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Images Salon & Day Spa

 


Name of Spa: Images Salon & Day Spa, Kuwait
Opened Since: Salmiya Branch: 1995 Sabah Al-Salem Branch 2005
Hours of Operation: Saturday – Thursday 9am – 8pm; Fridays 10 – 6pm (Weekends are Friday & Saturday)
Type of Spa: Day Spa
Size of Spa: 125 square meters for Spa, 125 square meters for Hair salon, staff rooms & Back of house.
Number of Employees: Salmiya Branch: 9; Sabah Al-Salem Branch: 8
Number of Treatment Rooms: Salmiya: 4; Sabah Al-Salem: 2
Types of Treatments offered:Variety of health and beauty
Business Stats:
Spa Management Education: Spa2b Inc.
Software Program used: Unique salon and spa software
Staff Compensation Method: Salary & Salary + commission
Product Lines used:
Hair: Matrix, Wella, L’Oreal, Kadus
Nails: OPI, Essie, Zoya, Creative Acrylic & Gel products
Nail Spa: Qtica, Cuccio & Bella Lucce
Hair Removal: Depileve
Facial products: Skyndor, Estee Lauder, Obaji, CelexC
Body Wraps & Massage: Bella Lucce
Make-Up: Estee Lauder
Top 3 selling services:
Qtica themed manicures & pedicures
High & Low Lights
Body Wraps
Body Waxing
Contact Information:
Dr. Stacey Al-Ghawas
P.O. Box 123 Al-Qosoor
Kuwait 47402
Staceyq8@gmail.com

Your valued advice to those opening/operating a spa

Understand that this is a detail-oriented business that requires a customer-centric focus. Hire professionals that are passionate about their work and who strive for perfection. Support your staff and build a cohesive, fun working environment – customers will feel the positive energy and their loyalty and appreciation will drive your business forward. I also recommend that you hire an accountant and follow your business and finances in an analytical manner.

Testimonial to Spas2b

I signed up for the Spas2b Spa Management course and I am benefiting from the discussion & details of the Asset Management section at the moment. The courses are also giving me positive feedback on the things I already do, so it’s comforting to know that I am on the right track! I love receiving my monthly newsletters – they are full of so much sound advice and insight!

“With Leslie and Spas2b, I feel that I have a partner in business,
even though I am on the other side of the world”

Images Salon & Day Spa was opened in 1995 and was the first American style salon in Kuwait. At the time it opened, it was unique in that it offered a customer-centric focus and full professional services for hair, nails, body & face in a clean and convenient location. I didn’t open Images because I was a trained hairdresser or esthetician – I opened my business because I was a serious customer searching for professional beauty care.

I had been visiting a multitude of salons in Kuwait looking for a place where I could be assured of polite and professional hair care. In those days, you had to wait until you were sufficiently desperate to gather the courage to battle through a salon experience. There was no such thing as a hair appointment – you merely showed up and vied for the hairdresser’s attention. Once fortunate enough to be seated, you then had to struggle through in broken Arabic to describe what kind of style you wanted. In the middle of your session, it was common practice for the hairdressers’ friends and other customers to interrupt her for hair consultations and you would find yourself stranded in your chair as she began someone else’s hair! As a customer, you never felt like you were the focal point of the operators who all chatted with each other in their native languages and completely ignored you.

Because most Arab women prefer to have long hair, the skill level for haircutting was undeveloped and emphasis was on blow dry styling, which is where they excel. You may have left the salon looking good, but once you washed your hair you realized that your cut was uneven and lopsided! Once I started needing to color my hair, the real disasters began: burned scalp, fried hair & brassy blonds!

Many salons offered basic manicure and pedicure services and massage; body scrubs and hair removal are a staple business because Arab women strive for full body depilation and soft skin; but in general, spa services like facials and body wraps could only be found at the salons located in large hotels, meaning you had to go to several places to get all of your needs met.

15 years ago, a trip to the salon was a nerve racking and unpredictable experience

As a business development executive, I was always thrilled and challenged by creating businesses for large companies and I wanted to be able to apply my knowledge to a smaller scale business that I could afford and have the satisfaction of being the owner of. My frustration with visiting salons planted a seed in my mind: so, why not just open your own salon & spa?

Of course, in opening any business that is new, we all have to rely on previous experiences and extrapolate other skills and techniques to ensure that our business doesn’t fail. I drew upon my previous business experiences of managing medical and technical equipment procurement; real estate and restaurant development (to aid in site selection); design; construction; recruitment; advertising; and, most importantly; navigating through the Kuwaiti licensing rules and regulations.

There are several things that make owning a Salon & Spa in Kuwait, different than in other countries

The first are the restrictions placed on site locations. Due to the licensing restrictions of the Municipality in Kuwait, most salons have to be fit out in existing apartment buildings and most apartments lack the required number of rooms and bathrooms to make such a conversion easy. In addition, you have to complete your fit-out before you get the license – this means that if your site is not zoned for a salon, you will have done a lot of construction and spent a lot of money and end up without a license! This is not uncommon.

Because the salon & spa industry in Kuwait is unregulated, there are many unqualified people in the profession and this has lead to many government restrictions. The Ministry of Labor gives you a quota for employees that is always too low to cover the different shifts and hours of operation.

In Kuwait, there is no such thing as part time work and all employees are under the legal sponsorship of the business owner – you cannot “rent a booth”. It is time consuming and tedious to get employees transferred to your sponsorship. For example, if they don’t perform or are incompetent, you cannot fire them for 12 months!

There are many salons in Kuwait and, as in most places, good operators are in high demand. If you want to bring in beauty professionals from overseas, they must have a college degree and be over 30 years old in order to be acceptable for a working visa.

Professional massage, esthetician, and hairdressing school certificates are not recognized! This means that you have to be extremely careful in hiring and retaining qualified staff.

I was lucky enough to attract very talented personnel who were happy to work in a professional environment. Many of my original operators are still working at Images because we promote a “family” atmosphere and strive to support each other as well as really care about our customers. The women work on a salary plus commission basis. This provides incentive and compensation for their hard work and effort.

Images staff form a mini-U.N., with women currently from Lebanon, Philippines, Iran, India and Romania and in the past we had ladies from Iceland, the U.S. and Canada who were in Kuwait because of their husbands’ jobs

Our clientele is balanced between the West and the East and consequently we offer a wide variety of services to suit every hair type, every grooming protocol, and every occasion!

Kuwait is a fantastic place to be a woman because it is a very socially active place and femininity is promoted through fashion, jewelry, perfume, and culture

In the past, most Arab women didn’t explore highlighted hair so color was restricted to Westerners with lighter colored hair. This has radically changed and today Arab women are now enjoying the wide range of hair colors. Of course, many Arab women are fair skinned and have light hair to begin with, so they appreciate a well done weave to add dimension to their hair.

Although in public many Muslim women cover their hair, when they remove their scarves in the privacy of their friends and relatives, they are among the most fashionable and glamorous women in the world

When they attend parties and weddings, you will see fashion and beauty that rivals the Academy Awards

To many outside of this region this may come as a surprise, but the truth is, living in the Gulf States of the Middle East, compels you to step up your own personal grooming regime in order to compete with these women!

In addition to beauty and fashion, another component of Arab lifestyle is hospitality

People here are very friendly and the culture is traditionally very centered on providing visitors with hospitality and comfort. We incorporated these cultural values into our operations. Our staff is friendly and customer-centric and we try to ensure that customers are pampered.

We respect customers’ schedules and offer services from a multiple of operators simultaneously.

The customer is like a Queen Bee with staff hovering over her doing a manicure, pedicure and hair treatment all at the same time!

In addition, we offer private treatment rooms, provide robes to protect clothing, offer complimentary beverages and current reading material in English and Arabic.

The population of Kuwait is relatively young with over 50% of the Kuwaitis under the age of 18.

In order to stay current with this trend, we have recently launched our website ImagesQ8.com which contains a complete list of our services, photos of our staff and descriptions of our treatments. We will shortly begin a self-registration program for customers that will send them a birthday card with a coupon for a free Birthday Service that they can redeem within a month of their birthday. Most of our business comes through word of mouth and we treat our loyal customers generously.

As part of the Kuwaiti community, Images sponsors several charity events and offers special treatment packages for schools and organizations.

Our goals for the future are to continue to serve our customers in the best possible manner at our two existing locations, and to better serve our market by opening additional branches in other areas of Kuwait.

 

About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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