of miles they will drive for products and services, the economics of the spa business are shifting dramatically.

There may be little we as individuals or as day spas can do about global warming, we can however, make efforts towards green and we can learn to apply “sustainability – zero waste” practices that will result in resource conservation, a reduction of our carbon foot print, and a much needed reduction in our operating costs.

Practices to consider:

Downsizing printed service menus – we have seen our industry produce booklets, books and all manner of printed information explaining service and retail choices to educate and entice customers. These are costly! A multi-million dollar upgrade at a Four Star Resort in San Diego provides a service menu that is an 8.5 * 11 sheet of paper, printed on both sides. Results: Fewer trees needed, less energy needed and significant reduction in graphic design and printing costs.

Print advertising – glossy ads are great when your business is in the startup phase. An established day spa with 40% + overall return rate is better off allocating marketing dollars to cultivating referrals. Business processes designed to develop client advocates is by far the most cost effective marketing plan. Results: Clients benefit from the in-house loyalty program and promotional efforts, reduction in advertising costs.

Embossed gift bags – The cost of a custom heat stamped gift bags is .50 to $2.50 depending upon the size and paper quality. What is the cost to our environment? Give our customers .50 or a $1 dollar for bringing there own bag! Offer new customers your spa branded reusable bag for a few dollars or as a gift. Results: Our spa makes a difference, educates clients, preserves our natural resources and reduces our packaging costs.

Paper hand towels – even the recycled paper hand towels have an environmental cost in the resources needed to produce them and the impact of waste in landfills. Cloth hand towels that may be cold water washed in non-toxic detergent may seem like a luxury; however it is a smart practice and good business. Results: Waste reduction, resource conservation and reduction of supply costs.

In the spa industry we are at the epicenter of growing wellness awareness; awareness that now includes our entire community and culture.

By: Rhana Pytell


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