THE SPA LIFE
Kim Matheson’s road to the spa industry started at a Marriott. While working for the global hotel brand, a chance assignment allowed her to discover her love for spa management. Her career eventually led to the management of several spas, including the elite Peninsula Spa in New York City, as well as global consulting to help develop new spas in areas including the United States, Moscow and Dubai.
Matheson founded www.MySpaShop.com more than three years ago as a way to reach more people with the spa concept. “My intent with MySpaShop.com was to focus on lifestyle, beauty, fitness and well-being,” says Matheson. Although categories vary widely, all products that are sold on the site are products Matheson has used within a spa and wellness setting. She adds, “With MySpaShop.com, we use lines that are known specifically within the spa industry. So they are high-integrity products, and we’ve selected them because we know they work.”
The company currently operates only in the online space; however, it has developed a unique affiliate partnership with several brick-and-mortar spas. The spas direct customers to the ecommerce site for in-between-visit supplies and receive back a portion of the retail sales profits. In addition to products, the website offers a strong educational component, tapping professionals to write content on do-it-yourself spa and wellness treatments.
Matheson says the audience demographic is similar to a typical spa-going profile, slightly skewed toward higher male demographics due to their propensity to shop online. “That means it is 65% female, aged 35 to 55, college educated for the most part, with a household income of about $100,000 or more,” she adds. While this demographic makes up the largest share of sales, there is also a notable trend in frugal customers who tend to buy nail supplies and complete their manicures and pedicures at home, says Matheson.
“Our hands and feet category surprised us,” says Matheson. “It has been really busy. We’ve sold a lot of things like pedicure socks, nail polish and foot scrubs.”
A niche beauty business related to the spa industry was the only place Matheson saw herself. She says she never considered opening a general beauty supply. “We all have our own journey. My journey—though I didn’t see it coming—has been committed to spa and everything the spa world includes, like aromatherapy, therapeutic treatments, fitness and beauty. That’s where I set my life, and that’s what I’m passionate about. I believe in it.”
She says that it’s important for beauty store owners to sell what they believe in. As for Matheson, “I think it’s easy for us and our customers to know MySpaShop.com is going to have items that can be found in a spa or wellness center. If you have a vision and a lifestyle that you can believe in and recommend, it doesn’t make sense to do things outside of that.”
Leah Genuario is a Hawthorne, NJ-based freelance writer. She is the former editor of Beauty Packaging.