Dress for success – how important is appearance of spa staff?

In a previous article “What does tangible evidence do in your spa” I spoke in detail about ‘physical facilities’, also called ‘tangible evidence’.

Tangible evidence helps spa guests to trust the service business and to evaluate the spa service prior to purchase.

We use many of such ‘cues’ in the spa: dim light, calming decoration, soft music, lovely scents, the welcoming reception area, beautiful pictures in the glossy spa menu, comfortable treatment tables and chairs and many more.

The image that we create by such ‘cues’ of course has to go in line and support the overall business strategy and objectives of the business, typically manifested by branding or trademarks.

Corporate Identity stands for the overall image of the spa, how stakeholders (partners, employees, spa guests, suppliers etc) see the business.

In general, we look at 3 parts in corporate identity, out of which one is the corporate design including logos, uniforms, colours, fonts etc. 

Uniforms not only identify staff, but also represent the group’s values, their knowledge and organisational structure. 

Spa Management is Image Management

A Spa Manager should also be Image Manager, meaning evaluating and controlling the appearance of spa staff, giving the spa business the personal presence it needs.

Image Management is needed for self image, self esteem, self confidence, capability and credibility.

Capability and credibility support the transfer of an idea across to someone, in our case the sale (or lets rather say “solving a problem by selling”) of a spa product or spa service to a customer. Credibility and capability influence the spa guest’s opinion (trust in the service provider) and action (repeat purchase of products and services).

The power of Appearance 

Well dressed and well groomed staff is perceived as more intelligent, better workers, and more interactive.

In her work “Power of Personal Appearance” Judith Rasband  explains the image cycle by stating that appearance communicates first to one self and then to others.

Rasband says:

‘What you wear and the way you look affects:

1. the way you think,

2. the way you feel,

3. the way you act or behave, and then

4. the way others react or respond to you.’

spa uniforms

Personal Grooming

Corporate guides help setting frames for personal grooming. Different cultures, governmental restrictions and different industries require different standards: 

Professionals in health care wear white (=clean=hygienic), professionals in academic professions such as banking, law etc are perceived more professional when wearing more conservative attire, such as dark business suits for example. In some cultures the exposure or certain body parts such as shoulders is not acceptable, in some countries spa therapists are required to wear closed shoes at work for health and safety reasons.

In the Spa & Wellness industry, we typically expect spa staff to

  • trim nails and facial hair
  • wear light make-up
  • tie hair back or short hair
  • hide tattoos
  • wear decent jewellery only (i.e. wedding bands or a small neckless)
  • wear a provided spa uniform
  • avoid unpleasant body odour including bad breath (i.e. from cigarette smoke or spicy food)
  • wear name tag

Spa Uniforms

What do we expect from spa uniforms?

  • premium design
  • stylish
  • elegant
  • modern upscale look
  • durable
  • washable
  • stretchy and comfortable
  • breathable
  • naturally stain and wrinkle resistant
  • colour matching the company’s CI
  • functional
  • from organic fabric
  • male and female product lines available

How to find a good supplier

What are typical obstacles that keep us from opting for best solutions when it comes to choosing spa uniforms?

  • monetary restrictions / insufficient budget
  • mandatory suppliers in corporations
  • lack of research or industry connections

Here are a few thought you may want to consider when choosing spa uniforms:

  • personally I have always preferred to opt for ‘wrap-around’ solution for female tops, as I found it easier to deal with less different sizes. Above, wraps are more forgiving and fit different body shapes. The wrap top could also be easily taken off during treatment.
bamboo wrap cardigan by asquith london

bamboo wrap cardigan (c) by asquith london

  • check out if you can find a local tailor / seamstress. Depending on the volume of your order, you may be better off with a personalised service
  • ask suppliers for test pieces and have someone test wear them in real life situations before placing a big order
  • for smaller volumes or individual positions (such as your for your yoga instructor for example) liaise with manufacturers for sponsorships. This is a real win-win situation.

I have experienced many times, that the topic ‘spa uniforms’ is not a merry one…It is near impossible to make everyone happy, to choose a colour that suits every complexion, to pick a shape that fits all etc.

This may be reasons why many spa businesses do not put the effort into spa uniforms as much as they should.

Anja Eva Keller Spa & Wellness Consulting

By the way, two of my favourite spa uniform suppliers are Noel Asmar and Fashionizer Spa.

(c) cover photo by http://fashionizerspa.com/

Do you also consider spa jobs appearance-important occupations ?