Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The spa life

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FOR THE AVERAGE BARBADIAN, getting a spa treatment or spending a day at the spa may not be the norm or seem entirely possible, especially during this hostile economic period.
But Schofield Hewitt, 41, owner of Schotherapy Internationale Day Spa, said he was working to change all of that while transforming the industry here.
Describing spa as not just “fluff but it is an alternative way of life”, Hewitt said it was an experience that he was prepared to get more people interested in having. A part of his strategy to “open up” the industry to everyone, he said, was to offer special packages to various demographics, including university students and teachers, and offer tailored services. And he has already been seeing increased interest.
“The students come but they come at the end of term. And a lot of them are folks going back to their respective country. I know they are from overseas by the consultation form. About ten to 15 per cent of the student body who come are locals,” he said.
“The spa industry is actually taking off . . . . The spa industry has the potential to further develop,” added Hewitt.
Spa services consist of a range of personal care treatments, including facials, body waxing, massages, and pedicures and manicures.
Speaking to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY from his Sunset Crest, St James office, Hewitt said after working in the spa industry for a number of years at various places, including Sandy Lane, and having provided services to a number of celebrities, he decided it was time to open up his own practice.
After six months of operating, Hewitt now employs two people, with treatments by appointment only.
Spa treatment, he acknowledged, would normally attract people with disposable income “but what I have done is to make world-class treatment less costly for locals while maintaining the standards.
“The main thing with the spa industry is to get local people on board. And not just on board but get local people having spa services. It is still deemed as a rich and luxurious way of life for only people with money, [but] it is far from that,” he said.
“It is about getting the right players on board and I am sure we will get more people coming. I do this because I want to open up the market but still maintain a quality product,” said Hewitt, adding that the work of the Caribbean Spa and Wellness Association to make the spa industry a leading one in the region by 2015 was a good one.
Disclosing that some days Schotherapy would get as many as six walk-ins expressing interest in the services, Hewitt said: “Spa treatments depend on one’s specific needs, so we do a consultation because what I find among local people who are not educated on spa treatments or given advice is that they tend to buy the product that the person next door is using and that doesn’t always work.”
Hewitt also offers a mobile service for clients who preferred to have their treatment in their own space. He predicted that this was one area that could take off.
“My main focus is to expand the spa industry. This is a start,” he said.
“I do a lot of mobile services in the evenings. The thing about the mobile service [is] it is my long term clients who would have villas and so on. Very few locals do mobile services. A lot of wealthy people don’t like to come out of their homes. Most people like the services in their own environment,” added Hewitt.
While acknowledging there was competition in the industry, this father of two said he was not worried.
“The market is slightly saturated but I am offering something enhanced. I am taking spa to another level. I am adding to the market. So you can’t just come and say you want a massage. You make an appointment, we do a consultation then we tailor a massage to suit your specific need,” informed Hewitt.
He said while he sourced some of the products locally, he still had to travel overseas and source others.
Besides high operational costs, Hewitt said, another concern was the way some operators in the industry treated the profession.
“What I have realized in recent times is that the majority of people are not having the love for what they do and a lot of people are in the market just for the dollars. But spa is very important to one’s lifestyle and I would like to see people not just see it as a way of making money but a way of giving something to somebody who wants the service done. People should not just see it as a fluff but it is an alternative way of life,” he said.
One challenge for this entrepreneur is having the flow of capital he requires to adequately expand his operations.
“I can do more. This is just a work in progress. This is just about halfway. I still have a lot of stuff to be done to take it to the place I want it to be . . . . It will get there eventually,” he said.

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