As the hot summer months descend, many salon operators reach a crossroads: some people prefer the comfort, convenience and control of indoor tanning at your facility, while others enjoy outdoor sun exposure. And, it doesn’t take a degree to understand just how busy your average customers are: kids, school, work, job security, relationships and more put stress on our lives and our time. For you, the question is, “How do we augment income during the summer?”
A: Joe, after a serious demographic study, I saw a downturn of new tanners and felt there was a need to upgrade the value of our tanning membership. The Zero-Gravity Massage Chair is something virtually anyone can use. It absolutely upgrades the salon experience we offer.
What factors influenced your decision?
A: I have great respect for Mike Blore, owner of the California Sun chain (in CA). He has Fujimi chairs in his salons, and gives it phenomenal reviews. I’m one who believes in following success, and on Mike’s recommendation, I decided to take a chance. Within a month, I had rolled out the Zero-Gravity Massage Chair in all 18 facilities. I felt was a great fit for the look good/feel good lifestyle of our target market. It has also opened us up to people who are not frequent tanners, but love the relaxation of the session at a fraction of the cost of traditional massage.
Many salons are cash-strapped now and reluctant to invest in new equipment. Can you speak to this entry barrier?
A: I bought all of my chairs; the cost doesn’t compare to upgrading to larger/newer sunbeds, but the investment allows you to create a whole new “story” for your salon! Fujimi sessions really add a lot of value to your tanning packages with relatively low investment. I also believe it can keep people active in their memberships for longer periods, rather than freezing or canceling them.
Compared to sunbeds, how does the Fujimi chair stack up as a revenue producer?
A: We did not set our chairs up as a stand-alone revenue stream; we integrated sessions into our memberships. We created a spa service package to go with our tanning membership in order to keep the pricing the same, but it raised the value. It’s received great response, and we also see steady usage that we hope will translate to long-term EFT session packages.
Dennis, do you think this a novelty with limited appeal? How do you get guests to try/buy?
A: Of course, we teased it in our advertising: “WHAT IS ZERO-GRAVITY MASSAGE?” Our promotional offer is a one-month, multi-level tanning membership combining spray-booth and airbrush tans with Fujimi massage – for the price of one Fujimi session. We offer a free session to every person who comes through our doors, and our staff has done a great job promoting its relaxing benefits.
Does the Fujimi chair have crossover appeal?
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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