Here’s a mantra all spa owners should adopt: Happy employees make happier clients. And Baby Belly owner Crystal Nichols committed it to memory early on. “Satisfied employees treat clients well and go above and beyond because they strive to be their best,” she says. This extra effort is especially important when catering to prenatal and postnatal clients, whose senses, sensitivity and emotions are on high alert. “I take extra time and attention to find the right staff to fit into this unique environment,” says Nichols, who also regularly sends out staff for continuing education training to keep their skills razor-sharp.
To draw clients to the spa, Nichols makes good use of direct marketing methods. “We advertise in a variety of print publications, cross-market with businesses that have similar clienteles, and get the word out via social media, referral reward systems and direct mail.” Maintaining steady Facebook and Twitter presences, in particular, has been a boon for business. “Expectant women love to talk to other moms online about their unique experiences,” Nichols says.
She also pushes Baby Belly’s membership program—which offers discounts and rewards on prenatal massage, couples’ fertility massage, infant massage instruction, leg and foot treatments, facials, nontoxic nail services, postnatal therapies and more—to encourage clients to visit the facility throughout and beyond pregnancy. Belly castings and 3D ultrasounds are also available.
Nichols places emphasis on easing the fears of first-time mothers—namely, quelling myths about the dangers of spa services during pregnancy. “There are only risks if the therapists are not certified and qualified in the correct protocols, or if unsafe product or equipment is used,” she says. The spa’s back bar and retail area are stocked with chemical-free, maternity-targeted products only. “That is why I opened Baby Belly, so that expectant women would no longer have to worry about these issues,” Nichols says. “We make it clear we’ve done all the due diligence to make spa-ing completely safe and beneficial for them.”
Opening year: 2008
Facilities: 2 treatment rooms, 2 nail areas, relaxation room, retail area, waiting area
No. of employees: 10
Average service ticket: $69
Product lines: Mama Mio, Naturopathica, Zoya
Targeted retail: Infant carriers, maternity support belts, nursing covers, diaper bags
Most popular treatments: Perfect Pregnancy Massage (60 min./$79), Signature Hot Stone Pedicure (60 min./$59)
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