Everything “bad” is good again! Eat dark chocolate for the antioxidants. Drink red wine for the heart-healthy benefits. Enjoy a morning cup of coffee and lower the risk for diabetes.
Not so fast, though.
Too many sweets can cause weight gain. More than two drinks a day? Thy liver doth protest. And while java might be passable in theory—three words make that a practical impossibility: venticaramel macchiato.
Though “everything in moderation” isn’t quite as inspiring as the indulgent alternative, health-minded distributors still have a few aces up their sleeves when it comes to wellness promotions. There will always be that one thing people can’t get enough of, and it’s the antidote to one of the most lethal health risks of today’s overworked, overwrought, overwhelmed population.
“Spa items show a brand cares about their customers,” noted Katie Kaalberg, director of marketing for Raining Rose in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “It is an easy and inexpensive way to give them a little pampering.”
From a marketing standpoint, it seems only natural to align products with end-users at a time when shutting out the rest of the world is the name of the game. “A little pampering” could go a long way to break through the clutter.
Julie Warnock, co-owner of Gardena, California-based Bath Promotions, said her distributors find spa products make their way into an end-user’s inner sanctum simply by design. “They want to get this logo and this feeling next to people,” she explained. And while certain items might never make it out of the office, “You get an aroma diffuser, you’re going to take that home and you’re going to use it,” Warnock added.
But when it came to who, exactly, was taking these items home, for years there was a pretty simple answer: women. Warnock jokingly likened it to selling candy to a baby, since the fairer sex just seemed naturally receptive to spa luxuries. However, lately, men in growing numbers have been indulging on their own. “People are pretty aware of sun and skin care now—[both] men and women,” said Tom Whaley, CEO at Aloe Up in Eden Prairie, Minn. He noted that, while having a significant other at home helped men find a reason to open up to these products (i.e., “brownie points”) a greater awareness of sun damage in both genders has helped sunscreen bridge the gap.
Lotions and bath salts could follow suit, according to Patricia Filaseta, also co-owner of Bath Promotions. She has noticed a palpable uptick in male traffic at the company’s trade-show booth. “The very first year that we were here giving out spa products, men were like, ‘What would I do with that?’ This year, men are coming up and saying, ‘Give me that.’”
One big reason distributors seem to be grabbing these items by the handful is spa products have a strong retail presence. Both Warnock and Whaley’s lines are used at luxury hotels and spas around
“Aloe Up isn’t exactly the biggest household brand out there, but when you go to all the resorts, we’re in the biggest shops,” Whaley added. And prior to joining the industry full-force, Warnock snagged accounts when distributors came directly to her. More than once, their clients specifically requested the company after seeing Bath Petals (Bath Promotions’ retail line) at various day spas.
Letting end-users know the spa items in a particular promotion aren’t simply “brand X” can help add value. “People will not put junk on their face[s],” Whaley maintained. “That’s why we like to use our brand, and then logo our bag, because if someone just gets a white sunscreen that says, you know, ‘Joe’s Garage’ on it … they’re not gonna put it on.”
Another inherent benefit of spa items is, more often than not, they’re packaged together in kits or bags so there are a lot of opportunities for themed promotions. “We can customize a kit for you with any product in our catalog,” Kaalberg said. And it’s not only the products themselves that can be tailored to the last detail. Warnock told of a few promotions with specific scents (e.g., margarita candles for a tequila company) and PMS-matched colors to mirror branding, such as bright magenta for a particular cell-phone service provider. “It’s one of those businesses where you have to pay attention to every detail all the time,” she concluded.