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Interview with Susan Etter
Medical Spas, also called Medi-Spas, are a modern mix of the traditional day spa and medical clinics. These sanctuaries of health and wellbeing are sprouting up as the wellness society is investing more than ever into their health, mind and bodies.
Spas are defined as establishments that promote wellness through the provision of therapeutic and other professional services aimed at renewing the body, mind, and spirit. According to the GlobalWellnessInstitute.org most consumers and industry executives would agree that at its core – no matter its size, form, or business model – a spa is an establishment that focuses on the promotion of wellness.
The latest numbers:
The global wellness industry is a $3.4 trillion market, or 3.4 times larger than the worldwide pharmaceutical industry.
• Beauty & Anti-Aging ($1.025 tril.)
• Healthy Eating/Nutrition/Weight Loss ($574.2 bil.)
• Wellness Tourism ($494 bil.)
• Fitness & Mind/Body ($446.4 bil.)
• Preventative/Personalized Health ($432.7 bil.)
• Complementary/Alternative Medicine ($186.7 bil.)
• Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate ($100 bil.)
• Spa Industry ($94 bil.)
• Thermal/Mineral Springs ($50 bil.)
• Workplace wellness ($40.7 bil.)
The global spa industry grew from $60 billion in 2007 to $94 billion in 2013 – or an annual 7.7 percent growth rate, even across long global recession years. And all this leads to our question - will your Medi-Spa travels be better and healthier in 2016?
To have the best leading edge on sprouting Medical Spas and their do’s and don’ts we invited Susan Etter from PPIB MediSpa to give us her opinion, and help figure out how we can unlock the big secret of the right beauty spa. With high hopes that this will bring us closer to The Big Secret of healthy and beautiful skin.
Wellness magazine: Mrs. Etter, what are your predictions for Medical Spas over the next 5-years?
Susan Etter: I believe that medi-spas will continue to grow and thrive over the next 5-10 years. There is a huge trend in this country towards wellness and taking care of your entire body – mentally, physically, and emotionally. Medi-spas cater to this type of thinking. They are not just about looking good, but also about feeling good.
Wellness magazine: Are there certain guidelines for creating the perfect Medical Spa environment?
Susan Etter: While each spa needs to find their own niche within the market, people seem to prefer areas that are relaxing, yet professional. Dim lights, soft music, and waterfalls are all conducive to letting one feel the medi-spa experience. Once you get into a treatment room, you should feel confident that the area is clean and safe.
Wellness magazine: In your opinion what are the top three priorities that a New Medical Spa owner should first approach?
Susan Etter: The top three priorities that a new medi-spa owner should think about are: services, staffing, and protection. Any new medi-spa owner should be sure to research what are the latest trends for services. Clientele continues to become more sophisticated and expect the latest and greatest. You wouldn’t want to spend $100K on a laser just to find out that there is a better option out there. Proper staffing from the get-go is very important. Do you have staff that can provide all of the services you want to offer? Is there any training or continuing education that they should take prior to opening for business? Do you need to have a medical director lined up to support your staff in order to provide services? Finally, make sure you protect your business before you even open the doors. You are investing quite a bit of money to make this happen, so it would be catastrophic to lose that investment before it can start paying off. Make sure that you get the proper insurance to cover your business – professional liability, general liability, and property are all important. Check into alarm systems. You wouldn’t want to have that $100K laser stolen.
Wellness magazine: What do you find should be of greatest concern for Medical Spa owners?
Susan Etter: The biggest concern should be how the spa is running. Is everyone having the proper consent form signed, does everyone prepare or clean a room the same way, do you ask for comments back from the clientele in order to make your business better? It seems that sometimes the owner, who is usually a technician as well, is so busy being sure to get clients through the door and served that they don’t always make sure that they will come back.
Wellness magazine: Personally, how do you determine if a Medical Spa has what clients are looking for?
Susan Etter: I know that when I go to a medi-spa, I want someplace that is my one stop shop for any service that needs to be done. I want the convenience of not having to go multiple places and I want people that are qualified for and confident in what they are doing. From a business perspective, we look for proper licensing and training.
Wellness magazine: What are the top 3 things you find Medical Spas overlook?
Susan Etter: The top 3 things that Medi-Spas overlook are:
1) Having a good office manager/business manager. Some people are good at this type of thing and some are not. If you know that it is not your strong suit as an owner, then invest in someone to do it for you.
2) Continuing education for their technicians. Procedures and techniques change over time, new technology replaces old, and staff needs to be kept up to date.
3) Specific to laser/ipl services, not all Medi-Spas thoroughly review ethnic history to determine proper skin typing. As America continues to diversify its population, the lines between Fitzpatrick Skin Types continue to become more difficult to distinguish. If you are ever in doubt – start with the more sensitive skin type setting first to see how they react.
Wellness magazine: For those that are beginners in this field and are interested in opening their own Medical Spa, what is the best way to go about insuring it?
Susan Etter: Find a good agent or company that is an expert in that field. Be sure that the person helping you obtain insurance has a thorough knowledge of your business and what services you plan to offer. Not all policies cover all services. If you plan on adding services within the first year, be sure to mention that up front. Most policies will let you endorse on as the year goes, but you want to be sure you have a policy that will allow for those services from the start. Be thorough in assessing how much coverage you need to fully insure your property. Again, starting a Medi-Spa can be a huge investment, so you want to be sure that you are protected in the event of a loss.
Be sure that if you plan on using independent contractors that either your own policy covers them OR if they have their own insurance that your business is named as additionally insured on their policy. If your business is sued for something they did, you want to be sure that you are protected.
Wellness magazine: From your professional perspective, what are the most beneficial medical spa beauty treatments that spa goers may be overlooking?
Susan Etter: I think that the Medi-Spa industry continues to come up with more non-invasive procedures to replace previous surgery. Body Contouring machines allow for destroyed cellulite to be naturally eliminated from the body without any incisions. Who doesn’t want help getting rid of that muffin top?
Also, many Medi-Spas now offer some form of nutritional counseling. Checking in with an expert in this field can bring about a good reality check of how we are doing away from the spa.
Wellness magazine: What should we expect, from a medical spa if we encounter problems or have health issues after a visit?
Susan Etter: Every Medi-Spa should have procedures in place if there is ever an issue after treatment. Most Medi-Spas either have a doctor or other medical professionals on site or on call that can help with side effects from treatments. Of course, it is always important to remember that all of these treatments can have side effects and that it is a risk we take by having these services done. Be realistic. Most treatments do not show full effect immediately, so if you aren’t seeing results right away, be patient. Review the consent form you signed and paperwork you received to see if the side effect is normal or if there is a more serious issue.
Wellness magazine: What suggestions do you have for current as well as future Medical Spa owners in regards to bringing better safety for their clients?
Susan Etter: Training, training, training. I just can’t stress that enough.