They’ve Got Male

Nickel Spa, New York City

The original Nickel Spa, opened in Paris in 1996, adhered to a simple yet controversial philosophy: Beauty can be a man’s concern. “At that time, masculine beauty was uncharted territory,” says Tom Kelley, director of operations for Nickel’s New York City outpost. “The first step was to create a venue where men would feel comfortable. Next, we needed to have the right products, treatments, staff and ambiance to make a man want to come back.”

Located in a hip building in Chelsea, Nickel has fine-tuned its ambiance to a sleek grey and blue, almost futuristic, environment. It evokes an air of clean simplicity, on par with the spa’s key services: firming, moisturizing and toning facials; deep-tissue and hot stone massage; manly manicures; and old-school barber services. Specialized treatments are offered here, too. For example, the Ultimate Face Lift employs muscle-stimulating vibrations to tone the muscles, and infuses vitamin serums and oxygen into the skin.

Estheticians are specially trained to treat men’s unique skincare needs and recommend products appropriate for each client. “We’ve found men want high-performance, easy-to-use products that deliver instant results,” Kelley says. “Men also like a product that feels durable, something they can grab onto or throw in their gym bag and not have to worry about breaking or leaking.”

Men, as it turns out, also like a good get-together with like-minded guys. The spa’s most successful marketing strategy has been hosting regular events: happy hours, fashion shows, product launch parties, even birthday parties. “It’s a great way to get new clients in, and our existing clients love to come by and see what’s next,” Kelley says. “But that’s just getting them here. The only way to keep a client is through practitioners and their training—no matter how much someone loves the space, if a treatment is a horrible experience they are not coming back. I am a firm believer in ongoing training, so we have classes and trainings happening all the time.”

If you ask Kelley, men’s spas are not only here to stay, but they may just dominate the industry one day. “Men are now realizing that if they take care of themselves, start using products early on and maintain a healthy lifestyle, they will not only feel younger; they’ll look younger,” he says. “Considering all of the men’s health magazines out now and the beauty industry’s current focus on men, we are not only here to stay; we are the untapped resource that will help our industry thrive again.”

Nickel Spa

Open since: September 2001
Square footage: 4,300
No. of employees: 38
Facilities: 4 esthetic rooms; 5 massage rooms; full mani/pedi station; full salon; barbershop
Most popular treatments: Deep Tissue Massage (50 min./$115); Touch of Youth Facial (90 min./$145)
Product lines: Babor, Guinot, MD Skincare, Nickel Private Label, Peter Thomas Roth

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