Friday, November 30, 2007

Woo hoo! Instant Gift Certificates!

I'm impressed. I kept getting contacted by a company called SpaBoom to help me sell gift certificates online, and for a while, I ignored them because I already HAD an on-line gift certificate function on my web site. But then I recalled how difficult the process was both for my customers AND my staff, and I decided to look into it.

Well, I really like it. Clients can now order gift certificates and PRINT THEM OUT INSTANTLY. They can pick a design template based on the occasion (whether it's a birthday, holiday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduation, or other). They can have it emailed to the recipient IMMEDIATELY, or if they want to time the email to arrive on a specific day, they can specify that specific day! (Um, was that too repetitive?) Anyway, here's a link to this awesome new function.

I resisted at first because of the cost...SpaBoom takes 5% of the first $1,000 of gift certificate sales per month, then 4% of the next $1,000, then 3% of the next $1,000, and so on and so forth, until you sell over $4,000 and then everything else is 1%. With spa margins so low, 5% is a LOT...especially since we have Off-Peak hours now and these gift certificates might be used towards Off-Peak services.

But then I remembered the inordinate amount of processing that my spa coordinators had to do on this end to get a gift certificate done: manually process the card, manually create the gift certificate in Word, turn it into an Adobe PDF, crop it appropriately, then attach and email it out to the client. It wasn't INSTANT, it wasn't CONVENIENT, for the CLIENT or for US. So, I figured, okay. Let's see how it goes.

The other thing that I like much better about this new system is that we don't have to charge clients postage! YAY. They print it out, they mail it themselves. Win-win!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So much has happened lately that I don't even know where to begin. The holidays always sort of take me by surprise and then completely overwhelm me. I don't even know how I will get done the things I need to do before leaving for Thanksgiving.

Spoke to Drew Ladner of Clasis Capital yesterday. He wants a CEO for his medical spa (called Hela Spa) in Washington, DC. I don't think I'm the right person for that position, given my quite opposite bent on how spas should be all-natural, organic, herbal, therapeutic, non-invasive, etc. etc. But apparently he is doing really well over there in DC...he and I joked about him being a Harvard Business School graduate and my being a Stanford Business School graduate and how we both have had the experience of doing laundry at ungodly hours of night...and how we both do not mention it to our circle of friends...since none of them would understand it!!

I also linked up with another wonderful holistic practitioner, Dr. Kate Fox of Fox & Young (she's Dr. Renee Young's partner). We are going to link up for some cross-referring opportunities - she believes that my spa is like an extension of a naturopathic physician's office, one in which clients receive treatments with actual therapeutic benefits. She believes it is a wonderful tool for healing patients because the doctor him- or herself cannot spend the time it takes to give patients that healing experience, so a spa is a great way to get that.

Well, we shall see how the relationship goes, but I am so impressed with both her and Dr. Young. That's all for today...will write more during the break.

Monday, November 12, 2007

OMG. Another no-show.

Okay, what kind of a loser ARE you if you:

1. Send in a resume applying for a position.
2. Get called for an interview, set up a time.
3. Call the day before the interview to cancel due to illness.
4. Get a callback to reschedule, reschedule it to a different day.
5. NO-SHOW on the interview, no call, no explanation, no nothing.

Hello???? Has the world just gone completely insane? Who DOES that kind of thing? What rock have these people been living under?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More screwing up. Why oh why oh why...

can we not be perfect? Normally I love working at my spa: really nice customers leaving really happy. Well, not today.

Today, we apparently told two different couples that they could have the Duet Suite at 1pm. Apparently, it was both couples' wedding anniversary. And apparently, we could accommodate NEITHER couple in the Duet Suite. YIKES.

I was really sweating it the whole time they were in there, trying to think of what I was going to do. The therapists warned me ahead of time that they were really pissed, so I knew I had to do something good to get back into both couples' good graces. So, to the first couple, who were REALLY MAD, I took $95 off their services (about 50%). To the second couple, who were not quite as mad, but still annoyed, I took $100 off their total bill (about 25%). Both couples seemed pacified, but then I was just so upset and disappointed about the whole thing. Firstly, because had it happened to me, I would have been just as upset. Secondly, because the front desk staff are veterans now...they should know to indicate the services as Duet or not. And thirdly, because I am out almost $200 in revenue! OUCH.

Goodwill is so important to keep, especially in the day and age of the Internet. When people get pissed off with you, they go on YELP.COM and tell the world and then you have a bad reputation and then the world goes to you-know-where in you-know-what. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but you get the gist. Hope we don't make these mistakes again (please, please, PLEASE).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Good. People. Are. Hard. To. Find.

My experience thus far looking for a spa coordinator: 50 resumes in, 10 candidates interviewed, 2 offered the position, 0 actual spa coordinators working here as a result. Hmmm. The most recent person I offered it to seemed like a really great individual, but then when push came to shove and she had to actually show up to work her first day here (TODAY), she called at 10pm the night before to say she had "actually decided against taking the job." I love how they are all eager and bright-eyed on the day of the interview, but when it comes to showing up for work...

And what kinds of people are actually out there anyway? I mean, I've had 95% of the candidates show up WITHOUT a resume. Who DOES that, I mean honestly? Do you think you're going to get a customer service job if you can't even anticipate the need to bring your potential future employer your resume?

And then there were the late/no-shows. A person actually came 20 minutes late to her interview. I had decided already that I would not hire her, since first impressions matter and if you can't call and tell someone you're going to be late, then you're not being considerate. And if you're not considerate, GONG! (does anyone remember the Gong Show? Or am I aging myself?) YOU'RE OUTTA HERE! Another person was late, she DID call, but she had gotten the time wrong and yelled at ME about it. Okay, GONG! SHE'S OUTTA HERE. And then, of course, there are the no-shows. People make an appointment with you to come interview for a job in which YOU will pay THEM. And then they don't show up, and don't even have the courtesy to cancel beforehand or tell you that they're no longer interested. You drive your butt all the way down to the spa just to meet with GOODNESS! How can anyone like that be successful? In ANYTHING? EVER?

Okay, rant's done. Tomorrow I will rant about my experience finding a nail technician. But that's different - I KNEW that would be tough. I thought finding a spa coordinator was going to be cake, but it has turned into turds.

Friday, November 2, 2007

In panic mode: I need another nail technician!!!!!!

Okay, how shall I say this without Great Spirit getting pissed at me? I need to remind myself that everything happens on purpose, and that what I perceive as disappointing or DISASTROUS is truly a learning or growth opportunity and is a chance for me to get over my fear. But I will admit to feeling a lot of panic right now, that is for sure.

One of my beloved nail technicians, and keep in mind I only have two of them, has lost her childcare at home and needs to return there to raise her family properly. Her mother went away to another country for 6 months, and will not return until the summer. This particular nail technician is a wonderful employee, everything I could have wanted. She was hard-working, ethical, gentle, sweet, helpful, flexible, a great communicator, anxious to learn, and anxious to please. She was also a good esthetician, astoundingly good at waxing and was getting very good at facials. But while good estheticians are easy to find and hire, good nail technicians are NOT! That is the strange secret of the spa seems like you can find nail technicians anywhere, right? Because there are nail salons everywhere!

Yeah, well, those nail salons charge $18 per pedicure and $9 per manicure and don't speak English to you and probably use Windex as disinfectant, just because it is also blue. And to tell you the truth, I can't hire a nail salon employee. We charge $55 to $85 a pedicure, I think our clients should expect someone who can communicate with them and someone who is maniacal about cleanliness. I certainly do expect that when paying that much!

But where to find them, where to find them? Here's an illustration of how hard it is: I put an ad out for spa coordinator on Craigslist, and was immediately flooded with 50 resumes. I put a similar ad out for nail technician on Craigslist, and not a single resume has come in yet. What am I going to do? I have no idea. I like this employee too much to just willy-nilly terminate her. Good people are hard to find, in any industry. But in nails, when you find a diamond nail technician, you don't let her go off and take care of her kids!!! Okay, Mare, get a grip. Did you see what you just said?

So I told her that she could come back whenever she felt she had the situation in hand at home, even if it wasn't until the summer of 2008. We also might work out a limited schedule during the weekdays, but only before she has to pick up her kids from school. But in the meantime, dilemmas dilemmas.

I understand that Spirit or God or my Higher Self (or whatever the term I use for the entity that is in charge of me) may have a reason or plan, but it took me forever to find this great employee, and I am resisting going through that process again with a vengeance. I did place an ad in Thang Mo, the Vietnamese weekly, which is how I found her last time, so hopefully I will be successful again. Oh please oh please, let that happen. In the meantime, if you are reading this blog, and you know of someone who is a great nail technician and is looking for a position, let me know!