As a leading spa equipment manufacturer, what problems does Living Earth Crafts seek to solve for operators?
One of the most frustrating aspects for operators is all the various components that have to be integrated into the treatments room, which are often already very challenged for space. So facilities end up with a room full of separate pieces of equipment and storage that don’t have any cohesiveness about them.
For example, stone warmers and hot towel warmers have traditionally been large unsightly units, often made from white plastic, that don’t fit into the kind of spa design that we’ve seen trending in recent years.
Simply making them in a different colour doesn’t really work, as they still stand out in a room, and often have to be right in the middle of the floor. They tend to have a look and a style that’s generations older.
What’s the solution?
Eliminating the clutter and increasing functionality are two key aspects that we’ve been focused on at Living Earth Crafts. A crowded treatment room is something that really takes away from the experience element of the spa.
A few years ago I started to study the trends happening in the home kitchen industry with all the clean lines and integrated cabinetry, and saw that I could create the same kind of integration with a massage table, with external components that slotted seamlessly in or underneath.
Tell us about your new launches?
We’ve just launched an integrated hot warming drawer that can be used for hot towels or stones, or to warm spa linens. It’s a handcrafted warmer that looks beautifully modern, and slides seamlessly under any of our massage tables.
We were not able to find an acceptable unit that existed for a spa’s needs, so we set out to build a custom-created system. It has a complete digital control system, with temperature presets so there’s no worry about scalding anyone. There’s no more dings or ticking timers, as we’ve included a built-in digital timer for 2, 4, 6 or 10 hours with automatic cut off.
The multi-functional drawer is also available as a retrofit for any massage table. Currently, our drawer is able to mount in the side or fit at either end of a table. Its multiple heat settings are pre-adjusted for working with hot towels, a medium setting for stones, and a low setting for warming linens and robes.
Our other product is targeted specifically at the smaller spas and chains, many of which opt for the pedestal or scissor-lift tables, because they are more economical and create more floor space than traditional cabinet tables.
With these tables, traditionally therapists have had to use a bolster but there is no easy or convenient location to store them or keep them easily at hand.
So we’ve designed a very simple yet effective accessory to answer this problem. We’ve created a lightweight metal bolster holder that sits underneath the massage table. It can’t be seen when the table is draped, yet it’s very easy for the therapist to reach out with one hand and put the bolster into position when needed.
What’s your background?
I’ve been involved in the designing, building and operating of spas for over 20 years, so I understand the problems from both sides. When I first transitioned to the spa/wellness industry, I also put myself through massage school and worked as a therapist so I could truly understand the operational issues at first hand.
Tell us more about the company...
Living Earth Craft and sister company EarthLite are the world’s largest spa furniture manufacturers. We operate four spa equipment companies, and we’re in 160 countries worldwide, selling more than 45,000 massage tables a year
Living Earth Crafts is our brand for the high-end resorts, hotels, casinos and retreats. EarthLite is the biggest brand in the mid spa market and also supplies the training schools and independent therapists. StrongLite is our brand for therapists and schools only, and Inner Strength is a budget line for students or the home wellness market.
What are your eco credentials?
Sustainability is one of our core missions. Our message is that wood is a very precious commodity. We do all our own sourcing, milling and manufacturing.
We own a factory in China – it’s the only way we can guarantee that we are dealing with 100 per cent FSC Forest woods. We use every bit of the wood with no wastage – even the sawdust goes to local farmers. Also, all our Living Earth Craft products are made in our factory in California.
About eight years ago we also completely eliminated polymers from our table tops and now only use PU vinyl, which is a recyclable product. The chemical additives in PVC are awful, and even though they may prolong the life of a table, we believe eliminating it just makes it a much better product.
Of course it makes a chink in our profit, but it’s a really important message for us and we don’t want to compromise. For the same reasons, we only use water-based lacquers on our woods.
Who are your clients?
We supply a large segment of the market, almost up to 80 percent of spas in the US, and we’re also strong in China and Asia.
Europe was our biggest single focus last year, and we now supply a majority of major spas in Europe, working with the industry leading companies like ESPA International, Mandarin Oriental, Marriott and Four Seasons for example, right through to smaller independent operators.
All the big brands are entering Europe and as they develop, our partnership allows us to develop with them.
What about your client support?
In Europe, we have warehousing in Rotterdam, a factory outside Paris and carry live product inventories worldwide.
We’ve handpicked three really great European distributors to work with – Spa Vision, Ellisons and Beauty Express, who can really service our business on the ground and offer the best hands-on technical support and expertise to our clients. Each handles a variety of clients across the industry and they are all truly top-notch providers.
What do you love about the spa industry?
I really love the challenge of helping spa clients to bridge the gap between the technology, the furniture and the spa operations. Gimmicks and gaudy designs are easy to create, but I prefer to help spa therapists with practical solutions...ones that make a real difference in their work.