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Spa Image

A spa is like a building: each and every element of its conception and design is a stone that is part of the foundation supporting the building (or the ambiance of the spa, if you will). If the aesthetic elements are important in the creation of the ambiance, structural elements are even more essential to it. Here are 10 of these most important "ambiance building stones."

As I write this article, one of my best friends – along with many other talented aesthetic candidates – is about sit for her New York State Board examinations for aesthetics. In an attempt to help her make a study plan for the countdown to the big day, I looked at her syllabus. "Health & Safety" was the first topic after orientation, followed by "Bacteriology." Do you see where I am going with this? Health and safety is the foundation of what any health and wellness professional's training and practice should be based on! From the front of the house in our retail areas to locker rooms, lounges and laundry areas, sanitation is the key to success. Sanitation is about more than washing your hands, it is about protecting the integrity of your service, your clients and equally as important, yourself.

Aestheticians and other spa professionals all learn about proper safety and sanitation practices in school, but once the state exam is over, much of what was learned is forgotten. Newly licensed spa professionals begin working at established spas with this knowledge fresh in mind, but often realize that not as much attention to detail is paid in reality.
Clients are not likely to question a well-reputed spa's sanitation practices. Though some spas pass a client's visual inspection, closer inspection might reveal several risks which could result in injury or illness to the aesthetician or the client, as well as fines and more serious disciplinary actions from both state and federal government agencies.

A busy aesthetics appointment schedule is a truly wonderful achievement. And, a newer but steadily growing practice is just as admirable, especially in a still stagnant economy. Though your sales are growing, your costs related to service work are increasing as well. You may not be comfortable enough to raise your prices during such a sensitive time and simply adding more appointment hours is not so appealing, either. Even if you are happy with your present business income you still do not want to throw away money you could keep. This may be an ideal time to examine your daily career practices to see if you are unnecessarily spending or giving away income.

Whether you intend to work for a spa or salon, or to begin a solo practice, the future successful aesthetician will need a good career plan and much dedication in order to grow a solid business. Beauty schools are still lacking in teaching the fundamentals of career development, and many prefer to avoid addressing the often unpleasant realities of establishing a new practice for fear of losing paying students.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a post in a spa group on LinkedIn by the owner of a well known architectural firm that specializes in the spa industry; in this posting, he stated that when designing the floor plan of a spa, the best ratio was 1,000 square foot surface for each treatment room. This does not mean that the room dimension should be 1,000 square feet, but that if you want to have a spa with six treatment rooms, your spa must be a 6,000 square foot spa! No wonder such spas do not make a profit!

It is no secret that winter's colder temperatures and dreary days can affect our moods. You have probably heard the term "the winter blahs" and maybe you are experiencing them right now. On the other hand, maybe what you are feeling is not actually connected to the weather at all. Maybe it is something that statistics say affects 77 percent of working Americans at one time or another – career burnout.
In the aesthetic business, burnout can make you feel lethargic, reduce your productivity, and make you want to throw in the towel on procedures you once enjoyed and looked forward to doing.

Okay, we all know the basic rules of sanitation. We know the difference between diplococci and spirochetes. We know that we are supposed to use spatulas. We know that we are supposed to use quaternary ammonia to sanitize reusable implements.
Aestheticians perform personal care services on live human skin. It is imperative that all therapists practice aseptic technique, and there really is no excuse or room for mistakes. So why and how do so many aestheticians make so many sanitation blunders on a fairly regular basis? Please read the following and see how many violations affect you or your place of business.

If ever there was a difficult decision for the aesthetician or spa owner to make, it is in choosing professional and retail products for treatments and home care. Just look in any spa or skin care trade publication (even this one!) and the number of available lines in just one issue alone is daunting – and confusing! So many things to consider: price, packaging, training, profit, ease of use… oh, and efficacy! Every offering seems to have its own distinct claim about quality, performance, and degree of penetration, purity, and so forth. Most, if not all, tout cutting-edge technology, proprietary ingredients, and results, results, results!

Does your spa pass the “white glove” test? With today’s emphasis on good hygiene and the battle against infection and diseases, society has become more conscious about cleanliness: We take a shower every day; we put on clean clothes; we clean our homes; we wash our cars, inside and out. So, why should spa-goers not expect to have a clean and sanitary environment in our spas, nail salons, hair salons, or facial studios? As the saying goes, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” As business owners of spas, salons, or studios we need to attract new clients and maintain the clients we have. We want our clients to feel safe, comfortable, nurtured, and clean.

Sterilization, aseptic techniques, good hygiene, and disinfection methods are essential for every health and personal care practice. Esthetics is no exception. You will learn techniques for disinfecting many salon implements, as well as the importance of aseptic techniques. You will learn to protect yourself and your clients from exposure to pathogenic organisms.
Germs are microorganisms that literally cover almost every surface, including the skin of the human body. Because this is true, it is important that we learn how to control microorganisms through proper sanitation and sterilization.

It is always nice to believe that people don't "judge a book by its cover." Unfortunately, that does not happen in reality. People do judge other people and businesses by their physical appearance, and this is a fact that I do not see changing. Aesthetics may be a branch or anatomical science, but it is still a part of the beauty industry.
Your professional image is your portfolio. This is the package you present that will influence whether or not people in this industry (both professionals and clients) will take you seriously enough to see what you actually have to offer.

Skin health is a highly competitive industry. Long-term success, however, can come from low-cost investments in yourself that have high impact. Education is something that can never be taken from you and can make you more effective in your career. You can gain knowledge in formal channels offering degrees, certification, or recognition. Acquiring certification in various aspects of the industry will give your practice what it takes to stand out, increase income, and shore up client bases. There are a multitude of opportunities available to the aesthetician. It is important, though, that you find reputable yet economical choices for any means you choose for continuing your education. 

On the road to starting and running your small business, there are many potential roadblocks. Questions concerning budgets, marketing, hiring, and promoting abound. Particularly during difficult economic times, creating a new venture can be risky and tricky. Well-meaning friends and relatives may often offer you advice that can derail you from your goals. But don’t despair; help is here! As a business owner for over 20 years, I would love to share some tips and tricks with you regarding operating your small company.
I started my spa 20 years ago, at a time when spas were few and far between. Some years later, I expanded the business and added my own cosmeceutical product line.

I have the best job in the world. I get paid to visit spas and experience spa services all over the world. I also own a spa and get to evaluate my staff members by receiving facials, massages, and body treatments from them on a regular basis. Not a bad gig, huh?
As you might imagine, when I talk about what I do, people tend to ooh and aah, mention that they’d gladly trade places with me, and then ask for a free sample of massage from me on the spot.

The scope of sanitation requirements from the Cosmetology Commissions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), include basic cleanliness, consumption of food, and protection from microorganisms. In the June issue we discussed the importance of maintaining your business facilities and equipment. This includes routine maintenance, such as, keeping the area in good order, hallways cleared, and furniture and appliances in good repair. Maintain daily, weekly, and monthly housekeeping schedules, and properly maintain procedure rooms to prevent cross-contamination of your product, clients, or yourself. Food and drinks cannot be sold, but you can offer them to your clientele.

Early in my career as a skin therapist, I had a colleague who was (and is) a wonderful aesthetician with a huge following. Let’s call her Madge. One day Madge was visited by a regular client for her routine age management treatment. Upon her arrival, the client told Madge that she had been to her dermatologist, and just had a biopsy on a lesion that she and Madge had been following for a year.
Truthfully, Madge had mentioned it to her on several occasions, and told her that she should have it checked out. The client had multiple problems with her skin (i.e. acne, pigment changes, photodamage) in which Madge was diligently supporting her with appropriate education, treatment, and products.

There is hardly a day spa or salon/spa business today that doesn’t offer dozens of services, service packages and hundreds of products for retail. On top of that, most businesses have several staff charged at various rates for a range of services. In addition, a client coming in for a service package may see several different staff and require the use of more than one service location within your facility.
Just keeping track of all of this activity has become a full-time job for spa owners and managers. Even a small mistake in managing a client’s time can result in less revenue, frustrated clients and staff, and even in lost business.

Let’s start with a very pertinent question. Is it your belief that a baby boomer’s primary concern today is how to look younger and feel better? If so, wouldn’t you want to position yourself as an expert in this burgeoning market?
By incorporating an array of facial machines into your practice, you can immediately set yourself apart and raise your status in the increasingly competitive professional skin care field. And as you put together machine-based solutions that achieve the results necessary to help boomers look younger and feel better, you’ll not only get a reputation as an “expert”, but also a nice piece of the corresponding dollar pie.

Sanitation is important, but there are often little things that can be overlooked when maintaining your facility. Unfortunately, there have been specific instances where the lack of sanitation has resulted in the spread of illness and disease. When proper sanitation measures are not followed, there can be fines issued to owners and licensees, which can lead to the closing of establishments. Many of you may think your facilities are clean, but what you cannot see is what needs to be combated. Basic biology and chemistry has taught us that the elements of our world consist of molecules, cells, bacteria, and viruses that cannot be seen.

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