For (Young) Adults Only

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When Cary Mock and Kenneth King decided to open a day spa in the hip Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, they knew they had to offer something different. It was 2006, and the area was already chock-full of day spas touting celebrity clienteles and headline-making treatments like diamond-dust facials and fish pedicures. So Mock and King pulled a switch and went with something simple: happy hour. Every month, the atrium at Dtox Day Spa becomes a social hub for the tony area’s 20-somethings. The spa hires a DJ, caters healthy snacks and hosts an open wine bar, packaged neatly for $39 per person. Attendees are welcome to enjoy spa treatments at a discount.

“It was really just a founding strategy to bring new, young people in—it wasn’t meant to last this long,” admits King. “But we find that it continues to bring in new faces. The title alone attracts younger people.”

Dtox’s youth-centric business model is somewhat revolutionary. The traditional day spa model as set in the 1990s generally regarded young spa-goers as fringe clients. The 18-to-24-year-old group can be fickle and budget-conscious, traits that didn’t fit with the luxury-minded industry at the time. Graduation specials and occasional new-client discounts represented the bulk of your average day spa’s marketing efforts toward this demographic. But in today’s youth-led culture, many industry experts are seeing the need for a paradigm shift: The future success of day spas may well rely on an ability to understand and accommodate the unique needs and preferences of 20-somethings. —Heather Wood Rulúlph