The Men's Room

Nickel Spa for Men

(New York City) Philippe Dumont, owner of this men-only spa situated in a former bank in New York's hip Chelsea area, first tried his luck in April of 1996 in his native Paris, and in New York this past October. Why New York? "Because it is the most trendy city in the world, and we wanted to target the right kind of customers," says Dumont. The two-story, 4,500-square-foot day spa features eight treatment rooms and three manicure/ pedicure chairs. There's even a Napping Room with three beds. "The best way to relax is to take a nap, and the idea of taking a nap in the middle of Manhattan in the middle of the afternoon is a real luxury." The cost was approximately $400,000 to build. A very large reception and retail area displays the spa's eponymous line of 15 different skincare products, including Massage Canaille, a massage oil containing hot peppers to benefit overworked muscles. (The best-selling product is Lendemain de Fete, or "the morning-after rescue gel.") The decor nicely complements the products' packaging-cobalt blue and silver. Nickel (pronounced nee-kel) caters to men between the ages of 25 and 40-most who work in the advertising, fashion, and art worlds. "A lot of men feel uncomfortable going to a regular spa, so they try Nickel as their first experience," Dumont says. "Men are extremely easygoing. If they like the place, they will come back on a regular basis." And that's what they have done here, braving treatments like the 60-minute, $85 Love Handles Wrap (see page 44) and the $70 Bodybuilder's Special, a complete body waxing. Despite the creative and well-thought-out menu, facials and massages are still the top-sellers here. Dumont believes in the power of public relations and hired a seasoned New York agency, Fournier Communications, to help spread the word. So far, so good.
Nickel Spa the entry and retail area
Nickel Spa the entry and retail area

Robert Andrew, The Salon & Spa

(Gambrills, MD) The Men's Spa at this brand-new 22,000-square-foot day spa is a 1,200-square-foot private facility located within. Decorated in darker woods and darker wallpaper, this men-only haven offers a locker room with a full steam room and showers; two TVs, tuned to a sports network and a business network; a relaxation lounge; and portable pedicure units. Owner Robert Zupko, a hairstylist for more than 40 years and in business for himself since 1967, has watched the day spa industry grow since its inception and has been keeping up with his clients' needs ever since. In 1983, he began to offer skincare and nailcare. In 1989, he expanded to a new space. In 1995, he moved to a third location, going to a full day spa from 4,600 square feet to 7,200 and adding a Vichy shower and seven treatment rooms in 1996. Zupko closed that location to open this one that includes The Men's Spa. "We were really forced to do this expansion because we needed more space in every single department. For five years in a row, we grew twenty percent on top of twenty percent," he says. In the old facility, the male business in the salon was 30 percent, while in the spa it was 10 percent. "The majority of that ten percent was massage clients. Our male business was really crying to grow, but we couldn't grow it because we were really too much of a woman's world-we didn't have separate locker areas for men and women," Zupko states. The spa also offers a private salon area with old-fashioned barbershop chairs, including all of the amenities, such as hot shaves and hair color. An example of a spa package is The Executive Escape ($167), which includes a back massage, a custom-blended scalp treatment, and a haircut. The spa just started using the new men's line from Yon-Ka and does well retailing American Crew and Nioxin products. In the three weeks since the spa's opening, Zupko has watched his spa business triple. He markets through cable TV and print but adds that his male clientele is increasing thanks to wives and girlfriends who come in and see the facility. Being centrally located between Washington D.C., Annapolis, and Baltimore doesn't hurt either. "Guys can now have a complete experience and take their time," say Zupko. "With what we just did, we raised the bar quite a bit for our area."

(Dallas) Sisters Melissa and Roslyn Stafford are the co-owners of this modest men's spa situated in a Dallas shopping center. Melissa Stafford, a stylist by trade, and her sister, a barber, previously owned a salon. "We saw that the men wanted to come in and get manicures and pedicures," recalls Stafford. "But they didn't want to be surrounded by women." That was back in 1999. Their lease was up that year, so they decided to move to a smaller place and heed the call of their male clientele. They chose the name because they wanted something simple and straight to the point. "So that one would know this was strictly for guys," says Stafford. Greys and earthy colors are used throughout the spa, and so is the color purple, which Stafford explains signifies royalty "to make them feel like kings." The day spa is 1,700 square feet with four barber stations, two manicure rooms, and two massage rooms. The plain and simple menu includes a One-Hour Back Facial ($75), a Thirty Minute Facial ($20), and a Shoe Shine ($6) as well as hot shaves ($6), basic manicures ($20), and pedicures ($35). A haircut runs $15. So far, business is "going pretty well," says Stafford. The spa offers a $100 package that includes a manicure, pedicure, and a 45-minute massage. "That's what's kept us on the map," says Stafford, who claims that 80 percent of her business is driven by wives and girlfriends who either bring in their mates or purchase gift certificates for them. The clientele ranges from 25- to 65-year-olds. In the future, the sisters would like to relocate and offer more spa facilities, such as a wet room. "This was basically trial and error. We needed some room to make mistakes and grow, so we did something on a small scale. It's not real fancy, but it's intimate," says Stafford. "And the guys feel good about it."

Men Spa 2000

Paul LaBrecque East

(New York City) "We definitely appreciate the male business," says Brian Cantor, co-owner of this chic new day spa that is home to The Men's Room-a mere 400-square-foot space that can accommodate three men comfortably at a time. "It's a growing sector, and from a client point of view, men tend to be less conscious of what they're spending. I think it's due to the fact that so many men are new to beauty, so they just accept rather than question." At a cost of $200,000, the private room features two chairs for cuts, color, and shaves. Men can opt for manicures and pedicures at these stations as well. There's also a shoe-shine chair that doubles as a pedicure chair. One can simultaneously enjoy a shave, haircare, manicure, and pedicure here. (The cost of a haircut, manicure, and shave is $170; a $65 shave comes with a face mask, eye mask, and scalp treatment.) Occasionally, a group of guys will book the space, although Cantor notes that men are more likely to come alone or in a pair rather than in a group-something he thinks will change as more men realize that it's a pleasant way to spend half a day. The spa offers a Gentleman's Club package ($200; 150 minutes) that includes a massage, manicure, shave, and shoe shine.
Paul Labrecque East The Men's Room
Paul Labrecque East The Men's Room

A typical male client here is a 30-something, urban, sophisticated business-type. The total spa's clientele is 45 percent male, 55 percent female. While this location opened in January of this year, a sister spa has been located in the Reebok health club across town on the west side since 1995 and has a 60 percent male clientele (but does not have a designated men's room). The spas see about 250 men a week between the two locations. Lines that sell well here are Zihr, Simple Solutions, Anthony Logistics for Men, and Santa Maria Novella. The most popular services? Massages and haircuts. Cantor believes men need to be educated about shaves. "If you think a facial takes an hour and costs $100, a shave is a great value and a relaxing experience. The skilled light touch of an experienced shaver is a wonderful, comforting thing." And the spa employs one of the best barbers in the business, a Russian gentleman named Boris, who was at one time Brezhnev's personal barber.

DePasquale, The Spa

(Morris Plains, NJ) The Men's Wing at this popular day spa opened this past May to much acclaim. "We just did the expansion," says Dee DeLuca-Mattos, managing director, "and already we're using the rooms heavily. It's remarkable." The cost to build the 2,200-square-foot space was $400,000. The new section has three multipurpose rooms, an executive suite for three, separate locker and shower rooms, and a relaxation area. It can be accessed privately from the outside or through the existing spa. Special consideration was given to the locker room: Whenever anyone steps in, a tiny red light goes on over the doorway that lets housekeeping know that there is a male in the environment. The spa also hired more male massage therapists and paid attention to the little details, providing hunter-green robes that securely wrap around for the guys as well as properly fitting slippers. Services here include alternative healing, sound therapy, grooming sessions, and hydrotherapy. "Condition-oriented pedicures are becoming very big," claims DeLuca-Mattos, citing the spa's Tired Leg and Foot Therapy (30 minutes; $45 to $55) as an example. "I've noticed the spa is very busy on Monday mornings with men. When I analyzed it, I found that the men coming in are very active hikers and bikers who come in after the weekend and use the spa as a form of rehabilitation." Before building The Men's Wing, the spa's clientele was 20 percent male. Since opening the special section, the spa has increased that number by 10 percent. DeLuca-Mattos describes her male spa-goers as lateral to the female: Affluent baby boomers who look for results and are having spa services to take care of their conditions. The spa, having expanded so often, is an old pro when it comes to marketing. Actor Ben Vereen, a "well-traveled spa guru," showed up with his two daughters in tow to kick off the Men's Wing launch, along with a bus full of beauty editors. "If anyone ever asked us where our success lies," shares DeLuca-Mattos, "It's in our marketing strategies. You can't rely on your base clientele. We didn't rely on our 20 percent [male clientele], we went out and marketed it to men and to corporations. We treated it like a brand new spa."
Depasquale, The Spa The Men's Lounge
Depasquale, The Spa The Men's Lounge

Gadabout Man

(Tucson) Although Gadabout SalonSpas boasts five locations, it wasn't until March 2001 that a facility solely for men officially opened. Located in a personal training facility complex that allows for great cross-marketing opportunities, the spa shares a common locker room space with the gym. The inspiration for the day spa came from a barbershop concept in a gentlemen's club, explains Frank Westerbeke, Jr., vice president, who says that he just did not feel comfortable as a guy in a typical spa environment. "I've really found that men want their own space," says Westerbeke. "This is a place for gentlemen of any background. There are no themes; I believe that limits your audience." Upon opening, the spa started out with a more mature clientele who were looking for haircare services to cover their grey. A year later, the spa attracts men in their 30s, who are bringing their fathers in. The spa has even hosted parties for bridegrooms. Gadabout Man sees about 215 clients a week, says Jennifer Maner, spa director. "Since opening, we grew every month in general service dollars anywhere from fifteen to twenty percent one month over the last," she adds. The most popular services are pedicures and massages with facials not far behind. What products are the guys buying? "Cleansers, scrubs, and exfoliators," relates Maner. The spa uses Nioxin, its own private label line, Murad, Guinot, and Epicuren. The 2,800-square-foot spa build-out cost $212,000 and has four treatment rooms, a full amenities room, sauna and steam rooms, and a full locker room club area.
Gadabout Man The Pedicure Room
Gadabout Man The Pedicure Room

There's more to marketing to men than extra-large robes and tacking the word "executive" onto your basic facial. Here, the International Spa Association (ISPA) shares some helpful tips on marketing to potential male clients.

      1. Advertise in men's magazines.

      2. Create special golf/spa and tennis/spa packages.

      3. Offer bachelor parties.

      4. Reward double "referral points" to customers who refer new male clients.

      5. Create special promotions encouraging women to bring in their spouses and boyfriends.

      6. Host a men's-only night.

      7. Highlight men's treatments on the service menu.

      8. Develop signature treatments for men.

      9. Use warm, earthy colors throughout your spa.

      10. Offer more athletic-type fitness classes.

      11. Choose different color robes for the sexes.

      12. Hire a mix of male and female therapists.