Low cost, high volumeTiffanie Nurse targets local clientele to let them experience the spa service. (Picture by Nigel Browne.)
By Natasha Beckles | Mon, July 30, 2012 - 12:00 AM
Tiffanie Nurse wanted to do something different in the local spa industry when she opened her first business.
Still a teenager at the time, she realized there was a notion that spa treats were out of reach for many Barbadians and she therefore primarily targeted locals.
After operating in Chancery Lane, Christ Church, for a number of years, the 24-year-old opened the Golden Touch Spa at the Golden Sands Hotel about two years ago. Now employing eight young women, she said the business was built on a philosophy of low cost and high volume.
“We did a lot of specials [in order] to generate numbers. We wanted to build a clientele and we were able to meet the needs of [people]. Unfortunately sometimes, it’s not that practical a goal financially but initially it was good enough to build numbers for us to use at a later date,” she recalled.
This business model helped her to build a “large clientele”, which proved to be a plus when the management of Golden Sands was looking for someone to operate a spa there. Even though she is based at the Maxwell, Christ Church hotel, the young woman said her clientele is 90 per cent local.
“At the end of the day, the tourist market is good but it fluctuates. We mainly try to target the local clientele so they can experience the spa service throughout the year . . . ,” she said, explaining that services were offered at a discounted rate and with “added value”.
“We try to offer stuff that is different. We put a lot of time into looking for new products,” the locally and internationally trained aesthetician said.
Still, given the difficult economic climate, Tiffanie said some clients were scaling back their visits to the full-service spa. “Customers who would come twice a month, they would try to cut back to once a month.
“People who would come once every month may come once every two months to be able to afford the services. They would still try to maintain the lifestyle,” she said, noting that gel nail polish, callus peels, medical massages and Brazilian waxing were the most sought-after services.
Tiffanie said managing the business was a learning process. “You kind of have an idea of what you’re doing but you’re not 100 per cent sure. You’re able to run the business in the sense that you can offer services but you miss things like quality and customer service because you’re not accustomed to that.
“Making sure that you register for certain things like National Insurance, making sure you have property insurance as well as medical insurance – those things you don’t know about, so you have to eventually learn as time goes by,” she said.
Asked about her plans, Tiffanie said while the spa already operates seven days a week she wanted to turn it into a consistent 12 hour operation.
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