Several South African spas and salons have reported an increase in business in recent months and are positive about the remaining summer season.
Sherbet Angel Boutique Salon in Linden, Johannesburg, has experienced a surge of business and is in the process of expanding to meet demand.
Says Nicole Blazevic, who co-owns Sherbet Angel along with Lisa Rautenbauch and Mareli Gardner: “We are adding a hair salon to our business and breaking through walls as I speak. While we’re delighted that business has picked up, it’s been the result of a lot of hard work that we did throughout the COVID-19 lockdown months and continue to this day. Every day we focus on planning and motivating our staff.
“During lockdown we pivoted our business by introducing online sales and voucher sales, renting out equipment and creating DIY kits for clients to use at home. The latter included a WhatsApp call with one of our therapists, explaining how to use the kits. We thought it absolutely essential to keep that personal contact with clients going, as out of sight, out of mind. In addition, we invested in a strong online presence to make sure we were visible on every single social media platform.”
Blazevic notes that business soared straight after lockdown was lifted in late June, but then dipped shortly thereafter. “Business has now stabilised,” she continues, “and we’ve noticed that with the summer months, more people are willing to venture out to salons. We haven’t raised our prices at all since lockdown although we do charge a small COVID surcharge, which we call a donation, to cover PPE costs. The fact that we continue to rigidly stick to all our safety & hygiene protocols to ensure clients are safe is really appreciated by them, as the feedback we have received via word of mouth that we are the go-to place for safety.”
After considering not opening its spa until early 2021, management at The Westin in Cape Town opened the spa on a trial basis on 1 October.
Says spa manager Nicola van Huyssteen: “By that time we already had a hundred treatments booked online and our expectations of market demand were completely exceeded. At first we only opened four days a week (Thursday to Sunday) and then in November, added an extra day. In December we will be open seven days a week.
“We compared our turnover for four days a week to the same time last year (which was seven days) and discovered that we’ve experienced a growth in business. I’m ecstatic about this.
“Ninety-five-percent of our clients post lockdown have been from outside the hotel and our spa memberships have picked up. We are so grateful to our amazing guests for coming back to us and for being aware of how seriously we take hygiene and safety.”
Kym Stafford of Dolce Vita Beauty Centre reports that business has picked up a lot
since reopening post lockdown.
“The aesthetics side of the business is fully booked and we have three therapists performing these treatments. Permanent make-up is also fully booked, with lashes as well. Nails are getting there, slowly but surely, and massage is also growing. So, we’re definitely much busier than before.
“I’m feeling positive about the next few months to the extent that I’ve invested in a new laser machine,” she says.
Turnover percentages on the up
Spa & salon software company, ESP, which provides a complimentary business intelligence analysis and consultation service for its clients, is continually processing data to generate a meaningful trend analysis for the industry.
Says ESP’s Arno Steijn: “Based on the current trend and with international travel being opened up, we are expecting a bumper festive season, and even growth in the industry as a whole by the end of the first quarter 2021.
“Having tracked and processed total turnover data each month from July 2020 to October 2020 and compared it to the same months last year, it’s clear that the beauty salon and spa business is definitely picking up. In July 2020, businesses experienced a 41% drop in total turnover compared to July 2019. The following month saw a 34% drop compared to the same time last year. September 2020 was only 28% lower than September 2019, while October 2020 was 24% down on 2019.”
Steijn notes that retail performed far better than treatment services during the above-mentioned months.
(Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)