They’ve Got Male

M Spa, San Francisco

It was while working for another men’s-only spa in San Francisco’s Castro District that M Spa owner Margie Dindral had her “aha” moment—or, rather, her husband did. He suggested she use the expertise gathered from nine years spent serving men to open her own spa. Dindral instantly knew it was a good idea. “Throughout my career, I have noticed that more men are going to the spa. I sensed this demand would only increase,” she says, adding, “A lot of men are more conscious of their skin than are women.”

M Spa debuted in the spring of 2010 and has already become a buzzed-about destination within the industry. The skincare focus is clear. Dindral employs strict standards to treatments such as the Gentlemen’s Hydrating Facial, which is tailored according to skin type: dry, oily, dehydrated or mature. The spa also developed its own line of skincare products, and estheticians have been trained to understand the specific contours of a man’s face. For example, eyebrow waxing services focus on preserving a thick, natural, masculine brow.

Dindral has learned that spa-going is a different game for men in many ways—including how they prefer to interact socially. While many women see chatting about personal lives as part of the enjoyment of going to the spa, men are much more private. “Most women will volunteer information about themselves, their skin and their concerns, but men won’t tell us these things until they trust us,” Dindral says. “Once a male client feels comfortable, he’ll be more open, and he will loyally keep coming back for more services.”

As for marketing? “Most of our clients come from word-of-mouth,” Dindral says. Partnering with the right guy-friendly businesses has helped bring in customers as well. For example, M Spa donates services to local charities and offers 15%-off coupons to members of the nearby Gold’s Gym.

Remaining visible and viable in the trendy Castro District is essential—it’s the epicenter of San Francisco’s public transportation hubs, a natural walking neighborhood for residents, and is also listed in every city guidebook. As such, Drindral says, “Many of our clients are tourists from all over the country and abroad.”

The secret to M Spa’s success, it seems, is thinking like a man. “We offer our clients a ‘no frills’ atmosphere,” Dindral says. “We keep in mind that men are more interested in simplicity then extravagance.”

M Spa

Open since: March 2010
Square footage: 2,700
No. of employees/contractors: 21
Facilities: 8 treatment rooms; lounge area; 3 showers; steam room
Most popular treatments: Gentlemen’s Hydrating Facial (70 min./$140); Deep Tissue Massage (60 min./$115); Boyzillian Wax (45 min./$95)
Product lines: M Spa Private Label, Peter Thomas Roth