Spa Marketing: Charity Partnerships

The benefits of charitable giving in the business world are twofold: They’re good for the soul and for building your brand. Here’s how three spa pros have leveraged charity partnerships to boost their spas’ profiles.

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Beyond smart promotions, social media wizardry and unique treatments with stellar service lies another, humbler vehicle for attracting new spa clients and retaining existing ones: simple good will. Marketing 101 states that when a business demonstrates its charitable side—whether through big and bold events or organic word-of-mouth—patrons are more likely to gravitate toward them. This principle rings especially true in the spa industry, known for its wellness- and people-centered practitioners. Partnering with a charitable organization is a slam-dunk on all fronts, as it can connect you to your clients on a different level and show that your spa’s priorities extend beyond the treatment room.

“Whether you own a spa or another type of business, it is important that you work with charities within your community or abroad to give back, or as some people say, pay it forward,” says Kathi Buzinski, owner of Cheveux Salon & Day Spa in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. “We have many clients who support important causes, and it is a great feeling to personally help them fund their efforts via gifts from our spa.”

DAYSPA spoke to three spa owners whose businesses have partnered with organizations on various endeavors of goodwill, only to discover perks of publicizing charitable initiatives that function on a business, financial and personal level.

The Spa: The Lounge Spa, Culver City, California

Partnered with: Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families in Ventura County, California, which aids abused and neglected children. Alice Koskas, owner of The Lounge Spa, says she became aware of this charity through close friends who were associated with it.

The event: The Lounge Spa served as the official post-event massage spa for Casa Pacifica’s 2nd Annual Desperate Housewives Golf Tournament, which was attended by some 120 guests, including the cast and crew from the hit ABC-TV series. Spa staff provided attendees with 15-minute massages, post-play. “They initially asked if I would donate a gift certificate for an auction, but I said I would do better and provide massages,” Koskas says. “The celebrity guests didn’t hesitate to participate and the turnout was amazing.”

The teamwork: “In addition to providing the mini massages, we created a mini spa atmosphere on the course—including information on specific offerings displayed on easels—for guests to experience. We also donated a certificate for a 50-minute couples massage to the auction. It was a fun and fabulous night, and the event ended up raising over $35,000 for Casa Pacifica,” she says.

The marketing strategy: “Our goal was to provide the massages, while Casa Pacifica did most of the work in collecting donations and marketing,” Koskas says. However, the spa did promote their services when they raffled off the spa service certificate. (For the spa’s other charitable endeavors, Koskas spreads the word via e-newsletters and posts on Facebook and Twitter. “We’ll let clients know that 10% of their total services on a given day will be going to a specific charity,” she says. “Our clients are warmhearted—not only will they make it a point to book on that specific day, but they will even add an extra couple of dollars to their bill to donate.”)

The results: “Our mission was to provide a positive presence and meet some amazing people who continue to raise money to find a cure. It’s nice for us to see attendees from past events come into the spa afterward. Many tend to bring along a family member or friend to enjoy a full-service massage,” she says.

The Spa: Cheveux Salon & Day Spa, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Partnered with: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (Cheveaux is a Ouidad-certified establishment, and has participated in the haircare company’s breast cancer event for the past two years.) “This year we doubled the funds raised from the first year,” says Cheveux owner Kathi Buzinski. “The founder, Ouidad, is a cancer survivor who lost her mother to the disease years ago. She supports the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and she matches whatever her salons bring in for donation.”

The event: Ouidad Curls for a Cure. “We host a curl party for all our curly-haired guests, in which we invite them and their friends to come see what’s new with Ouidad,” Buzinski explains. “We charge an entrance fee, but they get to apply that money toward a product purchase. The evening includes live styling demos, food and drinks, and a raffle that includes tons of prizes donated by the spa and community businesses. The event allows us to bond with some great women and meet new people who are not yet familiar with Ouidad. It is a fun night of curls, wine and great people interested in, and donating to benefit, a good cause.”

The teamwork: The spa works closely with Ouidad’s team to plan the event. “My goal is for every guest to leave with something—either a new hair-styling tip, a great prize or maybe even a new friend,” Buzinski says.

The marketing strategy: While Ouidad handled most of the event’s marketing, promotion and publicity needs, Cheveux pitched in as well. “We email our entire client base and the event is listed on our Facebook page, as well as Ouidad’s. People registered in advance to attend and receive a door prize,” she says.

The results: “This year, we raised $2,000 in three hours for breast cancer research,” Buzinski reports. “And, the spa benefits professionally, too. Common interests such as charities can generate business buzz and serve as a form of branding for you. You could attract a guest from an event who will become your next VIP client.”

The Spa: Sorella Day Spa, Hamilton, New Jersey

Partnered with: Trenton Area Soup Kitchen in Trenton, New Jersey. “One of my really good clients, Tracey Destribats, who is the chair of the board at TASK, introduced me to the organization, and we’ve partnered with them for the past few years,” says Sorella owner Maria Bevins.

The event: “Every year after Thanksgiving, TASK gets a list of local families in need, which the organization passes on to us to share with our staff and clients,” says Bevins. “The list includes descriptions of the families—for example, ‘a single mother with two kids’—and a list of items they need, such as diapers, onesies or new coats. We go through the list and pick the families we want to gift. Last year, I, my staff and our clients were collectively able to help more than 20 families,” she says.

The teamwork: TASK did the legwork of finding the families and sharing the list with Bevins, who in turn shared it with her clients via word-of-mouth and social media messages. Once the items were collected, TASK staff, and even some of Sorella’s clients, personally delivered the goods to the families before Christmas.

The marketing strategy: “We don’t advertise and we don’t do publicity,” says Bevins. “It’s essentially a simple, word-of-mouth endeavor, and each year more and more clients hear about it and want to contribute. Furthermore, we don’t raise money via spa services to fund these packages; our staff and clients pay for this out of their own pockets in the spirit of giving,” she explains.

The results: “The feedback we get from the families is amazing. They are so happy and grateful, which is the biggest benefit. This initiative is a natural extension of our brand and our clients see that and enjoy coming here because of that. People come back because they feel good visiting a spa that makes helping others a priority.”