The Evolution of the Salon and Spa Industry

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With the explosion of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry there seems to be a trend developing. Businesses are starting to blur the lines between a salon and spa. What once was only available in a salon is starting to appear in spas all over the world. Businesses who once specialized, now find themselves offering a wide array of beauty services giving the consumer a one stop beauty experience.

Some of the beauty product retailers have full hair salons and nail salons inside their stores. I’m sure it won’t be long before they start to add the spa services as well. It reminds me a lot of what happened in the automotive maintenance industry. Automotive repair and service are now being offering at previously exclusive oil change and tire service centers. The margins on oil changes and tires are so low that in order to create a viable business, these shops have to generate additional revenue for their sheer survival. And what more logical way than to offer a complete auto repair service lineup.

The beauty industry is following along the same lines. Simple nail salons have started to realize that as both the cost of living and the cost of running a business go up they need more revenue. The logical choice is to expand in other areas of the beauty industry. These businesses have eliminated the distinction between a salon and spa. Spas today offer traditional salon service and salons have added traditional spa services. Soon we will have mega-beauty complexes where you can get your hair, nails, massages, facials, makeup, tanning, waxing and any other beauty service you can think of. I’m not sure the drive-through beauty salon is something that we’ll see but I think we’ll get close!

Most of the small salon and spa owners are reluctant owners at best. They are the individuals who perform the actual services and consist of hairdressers, nail techs, masseuses etc. They would rather just do what they do and not have to worry about the details and headaches of running a business. It is a mindset thing. The problem is that they don’t want to give up the freedom that being your own boss yields. I see a niche developing in salon and spa businesses. If they can have their freedom but not have to worry about the business aspects, they will be very happy. These mega-beauty complexes will start to fill that void and provide these individual proprietors a sense of relief. They will be able to be a part of a business and not be “the” business. Obviously they will have to give up a little income in order to give up the headaches of owning your own business, but I think a lot of people will consider that a small price to pay.


David Cohen

Rachel Cohen: Rachel is a sustainability consultant who blogs about corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

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