MCV Salon and Spa

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Owner: Mary Volker

Big Mistake: When Mary Volker planned her new spa space two years ago, she noted the new trend for dual services for couples and girlfriends. Since space in her spa was at a premium, she decided to create a room that was adaptable. “We thought it was brilliant to have one large room with a ceiling-to-floor room divider—that way the single room could be used for couple’s services or broken down into two individual rooms for other services,” she remembers.

While couple’s services might have been the rage around the country, Volker failed to test the concept in her own backyard. In the first year, the spa experienced a growth in the sales of individual facials and massages, but sold few tandem services. “The divider was closed more than it was open,” says Volker.

In addition, the divider allowed too much light and noise from one space to the other. “For example, if you had a waxing service on one side, the light and the conversation would seep to the other side where you might have a massage service,” she explains. “In addition, chatter from a nearby nail area invaded both service rooms.”

Not only does Volker believe the environment slowed the adoption of the salon’s new spa services, she knows it was responsible for her losing some estheticians. “One in particular left on good terms but told me she couldn’t grow her clientele in that environment,” she says.

Smart Solution: To fix the problem, Volker went back to the drawing room. She had a solid wall constructed between the two points, added insulation to the ceiling, installed a soundproofing product to the doors of each room, and placed rubber mats around the styling area. She also handed some staff members her credit card and instructed them to purchase area rugs, screens and other decor that helped absorb sound.

Overall, the changes cost about $6,000. “It would have cheaper and much easier to make two separate rooms from the beginning,” she says. “But that’s hindsight.”

The changes seem to be working. Employees seem pleased with the changes, and clients are reporting that they feel more comfortable and more private in the new rooms.

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