Selling Your Brand to Spas
Spas represent a tantalizing market for indie beauty brands because of their relatively small order sizes and the steady growth of the spa market. This article is drawn from interviews with several spa owners and industry professionals, and they offer guidance on how to create and maintain a relationship selling to spas.
Spa revenue in the US in 2015 was roughly $16.3 billion, a number that has been mostly rising year over year. The growth in the spa industry is notable—in 2001 spa revenue was around $7.6 billion, an increase of 114% in just 15 years. Needless to say, spas are a critical market for beauty brands and they offer a unique opportunity for smaller indie beauty brands to gain awareness and market share.
Stand Out to Spas: Function, Niche, & Brand Story
To stand out and begin selling to spas, you’ll need to have good products and a brand that stands out. This means that first and foremost, your products should be results-oriented. Ideally, there will be some noticeable effect after using them—skin is instantly softer, or it feels exfoliated, or wrinkles look reduced.
Your products need to fit a niche in your desired spa. Of course, if the spa already has their favorite serums, it would be better to provide a lotion that complemented them.
Part of the niche you need to address is your brand and the appearance of your products. Make sure you have a clear brand story that is believable and fits with the spa. Perhaps hand crafted in small batches is your main message, or perhaps you focus on the science of your products that would fit well with medi-spas and other science-focused businesses. Attractive packaging should match the aesthetic of the spa itself too. Neon colors may not work well in a spa focused on natural and calming services.
Partnering with a Spa
Once you have identified the spa you want to partner with, most owners recommend emailing the owner or head esthetician (they recommended not to call, especially not on Saturdays!). Social media can be a great way to stand out and demonstrate your brand, and it also shows that you have followers who are likely writing reviews on your posts. Do your research and figure out the best strategy to present your brand.
Now that a partnership has been established, it becomes your responsibility to do two things. Firstly, you must ensure that your supply chain can handle the increase in production. Spa owners are likely using your products in their backbars and need large sizes on a daily basis. If the spa is large or has multiple locations make sure to prepare your suppliers and cash flow to handle the increase.
Secondly, you are responsible for education. Every spa owner who spoke mentioned the importance of the education of their staff, who then know how to use the product and in turn educate customers so the clients buy the retail sizes too. Provide step-by-step guides, outline techniques, train in person if necessary, and give guidance on how much to use per application. If you can’t keep traveling to train every esthetician a video will do, too. Sometimes a spa will ask you to do a vendor event, so be prepared to train clients and provide samples too. Just make sure the event makes sense in the season and the city.
Exclusivity & Selling to Spas
A note on exclusivity with spas. The main way that retail goods are sold in a spa is by standing out from the rest of the beauty market. This means many spas will want to be the exclusive seller of your brand, or at least a single product. We don’t recommend signing a contract that makes your whole brand exclusive, instead stick with one line of products (or even just one product).
Selling to spas means making them look good to their customer too, so and easy way is to create a signature product just for one spa. You can customize it to some extent, co-brand it, and everyone wins. It’s also an easy way to provide some exclusivity.
To conclude, spas are a fertile space and they want your products. They offer a good opportunity to work together and also introduce your brand to a whole new batch of customers. Don’t tie yourself down with 100% exclusivity as you grow—you’ll come to regret it. But selling to spas can be a wonderful way to grow your brand and a long-term partnership.
If you’d like some ideas on what to sell in a spa, check out our range of our Spa Sampler Packs.
If you are a spa owner looking to sell branded products in your own spa, check out this article on the topic.