By Shari Rosenberg
ISPA’s 21st annual conference was held earlier this month at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, bringing together spa professionals from around the world. As a press attendee, and not a spa professional or product vendor, I’m able to share a big-picture snapshot.
The keynote speakers played to the conference theme “inspiring happiness,” and were, well, quite inspirational. The first speaker was Bert Jacobs, chief executive optimist for the Life is good Company, who shared his message that “optimism can take you anywhere” and the importance of giving back; he also presented the word-of-mouth marketing tactics that helped him transform his T-shirt company, which he started with $78, into a $100 million business. Jacobs was also the winner of this year’s ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award for his work with the Life is good Kids Foundation.
On day two we heard from best-selling author and futurist Faith Popcorn of the BrainReserve. She shared some cultural and business trends, recognizing that spa is “perfectly placed at the nexus of health, reward, indulgence and pleasure.” Popcorn identified what she called the “female revolution” that will continue over the next decade, as women are owning more businesses and “have all the money, globally” as we experience a “he-cession.” Popcorn expressed the changing consumer desire for substance over superficiality, and how businesses must use their feminine side to embrace change. (Read her full presentation here.) Like Jacobs of Life is good, Popcorn reiterated the idea of using your power for good or “Wellness Through Community,” citing the Heifer method of sustainability and Jon Bon Jovi’s New Jersey restaurant Soul Kitchen, where patrons pay what they can through his Hope is Delicious movement.
Note: If you enjoy trends, look for SpaFinder President Susie Ellis’ Top 10 Spa Trends set to debut in early 2012.
Last up was Tony Hsieh, Zappos.com CEO and author of the best-selling book Delivering Happiness. He shared his ideas on developing a culture of happiness in the workplace, underscoring customer service as a focal point for a service business and how excellence can make your business stand out. Employees at his company (often ranked high as one of the best places to work for by Forbes, CNN Money, et al.), are encouraged to be themselves, while professional, and to give back to their communities. Hsieh has seen the results of a happy workplace that creates greater productivity.
ISPA attendees can walk the floor of the convention center and get samplings of hundreds of new and noteworthy products. Here are a few that caught my attention as an editor (and you can expect to see these covered on our Club Spa blog).
OSEA Malibu, is an organic seaweed-based product and the story of how the seaweed is harvested from the pristine Argentinian waters off of Patagonia, not used for commercial fishing intrigued me. OSEA works with a local partner in Argentina to ensure eco-responsible harvesting. The benefits of seaweed are vast, and I loved my OSEA facial I received – at first tingly, but my skin looked plump and youthful immediately after.
Though not a product, Belly Friendly is a program that focuses on a pregnancy-friendly environment and creating properly trained staff, far beyond the skills involved in pre-natal massage. Pregnant women are a sub-culture that Stacy Denney, the founder, has figured out. (Also, look for our Q&A with Stacy in an upcoming Partner Update.)
Mineral makeup is all the rage. Three major brands were represented at ISPA: La Bella Donna, gloMinerals and jane iredale. The last is infused with vitamins and anti-oxidants. It’s makeup that feeds your skin and popular for post-surgery patients.
Clarisonic was highlighting its new Opal device for the eyes. People swear by it and after sampling it, I see why.
I had a lot to share with our food & wellness editor upon my return. BodyCoffee, a body product line intrigued me because it’s as stimulating for the body as when you drink it. Plus, it’s popular in cellulite treatments. Big name spas like Hotel Hershey, Lake Austin, Canyon Ranch and the Spa at Norwich use their product.
Teatulia is woman-owned, sustainable company that harvests tea in a single garden in Bangladesh. EVOO by Caren are skincare/bodycare products that are aloe-based and infused with extra virgin olive oil, so great for post-cancer patients whose skin gets very dry. We’re also excited to review the arugula soy candle and more from Archipelago Botanicals, which is part of the brand’s new culinary collection.
The wildly popular hair care product line Moroccan Oil introduced its move into body care, with its argan-oil based line. We’ll be looking for it to be launched in 2012.
From our ISPA booth #224, SpaFinder was able to connect with many of our spa partners, as well as many properties who were recipients of our 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards. Winners took photos with Mariel Hemingway, renowned actress, wellness advocate and our spokesperson for Wellness Week 2012.
Lastly, I was excited to visit some of the newest, and most talked about, Vegas spas including: Cosmopolitan, Encore, Canyon Ranch and QUA Baths at Caesars. (Look for my Vegas Spas feature on Club Spa next month.) Vegas is not just for gambling anymore, as the town is becoming quite a center for luxury and group spa experiences.