Planning and budgeting for spa design

This is such a fabulous topic, design and creation of spas and spa concepts is my no 1 passion and I am so blessed to do this kind of work on a daily basis. However with everything; the good and the beautiful, comes with the bad and the ugly and this comes in the form of that evil word BUDGET.
By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail. We all dream of creating these incredible spaces with amazing experiences to offer our guests but are often deflated and brought back down to earth with a bang when we hear what it is going to cost.

As Steven Covey tells us…. Start with the end in mind…We want to produce memorable brands and have luxurious looking spas but often we do not have a clue how much it is going to cost/how to correctly conceptualize it – ENTER…. Spa consultant, interior designer and architect – WHAM MORE costs to boot. Not only are we as consultants seen too be too expensive but we are often seen as the bearers of bad (sometime tragic) news when the budget is presented and it is WAY over the original estimates. But when our client’s see how we break everything down and lay it out clearly they understand why the weather prediction of doom and gloom has clouds with silver linings. We bring with us serious amounts of “SPA BUSINESS KNOWLEDGE” and we know what works and what doesn’t. Therefore saving you money in the long run.

Nowadays you can really have anything your heart desires in the shape and name of a spa. From Spas made completely out of ice; to wine spas to chocolate spas. Treatments using exotic – venomous creatures (I’ll die), 24 carat gold facials, crazy ass hot tubs to being buried in volcanic sand spas. There is nothing you cannot do and nothing you cannot find someone to build for you but just always keep in mind the set up cost and the yield the facility is going to bring you once it is running. Make sure the design communicates the brand and is it sustainable as a business especially in the current economic climate we find ourselves.

Remember that you need to be fluid – don’t be precious with your business and make sure you budget for change. We live a fast paced existence and things change daily so we have to be certain we can tackle change as well as a client complaint and in a world where our 1st jobs are obsolete before the 1st anniversary of us working at the company and our 1st year of course collateral is outdated by the time we finish 2nd year. We have to be ready for whatever the future holds and we cannot hold on to our couples suites and Vichi showers if they are not what our clients want and not what is going to put money in the bank and keep us operating. The only thing certain in the world is change; right now it’s all about dry bars and express treatments but tomorrow it might be something COMPLETELY different. And yes I know that it is out of the question to change your business monthly these days but if you do not heed the big changes you will get left behind.

From the sublime to the ridiculous there is so much out there that is really working because of the fore thought that went into it. To mention a few International Spa and salon brands like Elemis, mandarin oriental, ESPA, MSPA and Steiner leisure; are creating new and incredible spas yearly. They employ solid planning processes and work with professionals and that’s why the end product works and consumers trust. They have the WOW factor as you can see and use the professionals to help them do it right the 1st time. Believe in your consultant and design team and you can sit back and watch as your dreams take shape (and pay the bills 😉

But then there are the ones getting it right;

For instance the newest fad Baby Spas – taking the world by storm. A bizarre concept that if released 5 years ago might never have taken off but now with a HUGE market on new babies and every accessory for that baby it is caught on like wild fire.

Our very own Sorbet a dynamic business that looks incredible on EVERY corner and has sound business practices behind it.

The Hello kitty spa in Dubai catering for one of the biggest emerging markets in the spa industry today – children. With the brand power behind Hello Kitty and situated in one of the most luxurious and over the top cities in the world – a winning combo was created.

Here is an example though how even big brands get it wrong;
The Barbie Spa and Salon in the Flagship House of Barbie in Shanghai that is said to have permanently changed the landscape of Shanghai – it took 4 years to conceptualize and 2 years to build with a team of 1000’s to establish – failed after 2 years because even a company such a Mattel failed to plan correctly. “The first mistake Mattel made, in my opinion, is to have a standalone store before establishing Barbie as a strong brand in China. In America, Barbie is an iconic symbol of “femininity” for young girls. Over a period of fifty years, the brand has taken on a life of its own as Barbie assumed many roles of women. In China, Barbie is simply a doll. She is not associated with any cultural significance for Chinese girls or young women.” And so a multi-million dollar establishment had to close its doors.
Understanding numbers and beauty therapists don’t really go together like two peas in a pod do they? And when you ask a therapist what their concept is they neither understand this – But that is why companies such as us.
We will tell you more about how to plan for your new spa or refurb and what costs to take into account and how to budget. To make sure you don’t

1. Over capitalize and never make a return on your investment
2. Over invest in the beginning and not have enough working capital to sustain you in the quieter months on opening

So if it’s a new spa or salon you want to build or you want to refurb your existing business call us NOW.

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I qualified as a Somatologist in JHB in 2001. I began my career in the spa industry working on cruise ships for Steiner Transocean. I furthered my studies on my return to SA qualifying in advanced make up and special effects. I then moved to London where I worked in 2 of the most prestigious spas. I acquired knowledge in all aspects if the spa business and moved quickly from hands on therapy to part of the management team. When I finally came back to South Africa to settle for good I joined the management team of the Spas of Distinction where I grew my skill set even further and established a professional network throughout the South African Spa Industry. It is here where my roots are now deep seated and where I will remain for good. I started Spa Sense in 2010 and we have grown from strength to strength every year since then; forming key relationships with all the industry specialists. I head up the consultancy division of Spa Sense and run many of our training courses including Front Office, SOPs and Spa Sales and Retail. I also oversee our recruitment division making sure that all my clients and candidates expectations are always exceeded by the level service they receive from my team. I am incredibly passionate about what I do and hope I remain blessed enough to be in this exciting industry forever. This blog is a place I can share my views and experience so I hope you enjoy the articles and find them useful enough to use in your business.

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