Tell us about the new recliner chair you’ve just launched
It’s called the ZG (zero gravity) Lounger and Express Treatment Chair and we’ve developed it in response to the needs of today’s diverse spa service offerings.
Our spas were looking to offer a better relaxation environment, and needed a chair that could create a bridge between all the services. The ZG is more versatile in where it can be used, as well as being less expensive than a conventional treatment couch.
A high-end chair typically costs between US$5,000-6,000 (€4,550-5,460, £3,820-4,580), whereas the ZG is priced between US$3,000-4,000 (€2,730-3,640, £2,290-3,050). It was designed in collaboration with Kenneth Ryan and John Hopp at Marriott International to become a brand standard for all Ritz Carlton properties.
Can you explain zero gravity as it applies to delivering treatments?
It’s a concept called body neutral positioning, which is actually quite an old modality that I learned 20 years ago at massage school.
If you put a client in a seated position and gently tip them backwards while keeping the knees and calves raised, this creates a floating feeling. It provides less stress on the body by disengaging the muscles in their legs, hips and back muscles. This position tilts the pelvis, decompressing the vertebrae of the spine and distributing that weight across the larger muscles of the back. It’s an extremely comfortable position – much more so than lying with your legs straight out. It also allows you to perform a supine massage using the pressure of their body weight, while in a completely natural and relaxed position.
In addition to massage, the chair was designed to provide express treatments, such as facials, hand and foot treatments, as well as being an unbelievably comfortable relaxation lounger.
It’s easy to overcomplicate spa furniture, and we’re seeing trendy and sometimes impractical concepts dropped into some spa furniture offerings. Body neutral positioning has been around for decades... it’s nothing new. We’ve just created an ideal couch to support this true wellness massage modality.
What are some of the ZG’s core features?
It’s built to our usual very high standards, using sustainable wood, water-based lacquers and our trademarked recyclable PU vinyl called Natursoft. The design features an adjustable headrest, an independent articulating footrest and electronic pivoting for the smoothest zero gravity adjustments. Upgraded features include a Relaxor® heat and massage option and Ultraleather® fabric.
It has a smaller footprint, so it’s also suited to more compact areas. Express pods and micro treatments are part of a new spa and wellness lifestyle, but it shouldn’t take a monstrosity of a treatment room to serve our clients.
What else is new at Living Earth Crafts?
Well, we’ve created three new designs for our best-selling pedicure chairs and also remodelled our hot towel cabinets so they’re even more efficient.
With the pedicure chairs, we felt we’d really perfected all the features that technicians and clients desire. What was needed now were more design options to suit different environments.
So this September at ISPA in Las Vegas we’re launching a Victorian-style design, a modern lounge-style chair and a smooth soft-contour version.
The units are completely electronic – armrests, footrests and drains. We’ve also added an additional safety feature, which means that if a therapist walks away with the water running, the equipment will automatically maintain the water at the correct level without flooding.
This new line is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, so people with limited mobility can readily access the chair without having to climb up or around the unit.
And what’s changed with your hot towel cabinets?
In 2015 we successfully launched the first high-end, embedded warming drawer. It was a hit with designers and therapists. We saw the potential in all aspects of the market.
More recently, we’ve turned our attention towards improving some of the basics of spa equipment. I’ve been designing and selling equipment for 20 years and heated towel cabinets have traditionally been the piece of spa equipment that hasn’t performed very well as they don’t retain a consistent heat level.
So we’ve been back to the drawing board and fitted a commercial grade heating element that maintains at 5°C more and holds that heat better. Not only is it a better towel warmer, we’ve also introduced cost efficiencies that make the equipment 15-20 per cent less expensive.
What’s next for Living Earth Crafts?
In the last few financial years we’ve experienced very strong growth in Europe of almost 30 percent each year. Our partnerships with the elite brands has helped bring our brand to more spa professionals. We’ve been the world’s leading spa furniture company for many years, but it’s been wonderful to see new growth in the European market.
This year we’ll continue to focus strongly on expansion with the help of our amazing distributors – Ellisons, Spa Vision and Beauty Express – who’ve been integral to our success.
All three have developed extremely sophisticated systems to ensure that the in-country support that we’re able to offer our customers is unrivalled.