An Interview with Mr. Stewart Griffith, Founder and CEO of TouchAmerica
A pleasant spa experience relies not only on a professional therapist and soothing treatment, but also on the various spa equipment used. From a small head rest pillow, a seemingly ordinary massage table, to an illuminated salt wall, sometimes they are really decisive to the success of a spa visit.
Founded over 30 years ago, TouchAmerica is a company dedicated to the designing and manufacturing of spa equipment and spa furniture. Its products cover treatment tables, portable tables & chairs, relaxation loungers, manicure & pedicure tables, room accessories and the innovative halotherapy range. TouchAmerica’s goal is to update the spa goers’ experience with quality equipment featuring remarkable functionality, stable properties and good appearance. From the first massage table made from a salvaged shipping pallet, TouchAmerica has deep roots in sustainability and social responsibility.
SpaChina interviewed Mr. Stewart Griffith, Founder and CEO of TouchAmerica Corporation. With his guidance, TouchAmerica continually turns the visions of their guests into reality.
What is the goal and principles when TouchAmerica is designing products?
Functionality, appearance and dependability are the guiding goals when we are designing products. The product must meet the demands of its intended use, must be pleasing to look at and perform as expected each time it is used.
What kinds of spa furniture, equipment and product do guests expect when they come to a spa nowadays? Will they regard the quality of the hardware as an essential part of their spa journey? For example, how much do they really care about the massage tables they are on? And why?
I believe the guests are in the spa for the experience of being there. To be comfortable, relaxed and cared-for while receiving the services they select. The equipment and furniture must support these customer expectations and when it does, I think it almost disappears from the customers attention. From the customer’s perception, when they are totally comfortable on a massage table, it does not matter which massage table it is. When they are uncomfortable, the massage table is brought to their attention and it does matter. Of course, visual impact is important but is no substitute for comfort and functionality.
How does TouchAmerica help spa-goers improve their spa and wellness experience?
TouchAmerica creates products that both enhance the ambiance of a spa and increase the spa functionality and customer comfort. An example of enhanced ambiance is our Himalayan Salt Walls and Himalayan Salt Frames. Both are illuminated to create a very appealing and attractive décor. In addition, Himalayan salt produces negative ions that improve air quality and mood. Another example are the improvements we are making to our face rest pillow, which is one of the most challenging products to provide comfort for a wide range of people. With the help of customer feedback, we have redesigned the type and layers of cushion in the pillow to create a more comfortable face rest pillow. Creating products that improve the functionality of a spa treatment room also has an impact on the customer experience. TouchAmerica has developed service carts that are multi-functional, which make it easier for a service provider to work with less disruption to the customer, which improves the experience.
What do spa owners think about the importance of spa equipment and products nowadays? Are they willing to invest in quality spa furniture, facilities and equipment like an advanced massage table or expensive salt capsule?
Spa owners are very concerned about the quality and functionality of the equipment they purchase. There are always budget constraints they are working with and we find that the closer the person making the purchase decision is to the spa, the more willing they are to purchase high quality equipment. For example, a developer for a hotel/spa project may not be as concerned about the spa equipment as a spa manager making purchase decisions. Spa owners are always looking for new advances or equipment that can separate their spa from other spas and will make investments in equipment like our salt capsule to gain this advantage.
Compared with other suppliers, what are the specialities and advantages of your products and the services?
TouchAmerica tries to strike a balance between price, function and dependability. We manufacture high quality equipment engineered to be easy to maintain and repair when necessary, minimizing downtime and revenue loss to the spa. We are also very flexible and able to accommodate special requests and customization when requested or needed. These special requests often lead to product innovation and we encourage our customers to communicate their ideas to us. TouchAmerica has a great reputation for good service which we have earned from 36 years of providing great service and support to our customers. For our customers in Asia, this is one of our special advantages since our factory in China provides immediate service response to our customers.
Your new innovations include a range of halotherapy products. Can you share more details about this range? Why do you turn to halotherapy?
Halotherapy is an old therapy that is being rediscovered. Halo is derived from the Greek or Latin word Hal which means sea or salt. The healing properties in salt come from its anti-inflammatory properties and is beneficial for soothing irritated, congested lungs and skin. As we learned about Halotherapy, we saw this as a wonderful opportunity to create new products that brought real benefits for people. The salt we use for inhalation is pure pharmaceutical grade salt and the salt for skin application is Himalayan Salt which is very high in minerals and trace elements. TouchAmerica has a wide range of Halotherapy products ranging from Halogenerators for salt rooms, personalized salt booths, loungers and treatment tables with Himalayan Salt, Himalayan Salt massage stones, and illuminated Himalayan salt walls and panels for décor.
What demand is there for other wellness and spa facilities and equipment from the global markets at present and in the future? Do you have plans to launch more products to meet these demands?
There is more concern about sustainability and the health of our planet, which creates more demand for us to manufacture with as little environmental burden as possible. TouchAmerica has invested and is continuing to invest in equipment and processes that improve the environmental health of our factory. While this does not have a direct effect on our equipment from the customer or service provider’s perspective, we believe it has a very important effect on their wellbeing. As to new products, I prefer to talk about those after we have them ready for market.
According to your observation, what is the current situation of spas worldwide? How are they doing? What is the role of spa equipment in promoting the business development of a spa?
All reports I have seen indicate a growth in spas and spa goers. There is a steady increase in men attendance and in the aging population as they seek to preserve their health. Spa equipment is one of the foundational elements of a successful spa. It is important for a positive customer experience and to support new treatments and modalities. Spas are seeking to distinguish themselves from their competition and having equipment that support this gives them an advantage. It may be a lounge like our Legato that provides therapy through sound, or our Salt Capsule that proves Halotherapy for respiratory and skin heath. These are also products that are not service provider dependent, which we hear more about as it becomes more difficult to hire qualified service providers.