Company Profile Promotion
Aromatherapy Associates

Global product company Aromatherapy Associates knows how to make treatments and retail work in a spa environment and partners with operators to make a real point of difference

By Kate Corney | Published in Spa Business 2013 issue 3


With 30 year’s success in the spa sector working with leading operators it’s not an understatement to call Geraldine Howard, the co-founder and president of Aromatherapy Associates, an industry guru. Not only does her company make and supply a sought after luxury product and treatment brand – providing a point of differentiation in itself; it builds long-lasting relationships with spa operators, offering them the necessary knowledge and support to ensure there’s a significant contribution to the bottom line.

One to one
“We always work with hotels to build a strong relationship,” says Howard, whose diverse international client list reads like a who’s who of leading international hotel groups.
The company has a client-centric approach and Howard takes pride in be able to offer a fully customised service: “We love to work with spas to build their brand – it’s not about building our brand. Even though we work with numerous hotel groups we’ll take into account what the hotel spa stands for. We create treatments and offerings that echo, replicate and reinforce their brand ethos.”

The company’s long-standing partnership with Mandarin Oriental is testament to the benefits of this method (see SB09/3 p58). Howard and her team have also worked to create signature and unique treatment concepts for high-end clients. “Customising is very important to me and is one of our biggest USPs. We don’t promote our name everywhere, but instead take a quiet approach in order to support our customers brands,” adds Howard.

As part of this, the Aromatherapy Associates marketing and design team offers bespoke POS and posters for spas using its own trademarked material and imagery. She says: “We offer customised marketing support, working in partnership with them to create combined treatments and collateral unique to the individual spa. In addition, we’ve created bespoke bedroom amenities for a selection of hotels. Having branded amenities – including a wide range of spa products, turndowns and VIP gifts – gives the hotel a luxury edge, and helps to raise awareness of, and bring extra footfall to, on-site spas and retail boutiques.”

Retail Expertise
A core part of Aromatherapy Associates service is to educate partners in how to sell retail products following a body treatment. Howard explains: “It’s important to ensure a massage is linked to a problem of that individual and helping to address a specific concern, such as a treatment to help aid sleep, or aching muscles. When clients understand the health benefits of the treatments, why certain oils are being used and how they are helping them, they also understand the benefits of using the relevant bath and body products at home.”

Howard knows this approach works because it’s something she’s trialled in Aromatherapy Associates very own-branded flagship store, which opened in the exclusive Knightsbridge area – close to Harrods department store – in London in 2011 (see SB11/4 p22). One of only a handful of product houses to set up shop, the company uses the outlet to test what works with retail. Howard reveals that an extremely impressive 65 per cent of its revenue comes from retail sales and 35 per cent from treatment sales. “It teaches us how to help spas build their retail,” she adds.

Based on the lessons learned so far, Aromatherapy Associates provides training to all clients to teach therapists how to sell, specifically in relation to body products which is thought to be a more challenging category and therefore commonly an opportunity that gets missed. Howard adds: “It’s often said that you can’t retail off body treatments, but our sales show you can. Six out of 10 of our top-selling products are for the body.”

Consumer Awareness
To help partners even more, Aromatherapy Associates places an emphasis on building awareness with the end user of its products – something that hasn’t been regular practice in the sector.

“There’s a tendency to think that if a product brand is exclusively sold in a spa, it will generate more retail,” says Howard. “However, consumers need to trust the brands they purchase, particularly skincare products for the face, and much trust comes through brand awareness and exposure. Successful retail skincare brands are usually sold in multiple outlets as in today’s world ease of purchasing is a major factor.”

Aromatherapy Associates has been following this trend by successful retailing at Space NK for 14 years and other top retail spaces worldwide. It’s also generated further kudos with the public by winning numerous product awards from top consumer magazines such as Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle and the Beauty Bible (see p64). “The art for spas,” Howard adds, “is to capitalise on this brand exposure and use the treatments combined with therapist’s expert knowledge to select the most effective products for the client. Spas really are the most perfect environment to sell products as you’ve already captured their attention and love for the brand. It’s all about educating them on what they need and how the product are going to make a difference to them personally.”

Solid base
Howard, who trained under renowned aromatherapist Micheline Arcier back in the early 1970s, began in the industry by creating highly customised essential oil blends to suit client needs (see SB08/3 p90). Her team now includes three in-house chemists who specialise in formulating natural, aromatherapy-based products which deliver results.

The latest blend to launch is Inner Strength, a bath and shower oil Howard originally created for her own personal use during a fight against illness. The blend combines clary sage, a euphoric essential oil, frankincense to help focus the mind, cardamom and rosemary to help fortify physical strength, vetivert to calm, geranium to balance and rose for comfort – or as Howard says “a hug in a bottle”.

Ten per cent of all sales from Inner Strength products are donated to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation – www.afweertegenkanker.nl. The Dutch organisation has pioneered a new method for treating cancer and, so far, Aromatherapy Associates has raised in excess of £10,000 for its continued research.

Widening horizons
Under the leadership of Howard, with backing from private investor Ian Richardson, the company’s turnover grew significantly in three years: at a rate of 20-25 per cent year on year.

Last year, it merged with the respected US-based consultancy Spa Strategy. And since then, Howard has been working with its managing partner Elaine Fenard to create a financial model for spas. The model will combine the company’s experience of supply as well as Spa Strategy’s expertise on space utilisation in order to develop a performance matrix for spas, small and large, to identify significant improvement areas to make the whole business better.

Overall, Howard’s vision is to increase global expansion and supply. Aromatherapy Associates currently distributes in 47 countries, including Mexico, China and India, where it’s licensed to trade and manages the distribution itself.

As a passionate entrepreneur, Howard has built a formidable company and brand in Aromatherapy Associates. And there’s more to come as a result of the company’s philosophy of continuous innovation.


Product ranges
Hydrating
Moisturising & Renewing. For dry, dull and tired skin. Hydration is maximised with highly nourishing botanicals and moisture boosting essential oil blends

Mattifying
Balancing & Refining. Oil balancing botanicals and essential oils help to regulate the over-production of sebum

Soothing
Calming & Comforting. Gentle hydration, resistance and illumination for sensitive skin. Formulated with comforting botanical and simply soothing essential oils blends

Anti-Ageing
Rejuvenating & Repairing. This range is packed with super active, anti-ageing ingredients and rare essential oils. It increases collagen and elastin production for mature or very dry skin

Refinery
Specialist male grooming line that’s been developed in collaboration with men’s day spa chain The Refinery

Relax
Restful & Tranquil. Unrivalled in its potency, Relax is Aromatherapy Associates’ most popular innovation

De-Stress
Focusing & Soothing. Energises tired muscles with blends of highly active essential oils for instant relief and refreshment

Revive
Refreshing & Invigorating. Blends to stimulate and activate the mind first thing in the morning and at the end of the day

Support
Comforting & Uplifting. A range for combating the effects of winter colds and flu, soothing irritated or sensitive skin or helping with hormonal pressures

Nourishing
Conditioning & Nourishing. Exotic botanicals are combined with plant oils and unique essential blends in this collection to immediately smooth and nourish

Renewing
Rejuvenating & Softening. Rose oil, renowned and cherished for centuries, is the signature ingredient of this line

Polishing
Rejuvenating & Polishing. Comprises a scrub, exfoliator and body brush to gently invigorate tired skin, boost circulation and encourage radiance and health


AWARDS
Spa China:
Most Popular Spa Brand of the Year, 2012/11
Spa Product of the Year – Renewing Rose Body Collection 2010

Asia Spa:
Spa Product Line of the Year, 2011
Natural Product of the Year 2008/07
Anti-Age Product of the Year-Fine Line Face Oil, 2009

Crystal Awards Asia Pacific:
Age Repair Facial, 2010

American Spa Professional Choice Award:
Favourite Aromatherapy Line 2011/10/09
The Glamour Power List – De-Stress Muscle Gel 2012
Tatler Beauty Awards - Bath and Shower Oils, 2012

Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Hot 100 Awards:
Miniature Bath and Shower Oil Collection, Overnight Repair Mask, 2012

InStyle Best Beauty Buys:
Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, 2012 and 2013 (Hall of Fame)

Tatler Beauty Awards:
The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience, 2012

Beauty Bible:
Anti-Ageing – Rose Body and Massage Oil, 2012

Howard is a passionate innovator
Facial products usually dominate retail sales, but at Aromatherapy Associates, body products are top sellers too
Facial products usually dominate retail sales, but at Aromatherapy Associates, body products are top sellers too
Aromatherapy Associates is one of only a handful of product houses to launch a dedicated retail and day spa facility
Aromatherapy Associates is one of only a handful of product houses to launch a dedicated retail and day spa facility
 


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Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

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SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2013 issue 3

View issue contents

Leisure Management - Aromatherapy Associates

Company Profile Promotion

Aromatherapy Associates


Global product company Aromatherapy Associates knows how to make treatments and retail work in a spa environment and partners with operators to make a real point of difference

Kate Corney, The Leisure Media Company
Aromatherapy Associates
Howard is a passionate innovator
Facial products usually dominate retail sales, but at Aromatherapy Associates, body products are top sellers too
Facial products usually dominate retail sales, but at Aromatherapy Associates, body products are top sellers too
Aromatherapy Associates is one of only a handful of product houses to launch a dedicated retail and day spa facility
Aromatherapy Associates is one of only a handful of product houses to launch a dedicated retail and day spa facility

With 30 year’s success in the spa sector working with leading operators it’s not an understatement to call Geraldine Howard, the co-founder and president of Aromatherapy Associates, an industry guru. Not only does her company make and supply a sought after luxury product and treatment brand – providing a point of differentiation in itself; it builds long-lasting relationships with spa operators, offering them the necessary knowledge and support to ensure there’s a significant contribution to the bottom line.

One to one
“We always work with hotels to build a strong relationship,” says Howard, whose diverse international client list reads like a who’s who of leading international hotel groups.
The company has a client-centric approach and Howard takes pride in be able to offer a fully customised service: “We love to work with spas to build their brand – it’s not about building our brand. Even though we work with numerous hotel groups we’ll take into account what the hotel spa stands for. We create treatments and offerings that echo, replicate and reinforce their brand ethos.”

The company’s long-standing partnership with Mandarin Oriental is testament to the benefits of this method (see SB09/3 p58). Howard and her team have also worked to create signature and unique treatment concepts for high-end clients. “Customising is very important to me and is one of our biggest USPs. We don’t promote our name everywhere, but instead take a quiet approach in order to support our customers brands,” adds Howard.

As part of this, the Aromatherapy Associates marketing and design team offers bespoke POS and posters for spas using its own trademarked material and imagery. She says: “We offer customised marketing support, working in partnership with them to create combined treatments and collateral unique to the individual spa. In addition, we’ve created bespoke bedroom amenities for a selection of hotels. Having branded amenities – including a wide range of spa products, turndowns and VIP gifts – gives the hotel a luxury edge, and helps to raise awareness of, and bring extra footfall to, on-site spas and retail boutiques.”

Retail Expertise
A core part of Aromatherapy Associates service is to educate partners in how to sell retail products following a body treatment. Howard explains: “It’s important to ensure a massage is linked to a problem of that individual and helping to address a specific concern, such as a treatment to help aid sleep, or aching muscles. When clients understand the health benefits of the treatments, why certain oils are being used and how they are helping them, they also understand the benefits of using the relevant bath and body products at home.”

Howard knows this approach works because it’s something she’s trialled in Aromatherapy Associates very own-branded flagship store, which opened in the exclusive Knightsbridge area – close to Harrods department store – in London in 2011 (see SB11/4 p22). One of only a handful of product houses to set up shop, the company uses the outlet to test what works with retail. Howard reveals that an extremely impressive 65 per cent of its revenue comes from retail sales and 35 per cent from treatment sales. “It teaches us how to help spas build their retail,” she adds.

Based on the lessons learned so far, Aromatherapy Associates provides training to all clients to teach therapists how to sell, specifically in relation to body products which is thought to be a more challenging category and therefore commonly an opportunity that gets missed. Howard adds: “It’s often said that you can’t retail off body treatments, but our sales show you can. Six out of 10 of our top-selling products are for the body.”

Consumer Awareness
To help partners even more, Aromatherapy Associates places an emphasis on building awareness with the end user of its products – something that hasn’t been regular practice in the sector.

“There’s a tendency to think that if a product brand is exclusively sold in a spa, it will generate more retail,” says Howard. “However, consumers need to trust the brands they purchase, particularly skincare products for the face, and much trust comes through brand awareness and exposure. Successful retail skincare brands are usually sold in multiple outlets as in today’s world ease of purchasing is a major factor.”

Aromatherapy Associates has been following this trend by successful retailing at Space NK for 14 years and other top retail spaces worldwide. It’s also generated further kudos with the public by winning numerous product awards from top consumer magazines such as Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle and the Beauty Bible (see p64). “The art for spas,” Howard adds, “is to capitalise on this brand exposure and use the treatments combined with therapist’s expert knowledge to select the most effective products for the client. Spas really are the most perfect environment to sell products as you’ve already captured their attention and love for the brand. It’s all about educating them on what they need and how the product are going to make a difference to them personally.”

Solid base
Howard, who trained under renowned aromatherapist Micheline Arcier back in the early 1970s, began in the industry by creating highly customised essential oil blends to suit client needs (see SB08/3 p90). Her team now includes three in-house chemists who specialise in formulating natural, aromatherapy-based products which deliver results.

The latest blend to launch is Inner Strength, a bath and shower oil Howard originally created for her own personal use during a fight against illness. The blend combines clary sage, a euphoric essential oil, frankincense to help focus the mind, cardamom and rosemary to help fortify physical strength, vetivert to calm, geranium to balance and rose for comfort – or as Howard says “a hug in a bottle”.

Ten per cent of all sales from Inner Strength products are donated to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation – www.afweertegenkanker.nl. The Dutch organisation has pioneered a new method for treating cancer and, so far, Aromatherapy Associates has raised in excess of £10,000 for its continued research.

Widening horizons
Under the leadership of Howard, with backing from private investor Ian Richardson, the company’s turnover grew significantly in three years: at a rate of 20-25 per cent year on year.

Last year, it merged with the respected US-based consultancy Spa Strategy. And since then, Howard has been working with its managing partner Elaine Fenard to create a financial model for spas. The model will combine the company’s experience of supply as well as Spa Strategy’s expertise on space utilisation in order to develop a performance matrix for spas, small and large, to identify significant improvement areas to make the whole business better.

Overall, Howard’s vision is to increase global expansion and supply. Aromatherapy Associates currently distributes in 47 countries, including Mexico, China and India, where it’s licensed to trade and manages the distribution itself.

As a passionate entrepreneur, Howard has built a formidable company and brand in Aromatherapy Associates. And there’s more to come as a result of the company’s philosophy of continuous innovation.


Product ranges
Hydrating
Moisturising & Renewing. For dry, dull and tired skin. Hydration is maximised with highly nourishing botanicals and moisture boosting essential oil blends

Mattifying
Balancing & Refining. Oil balancing botanicals and essential oils help to regulate the over-production of sebum

Soothing
Calming & Comforting. Gentle hydration, resistance and illumination for sensitive skin. Formulated with comforting botanical and simply soothing essential oils blends

Anti-Ageing
Rejuvenating & Repairing. This range is packed with super active, anti-ageing ingredients and rare essential oils. It increases collagen and elastin production for mature or very dry skin

Refinery
Specialist male grooming line that’s been developed in collaboration with men’s day spa chain The Refinery

Relax
Restful & Tranquil. Unrivalled in its potency, Relax is Aromatherapy Associates’ most popular innovation

De-Stress
Focusing & Soothing. Energises tired muscles with blends of highly active essential oils for instant relief and refreshment

Revive
Refreshing & Invigorating. Blends to stimulate and activate the mind first thing in the morning and at the end of the day

Support
Comforting & Uplifting. A range for combating the effects of winter colds and flu, soothing irritated or sensitive skin or helping with hormonal pressures

Nourishing
Conditioning & Nourishing. Exotic botanicals are combined with plant oils and unique essential blends in this collection to immediately smooth and nourish

Renewing
Rejuvenating & Softening. Rose oil, renowned and cherished for centuries, is the signature ingredient of this line

Polishing
Rejuvenating & Polishing. Comprises a scrub, exfoliator and body brush to gently invigorate tired skin, boost circulation and encourage radiance and health


AWARDS
Spa China:
Most Popular Spa Brand of the Year, 2012/11
Spa Product of the Year – Renewing Rose Body Collection 2010

Asia Spa:
Spa Product Line of the Year, 2011
Natural Product of the Year 2008/07
Anti-Age Product of the Year-Fine Line Face Oil, 2009

Crystal Awards Asia Pacific:
Age Repair Facial, 2010

American Spa Professional Choice Award:
Favourite Aromatherapy Line 2011/10/09
The Glamour Power List – De-Stress Muscle Gel 2012
Tatler Beauty Awards - Bath and Shower Oils, 2012

Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Hot 100 Awards:
Miniature Bath and Shower Oil Collection, Overnight Repair Mask, 2012

InStyle Best Beauty Buys:
Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, 2012 and 2013 (Hall of Fame)

Tatler Beauty Awards:
The Ultimate Aromatherapy Experience, 2012

Beauty Bible:
Anti-Ageing – Rose Body and Massage Oil, 2012


Originally published in Spa Business 2013 issue 3

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd