Interview with Lyn Huang, Founder of BeiYang
Having worked many years for the German company The Most Wanted in the areas of product research, design and development, Lyn finally found her true love at Ellisons, a British company, in 2004. Two years later, she co-founded the Spa Training Department at Shenzhen Vocational Technical School focusing on eyelash grafting and waxing techniques. In 2008, Lyn founded Paris Bijan International Ltd in Hong Kong to intensively supply products to China’s spa markets. Then she moved to Shanghai and established BeiYang Import & Export (Shanghai) in 2014 to further promote spa products in both China’s and Britain’s markets. Now BeiYang’s products can be seen in many top hotel spas including Ritz-Carlton, Waldorf, Wanda Reign, St. Regis, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza and more.
There is a high attention to detail in the spa industry. And it is exactly the indispensable arrays of small fixtures, equipment and consumables that give full support to the smooth operations of the spa, though many times ignored. SpaChina interviewed Lyn, an outgoing and articulate lady who does great works on the developments of professional spa fixtures and equipment.
You work as a partner with Ellisons. Please introduce Ellisons to our readers.
Ellisons has been in business since 1930 and over the last 87 years has established itself as the supplier of choice of furniture, fixtures, equipment, consumables and niche brands for literally thousands of salons and spas across the world. We supply everything from the smallest order to full containers, and manage all of the details throughout the project to ensure the idea: you can receive your order when you need it, and exactly where you need it. The products we supply are including Salon essentials & disposables, Spa and salon furniture and equipment, Salon wear and toweling, Exclusive treatment ranges, Design and fit out service, as the leading one-stop shop for all professional salon and spa needs.
What made you decide to bring Ellisons products to China?
Ellisons is a leader in the professional beauty sector with great experience of customer needs and the introduction and supply of specialist beauty products. The world is shrinking and with access to information, the demands of all markets are merging. Although 6,000 miles away, we can see how Ellisons’ own brands, the specialist brands that it distributes and accompanying world class training protocols could provide mutual benefit by bringing these to China. The market will shift further so product sectors that were once a speciality of Western spas will become global and important for all markets. Examples of this are waxing brands where Chinese consumers, with greater access to travel, have become familiar and comfortable with these treatments.
How do you select the right products to put into your business?
Products are selected by customer demand and market trends. The professional sector requires consistent and reliable supply so we ensure that only suitable brands and products are selected. Ellisons is the first choice, in the UK, for professional brands to partner but only those with the right commercial and quality attributes will be selected for distribution. Ellisons’ own brands are either produced in house with GMP standards employed for waxing and skincare products or with selected manufacturing partners with a long history in the professional beauty sector. We select these partners based on their product mix and manufacturing quality processes – we work with them for the long term and monitor quality by using our own experienced personnel to inspect all deliveries.
Are there any major differences between the needs of spas in England and China?
There is one key parameter which is the same with all spas. The critical aspect will always be the client experience, whether this is Manchester, UK or Changsha, China. Consistently high performing products, treatments and innovation are a must for all spas. Brand selection and training are therefore a priority for all. Differences in detail do exist but the overall requirements are the same.
Do different spas ask for different products from BeiYang?
Day Spas are generally looking for quicker, result-based treatments compared to Hotel or Resort Spas. However, there is a trend for more indulgent treatments that can be executed reliably without the need for space-hungry equipment. Products like Lava Shells cross over well in this area. There is also more a focus on what could be considered ‘necessity’ treatments such as waxing, nail and eye treatments. Equipment generally has to be simple and practical but able to withstand heavy usage.
Hotel’s requirements combine indulgent and practical treatments where clients enjoy the convenience of a spa which offers a broad range of services in one location, in luxurious surroundings with the confidence of reliability that big name brand can offer. Equipment and treatments must fit with the brand image and are selected accordingly.
Resort Spas tend toward more luxurious and indulgence based treatments with higher specifications for equipment. However, even in such environments guests are demanding the same wide range of treatments they would require in a city centre hotel, so waxing, for instance, is still a key treatment.
There are top 5 “must have” products that the spas ordered from us, they are: Lava, Quality Couches, PhD (all purpose waxing), Bamboo, and Delsera (luxury waxing).
What kind of spa trend do you see in these two years?
Probably the most obvious difference in spa business in China and the UK is within the national groups. The UK and Europe large groups have a chain of spas that will largely be operated in the same way giving consistency in the supply of client satisfaction. That is in terms of product selection and training. This gives the group the significant benefits of group purchasing, commercial performance, marketing and consistency of approach including training. At this stage, large groups in China do not all have consistency throughout spas. Although there is a gradual move to this, spas often run as independent units within the same branding. Training will become more structured to enable consistent client satisfaction.
Any future plan for BeiYang’s growth in five years?
BeiYang looks to become the leading niche brand house for spas in China. Developing on from the success of PhD and Lava, we will continue to introduce innovation through careful selection of suitable partner brands and their treatments.
You call yourself a Spa Lover. How often do you visit a spa, and what kind of treatment is your favorite?
I often visit spas to study more about local approaches and trends. Once a month or even more often if I have the chance to travel to stay in hotels, I will check every detail from the couches to the little accessories that they are using. My favourite treatment is the Lava Shell. It is the world’s first self-heating massage tool. A patented, natural, biodegradable heat technology is incorporated into the Lava Shell which then emits heat for over an hour, allowing therapists to provide a continuous and seamless body massage.
It’s portable, eco-friendly and non-porous, and Lava Shells can be used to treat a multitude of concerns from easing aching muscles and joints to alleviating the suffering from IBS and bloating. Due to the shells unique shape and angles, they become an extension of the therapist’s hands, deploying deeply therapeutic relief to where it is needed, perfect for all industry professionals and used by mobile therapists, salon and spas.