The local beauty care service industry is optimistic about the future despite the global economic recession.
One may think the beauty care service industry would be one of the first casualties of the economic slowdown. Indeed, the number of customers at Ho Chi Minh City spas has fallen 15 percent compared to a year ago.
âI would go to the spa twice a week last year, but Iâve just gone once or twice a month in the last three months,â says 32-year-old Pham Thi Tam, an office worker living in Phu Nhuan District. âThe price of food, gas, and everything else is rising, but my salary stays the same, so I have to cut down on my âspa fund.ââ However, Tam said that she does not plan to give up her massages as they are the best way to relax after a hard dayâs work.
Tam is one of about a million women in HCMC who often indulge in a massage after a long day. Le Thi Thanh, a 25-year-old woman who works as a freelance journalist in HCMC, said going to the spa is her favored way to spend her free time. The spa not only helps her relax, it also brings heath benefits. âMy commissions have fallen 20 percent since last year because of the downturn,â said Thanh. âSo I just work more so I can still keep going to the spa. But nowadays, many spas are offering a lot of promotions, so it doesnât cost as much as it used to.â
More promotions, better-quality care
âThe number of customers at our spa has dropped in the last three months,â said Nguyen Thi Phuong Uyen, the owner of Lu.Y Skin Care â“ Spa on Nguyen Thien Thuat Street in HCMCâs District 3. Uyen is still optimistic, however, about her business in the near future.
âLooking good is a need that wonât go away,â says Uyen. âAs long as you have quality and professional service, customers will never leave you.â
Uyen worked as a training manager for Dermalogica professional skin care products for four years before launching her spa. Uyen said that most of her customers at Lu.Y Spa come for long-term skin treatment, so her spa should enjoy a steady stream of customers for the foreseeable future.
To attract new customers, Uyen has launched special promotions, including big discounts on facial massages, and offering more services for the same price. In addition, Uyen said that she is holding a conference about skin health for her most loyal customers. âHelping the customer become knowledgeable about the benefits of good skin care is the best way to keep them with you,â says Uyen.
The owner of Hoa Anh Dao Spa, Cao Thi Bich Hanh, agrees, saying, âGood service is a way to keep customers.â
Hoa Anh Dao Spa, whose service is aimed mainly at high-end clientele, is located on Cam Ba Thuoc Street, in Binh Thanh District. It has been running only three months, but already has more than 30 regular customers.
Hanh is still confident about the health of her business, as 70 percent of her customers come to the spa for massage, which she considers a necessity for good health. âIf itâs a real health need, then they wonât give it up,â said Hanh.
Like other beauty care clinics, the luxurious L’Apothiquaire Spa & Retreat on Truong Dinh Street, District 3, also said that their number of customers has been dropping off since the beginning of the year.
Opened in 2004, the LâApothiquaire Spa & Retreat aims for completely natural treatment by using herbal remedies and 100 percent organic cosmetics. It has 23 service beds for body and facial massages, 12 service chairs for foot and hand massages, a gym, an outdoor garden and a swimming pool. The majority of its clientele is made up of foreigners.
Marketing Executive Nguyen Huyen Thanh Hang said though customer quantity fell a little last month, the management board is still optimistic about their business since they are well-known for their special treatments.
Hang, as with her colleagues, remains positive about the future.
âWeâve kept the prices the same as last year for all services even though the cost for materials has been rising,â said Hang. In fact, LâApothiquaire has introduced two new promotional packages this month â“ Half Day of Beauty (US$80) and Half Day of Relaxation ($85).
âLaunching new services at this time is a challenge,â said Hang. âBut we think it works because more and more Vietnamese are caring about their appearance and health these days. Vietnam is still on the verge of a thriving beauty care industry. A lot of business opportunities still lie ahead.â
Reported by Thanh Van