Beauty & Personal Care: Insights on Reopening, Resetting, Reimaging Takeaways

The Global Wellness Collaborations bring industry leaders together in meaningful dialogue to share ideas and best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis around a specific industry segment.

Topic:Beauty & Personal Care: Insights on Reopening, Resetting, Reimaging
Date of Discussion: July 28, 2020
Countries/Regions Represented: American Samoa, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, UK, US, Viet Nam.

    • Our online sales escalated beyond our wildest dreams. Actually, everybody was at home doing self-care, and it was a really good moment for us to seize. We did some Instagram live chat and facials at home virtually, and that really boosted our online sales.
    • Over the last few months, we’ve seen certain day spas and medical spas opening fast here in America, but the hotels are much slower. Interestingly, for the med spas and day spas, business has been really good, and their numbers are up. And one of the things that are attributing to that is something that they’re calling the zoom effect.
    • If the occupancy is good and the room rates are good, then the spa does well. What we’re suffering now is the occupancies are really low, and the room rates are much lower.
    • Hotels that are in areas that have a good drive market, e.g., Nemacolin, which is just outside of Pittsburgh, drivable from New York, are doing well. It’s drivable from Pittsburgh, and they have been exceptionally busy beyond normal. The interesting thing that they’re finding, and I think this is going to be a trend in spas globally, distress and the sleep challenges that people are having are more so than it’s ever been, and it’s an interesting statistic.
    • There are 330 million people in the US. The medical professionals are now saying that 50% of Americans are suffering from stress.
    • I think meditation and breath work are going to be a big trend in the future because people are stressed, and I think we all show it differently.
    • Hotels’ main areas for revenue are the room rates and food and beverage. The spa is always the lesser generator for revenue. So, I think day spas and med spas are going to be much more popular, and they’re going to come back stronger. And we’re seeing that globally at the moment.
    • We saw our spas come back in China, sort of late March, again, day spas and med spas because many of the hotels even till now have not reopened because of the travel difficulties. So, the spas in China are back to about 70 to 80% of where they were pre-COVID. And the really high-end luxury spas are at 100% back to where they were. I think we’re very fortunate. We are a brand that’s well recognized and well trusted, and the Chinese population is all about the brand, all about luxury. And our retail sales in China are 100% back to where they were, which is you know, amazing.
    • In Spain, the spas reopened in May, day spas and med spas. And again, we’re talking days. It was a little difficult in Spain because the government had a 50% occupancy mandate. Although the spas could open, they could only be at 50%, but they have done exceptionally well. Again, really stringent hygiene standards were put in place. Spain is again suffering the same as the US and China with the hotel industry; that’s just going to be across the board. So again, the day spa or med spa seems to work better at the moment.
    • The UK, the last that came to the party, they literally just came back on board in the last two weeks. At the moment, there are still no facials allowed in the UK.
    • Are you making money with breath work?
    • It’s really not about money. We’re incorporating it into the treatments so that it’s part of the treatment. I think that anyone that has ever worked in a spa knows the situation when a guest comes in; it takes a good 10 minutes before they relax into a massage. I think that starting with breath work brings that level of stress down, and you can enjoy an experience.
    • We sell body oils, and one of them is called de-stress. And it’s flying out of the door at the moment. They want to de-stress.
    • We’ve really felt the impact globally, and we felt it immediately in March and just really feel that it’s very slow to come back globally. I’ve been in touch with our distribution partners. We are on a partial furlough for a lot of our team right now just because the spa side of things is very slow. But I would say globally, Sweden has very strong businesses and was probably impacted the least, although they were impacted quite a bit. They saw probably about 30% of their hotels closed initially.
    • They have a lot of day spas in Sweden, and there’s those that never closed. They’re seeing those come back. The hotels are a lot slower to come back in Sweden, but they really never closed. So that has been the bright spot for us kind of as far as you know, business remaining. In many parts of Asia, they’re still closed. So, I was in touch with Singapore, and their hotels have started to open, but they’re using a lot of their hotels for quarantine still.
    • I spoke with our person in Australia yesterday, and she’s saying they have one region that’s starting to open. They have other regions where hotels are opening, but they’re using them for quarantine. So, the spas are just very kind of slow, and here in the UK, they’re starting to open. E-commerce for us has been good.
    • We reopened as soon as we were able to start. Some of our online business has a small percentage, 10 to 15% at most of our business.
    • I think that to have a strong online presence is more important than ever. And we’ve always done well with it, but since we’ve been doing the Instagram Live and the virtual trainings, it’s just skyrocketed. Our numbers did go up to 150% in April and May, then they are dropping back down, but we’re still about 60% above normal.
    • And those opportunities are actually much greater today than they have perhaps ever been, partially as a result of people’s desire for health and wellness and personal care products. When we look at our businesses in the supplement category, for example, we’re seeing increases of anyplace between 15 and 20% over last year’s.
    • I will say that I really don’t worry about the demand for personal services. The spa will come back. I don’t have much concern about that. It has been very strong. We were seeing numbers that approached last year’s numbers as they started to reopen. And as services were being offered for the first time, a bit of pent up demand I’d suggest, but nonetheless, we were seeing 75-80% of last year’s numbers. I live in Arizona, so you could imagine what we’re enduring here. You do have a cautious consumer that’s saying, I’m not looking for this as much as I once thought I was. We’re seeing numbers drop from being say 75% of last year, to maybe as little as 50% of last year.
    • And I really divide those consumers up into three categories. You’ve got early adopters who rushed in. You had fence-sitters who probably could have gone either way, dependent on the circumstances and whether a pandemic was raging. And then you have the risk-averse consumers who, prior to a vaccine, probably will never come to a spa. And it really is the middle ground that we’re playing for. And that’s probably the largest percentage, or maybe 30% of people in that early adopter category and 20% in the in the risk-averse category, but you’re playing for the middle at 50%. And as that swings up, you’ll get to the 75-80% of last year number. As it swings down, you might get down to the 50s.
    • We’re very involved with the supplement business, have been for over 20 years, have created a system we called the vitamin advisor where we tested more than two and a half million people on their lifestyle choices, their prescription needs, in order to make sure there are no gaps, no overlaps, and no drug interactions. But because of the complexity of all those questions, it really does take somebody who knows what they’re talking about or a device like the vitamin advisor who gave you an algorithm and answer. The answer to what is selling is immunity. And all things immunity. So, vitamin C would be an example, but only one.
    • And so, do you think that talking about immunity and spa settings would be a good direction?
    • Sure. I mean, there’s all sorts of things other than what you ingest. You know, how you eat and how you exercise, and how you relieve stress. These people will all tell you it’s all a combination of what you eat, how you sleep, how you exercise, and how you attack your stress relief. And really, spas have only dealt with the fourth of those four categories.
    • I’ve always defined a brand as a promise that creates a preference. And if you don’t have a valid brand promise, you will not create a preference, and you can create that brand promise through a variety of mechanisms. One is the authority of a brand partner.
    • Celebrities we are using for marketing are well known. I mean, generally speaking amongst people who are health- and wellness-oriented, they might be known by 65-70% of the population and maybe 30-40% of the total population. So, then you turn to people who may have social media followings in the hundreds of millions. These are folks that are not new to the business, and they aren’t being paid to do it.
    • And what if you could have Will Smith? What if you could have someone like Rod Stewart? What if you could have a Kelly Slater, the great surfer, what if you could have any of these kinds of people speaking on behalf of a set of products that they really understand and utilize themselves? We think of that as a great opportunity to help brands.
    • From the United States, we saw really strong e-commerce. Initially, during the first part of the pandemic, I do believe that consumers were becoming more wary. Because as this drags on, and we see these hot spots permeating, we’ve seen a pretty big decline in our e-commerce sales up to 30% last month, and we’re on target for 25% decline this month. I also think that brands are going to be better predominantly in the spot channel, and we’ll need to look at other channels in the future in order to mitigate being too focused or exposed in one area. So I think we’re probably all looking at different distribution at this moment.
    • In Brazil, we are a medical spa. It’s the fifth week we are open. And we are seeing people coming mostly from Sao Paolo. They come by car. Some are driving eight to nine hours, others five to six hours, and they are delighted to be out in nature. They are not afraid of being touched.
    • We are very careful with our staff. And they are buying products, whatever we have for skin, even organic products; they work from here. We have people now in their fourth week; they are working, so we are adapting most of our many collective rooms for private rooms that they can work from here. So, it’s wonderful because we are out in the country.
    • You know, at the beginning of the year, we make trend predictions based on our Summit from that previous year. And one that we predicted was the wellness sabbatical, the idea that people would go somewhere and stay for longer periods of time and work while they’re also at a spa.
    • I’m a distributor of naturally certified organic beauty products for professionals. We’ve seen a great climb and jump in our business. We launched an initiative on the 17 SDGs for a better world by 2030. And that has taken our business to new heights. We’re focusing on number three, which is good health and wellbeing, providing that for salon professionals specifically through organic natural products hair color. We have just really been able to grow through all of this and help support more and more salon owners because their minds are shifting and people are focusing on wellness, more in the beauty business than ever before.
    • So yeah, the climate and sustainability goals and SDGs are resonating.
    • It sounded as though the hotels were almost an impossible challenge, and I would beg to differ a bit. I think it’s how you go about finding your consumer. For those who have opened the doors and waited for people who are guests at the hotel to walk in, that will be difficult because occupancies are down in the 20% and 30%.
    • On the other hand, we have found that the real opportunity in the hospitality sector is in recruiting locals. And that typically makes up between 60% and 80% of the total revenue. So that is where the opportunity is not just in COVID days, but in all days in the hotels have a certain advantage over a lot of smaller places because they have very high standards for public safety.
    • I’m in Tampa Bay. I consult for many spas, doctors all over. And I think that we have such a great opportunity here. I know we’re talking about stress. But I think that if we want to really make an impact with mental wellness, we need to call it that, you know, because I think that people are looking for a reprieve and they want to be mentally well, but we keep using these other terms.
    • Maybe you could consider having a life coach on board, having somebody that’s a therapist, having a counselor, having a resource for them. If we incorporated it, and we really wanted to make a big change, like I know I want to come out of this better than the way that we came in, and we want to remove that stigma too; we absolutely need to call it what it is. It’s not just stress. People are just full of anxiety and depression, so the spa is where we want to go.
    • I think immune building and mental wellness are resonating. It’s newer, and of course, mental wellness is a broader spectrum. And by the way, the Global Wellness Institute’s research this year is on mental wellness.
    • I’m an advisor, and one of the things that we’ve noticed when you look at overall stress is that financial stress, or money, is one of the biggest stresses that we have. And what we’re finding in this particular pandemic is that that’s just adding on to everybody’s additional stress from the emotional standpoint, physical, mental. So one of the things that we’re doing and why I find these talks so valuable is we’re really trying to find how do we help support living in those other areas of wellness and living that intentional life because your money is only a tool that helps you get there, but it’s really about everything else that you’re doing and living that intentional life. So if it is that mental illness or you’re having a hard time with this, how do we help you as an advisor, find those resources, so that you can get back on that path, and we’re here to help them basically pay for it right because we can tell them that they can do it.
    • I’m a podiatrist, and I consult with salons and spas around pedicures and explaining to them the need to convert some of these services to telehealth and telemedicine.
    • And you need adaptogenic people and ideas in order to create new income streams rather than expecting your old income streams to support you. I see a lot of people very excited. They’re back to 40%. And I say to them, what’s your overhead? Well, it’s about 50%. So, unless you take that to 85% or 90%, you’re going to close.
    • This is likely to be something that we will battle at some level for the next 24 months. And when you’re out of cash, you’re out of the game. We are stockpiling cash to get to 24 months from now because demand will come back. It’s just the people are afraid. And you’ve got to be there when they do come back. You’re going to work like heck on reaching them at a cost-effective rate, which is your digital strategy, and finding the way to get the heart of the people that work for you that are so powerful in what they’re able to tell consumers about why they care. Tell them that they have to talk about the message of the safety precautions you’re taking. It’s only when people feel that they’re safe will demand return.


    • CHAT:
    • High-end brands have the money to supply PPE and other sanitation measures.
    • Sleep and stress are conversely related, leading to a vicious cycle of both developing a sleep disorder and stress disorder, potentially leading to burn out syndrome. Breaking the vicious cycle can be the focus of a spa.
    • We do breathing exercises as well with our clients, but it should be guided in a certain way based on physiologic principles.
    • Breath work can be used for respiratory health and for changing neurotransmission for stress.
    • There is talk of UK GPs prescribing cycling/exercise to help build resilience and improve mental health, if they’re not already.
    • And fascinating to see PM Boris Johnson now talking about his own personal health journey post-COVID…astonishing!
    • In Colorado, people are terrified to come to spas.
    • Does anyone know if there is a significant difference in sales of natural, “clean,” sustainable products over others? Any numbers would be helpful. Here is an article with statistics.
    • For those of us who are leveraged in the spa channel, wholesale is still nonexistent for the most part, and e-commerce started off strong, but as this drags on, I believe consumers are becoming more conservative in spending. Last month we saw a 30% decline in e-commerce, and this month we are on track for a 25% downturn.
    • We are on our 5th reopening week in Brazil. We are already operating at 60% capacity. The guests want to be outside and are engaged in most of our collective outside activities.
    • While at a recent MD appointment, a paramedic in Colorado was telling me she hates to even work her PM shift these days because she must respond to at LEAST one suicide per shift! Mental health is HUGE!!!!
    • The connection of immunity -> anti-inflammatory is also now being exposed by personal care providers and sought after by consumers (from new England USA area clients).
    • Take care of gut-brain axis to enhance immunity capacity has had a great appeal to our guests.
    • Right now, my clients want some time to vent, and I am listening. So, every client gets extra time to talk about their stress or angst.
    • You normally provide direct services to seniors who are suffering MOST! The required isolation has expanded the incidence of depression and loss of positivity. We cannot touch seniors at this time but created a letter-writing campaign – Circles of Light – to create pen pals with local beauty professionals who will meet after the pandemic restrictions are lifted. We need volunteers and are very grateful to companies like Mike Bruggeman’s who have donated products to accompany the letters. We would like to touch the world, so if you have an interest, please PM me or see the website for information Beauty Becomes You
    • Read about GWS’s wellness sabbatical here.
    • I’m an integrative nutrition specialist, and we’ve seen a major increase in our immunity-boosting superfood (300% on Amazon from March onward). Hotel spas and beauty boutiques have also been very interested in ingestible beauty & wellness. There’s a blurring of the lines of beauty (skin, hair, nails), functional wellness, and health (immunity) right now.
    • My last project was with Sensei, who is seeing busy times in Lāna’i on Hawaii with the launch of their extended wellness immersion packages.
    • In Summit County, which is 60 minutes from Denver, hotels are PACKED! I just had the team fly in for a strategic repositioning and couldn’t get rooms. I think there is an opportunity for wellness-focused properties IN NATURE adjacent to metropolitan areas to target marketing to a demographic that needs to get away and feel SAFER in nature.
    • I agree nature is a great healer!!!
    • Financial wellness is definitely on our radar to be incorporated.
    • Spa Business Magazine.

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