Hours: Noon-midnight, Tues.-Sun, by appointment only.
Inspiration: Owner Julia Lolita Martin’s revelation came while working at Los Angeles’ Beauty Bar, which offered nail polish changes with cocktails for late-night revelers. “Customers would walk in thinking they could get a full manicure or even a massage, and I thought, ‘Hmmm, there’s a hole in the market for this,’“ recalls Martin. “I decided to open an after-hours spa with a full list of services.”
Clients: “The biggest surprise was that we didn’t get the party crowd,” says Martin. “We got a lot of moms coming in after their babies went to sleep, and a lot of working people too busy to get their beauty services during the day.” The Los Angeles-adjacent-based spa owner also sees her fair share of actresses and models with last-minute beauty needs. “We’ve done some emergency Brazilian waxes and pedicures for actresses who’d just been called for a photo shoot or audition the next day,” she says.
Treatments: Nite Spa’s most common late-night treatment is a massage, and its signature ‘Round The World (50 min./$110; 90 min./$155) is a favorite. This customized service blends Swedish, Thai, lomi-lomi, shiatsu and ayurveda techniques. “Clients like it before bedtime to help them sleep,” Martin explains.
Challenges: “We’ve had to turn away some people who’d been drinking and wanted to get massages, because that isn’t safe,” says Martin. “But it doesn’t happen often. We’re also careful to lock the doors and we have a security company on call 24/7.”
Marketing: Nite Spa’s name tells consumers what they need to know about the spa’s unusual hours. Martin also makes the most of social media, word-of-mouth and Yelp specials. “We do a lot of Facebook and Twitter, asking clients to friend us, like us or follow us, and it also helps that our spa is on a street with a lot of foot traffic,” she says. The spa reaches out to business neighbors as well, encouraging employees at nearby restaurants to come by after work for a discounted pedicure or massage.
What makes it work: After opening in April 2005, Martin quickly learned that she couldn’t sustain this business model with her doors literally remaining open from noon to midnight every day, and a full staff standing by on-site the entire time. Her solution: “We offer appointments 12 hours a day, but by appointment only.” Therapists come in as needed, though there is always an esthetician present. Nite Spa takes its last appointment at 11 p.m. to ensure closed doors by midnight.