An interview with Ms. Lyn Huang, Founder
of BeiYang Import & Export (Shanghai) Co., Ltd
After the Covid-19 outbreak, the spa industry has undergone a difficult time. The spa and tourism industries in China and even in the whole world have experienced a real economic crisis of zero sales.
Many hotel spas and day spas have adjusted their commercial plan trying to tide over the epidemic. But at present, no one knows if such adjustments really work. Staff are unable to get salaries. Facing expensive rent, day spas have to reorganize, reduce staff and even close down.
The spa industry aims to promote “health”. But during the outbreak, any activity that involves close contact is deemed as “high risk”. So even if some spas are able to reopen, they are limited by many factors. For example, guest numbers should be limited. Staff safety should be considered. Nevertheless, a very positive side is that many spa people are trying their best to share with the public effective ways to enhance immunity and organize online activities to interact with each other.
Usually before treatments, spa staff will first ask guests to fill in a consultation form in order to understand their body condition. But in China, this part very often just exists in name only. Now, during this special period, before entering the spa, therapists and guests alike should firstly show their “health code” which shows whether they have close contact with people from epidemic-affected areas or suspected cases. Afterwards, everyone’s temperature should be measured. It is known that in the Shanghai hospitality industry alone, 20% of guests are refused to enter for they are considered to have potential risk.
“We can regard the outbreak as a time for ‘selecting the superior and eliminating the inferior’, and only the truly excellent can remains” said Ms. Lyn Huang, a senior spa industry figure. She founded BeiYang Import & Export (Shanghai) Co., Ltd as U.K. Ellisons’ subsidiary in China, is a Partner of BAILEY CREATIVE consulting company and once worked for the German magazine The Most Wanted GMBH and U.K. Ellisons as brand designer and management director. SpaChina interviewed Lyn.
What social contribution have you made during the coronavirus outbreak?
BeiYang Import & Export (Shanghai) has donated a lot of epidemic prevention products including respirators and masks to overseas cooperative brands. We also work together with several partners in China to donate goods and materials to Africa, the Philippines and Japan. On the last working day after the U.K. government required business suspension, our headquarters in Ellisons U.K. was busy donating all epidemic goods in stock to the hospitals nearby.
As we all know, spa is a humanistic industry. As a member, I want to help those who are in need and pass on positive energy to more people so that all of us can gain more strength to face the challenge.
What specific adjustments and changes have you made in business and development this year due to the epidemic?
Firstly, we improved our operating system to interact with customers more effectively and save the time cost on both sides. Meanwhile, we enhanced the promotion of immunity treatments such as Lava Shells. Ishihara Yuumi M.D., the famous Japanese health expert mentioned in his book Temperature Determines Health that once the body’s temperature increases 1oC, immunity increases 30%. Also, when the temperature decreases, the immunity weakens. Thermal therapy is able to enhance immunity by infusing heat into the body and stimulating blood circulation and lymphatic detox. Our signature Lava Shells experience keep the body temperature at a comparatively high level for long after normal spa treatments. It lets heat stay at the skin surface, and transfers the heat into the body’s core areas.
Apart from Lava Shells, we have an array of products that combine the elements of energy, healing and lifestyles, which perfectly echo spa’s essence. Among them, I highly recommend Nature’s Design series from Switzerland which is known for essential oil and fragrance diffuser products. Both the products’ concept and design elements such as “plastic-free”, “flower of life”, “golden ratio”, “seven chakras”, “crystal stone”, and “change the structure of water crystal” are all good inspiration for a spa experience.
During the epidemic period, we give even more priority to products’ safety, cleanliness and effects.
We all say that Shanghai BeiYang is a treasure chest. What kind of hardware and software level should a spa achieve in your vision?
Founded in 1930, Ellisons U.K has 90 years’ history. In Europe, it is indeed a treasure chest. It offers all the products that a spa needs, and also has its own GMP certified factory and a training school at which professional therapists are trained for the industry.
I introduced Ellisons to China and named it BeiYang Shanghai with a vision of making it a treasure chest in China just as Ellisons in Europe. From this vision, our company’s concept was born – International Knowledge, Local Flavor. BeiYang strives to become an expert team in the industry that is able to provide personized spa products and services according to the clients’ individual requests.
In terms of hardware, a good spa needs to be able to provide a clean and safe environment and products while in terms of software, it needs to have expert knowledge, skills, well-trained staff and characteristic experience.
In addition to spa supplies, what other business scope have you been involved in recently?
We are also involved in spa consulting. We partner with hotels to launch nail & eyelash beauty salons in the spa. Nail beauty product is a necessary part of spa. After founding BeiYang in Shanghai, I invested a nail polish brand called colormad. Last year, we opened Ms Bubbles nail beauty salon in partnership with Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. We designed the interior based on the style of the hotel’s spa and recruited professional technicians to provide expert services. We are seeking other opportunities to cooperate with spas which share a similar vision with our company.
What are the guidelines and considerations for BeiYang when designing new products?
BeiYang is a down-to-earth enterprise. We have only one principal guideline: the needs of the market. But we have several considerations: scientific, safe and effective.
Take Lava Shells for instance. They are the first self-heating wellness massage tool in the world. The inventor, with an MIT background, originally developed the product range for his wife and three daughters who love spa a lot. So in his vision, the products must be safe, effective and cause no cross infection. Lava Shells are a combination of natural shell and argil, with beautiful hand-painted designs on the shell surface. The products magically heat or cool from within by adding water to the proprietary blend of natural minerals for a sumptuous thermal massage that lasts 60 minutes. Designed with a non-porous surface for quick and secure sanitation, Lava Shells guarantee delightful client-exclusive treatments every time. All product materials are 100% natural and biodegradable. Lava Shells are portable, lightweight and safe for remote treatments outside the spa (poolside, cabana or in suite, etc.) and their reusable shell with mineral energy makes them sustainable, gentle and kind to the earth.
What kind of Lava Shells Treatments have you developed?
Lava Shells allow spa and salon clients to safely enjoy the time-honored benefits of thermal wellness treatments to melt away stress, relax muscles, improve blood circulation and detoxify the body and help boost the client’s immune system. The radiant mineral energy of Lava Shells induces relaxation and wellbeing while the heat increases nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood flow through vasodilation to trigger the body’s natural healing systems from within.
Lava Shells can replace unsanitary and cumbersome hot stone equipment for sanitary heated massage and many distinct protocols are available to maximize the effectiveness of virtually every massage modality including, Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Trigger Point, Reflexology, Sports Massage, Deep Tissue, etc. We offer training both in person and online with certification to support our spa partners and their therapists, technicians and employees.
What is the feedback from Europe and China’s markets to Lava Shells respectively?
Lava Shells are very popular among guests in luxury resorts in Europe. They can be used throughout the year and are always in demand. The main materials of Lava Shells are natural shells sourced from the Philippines. So this program economically helps the poor local islanders.
In mainland China, Lava Shells mainly target the high-end hotel spa market. Five-star hotels including Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental have partnered with us and launched Lava Shells programs. We exclusive tailored Lava Shells Ocean Escape treatment for the Ritz-Carlton hotel which is highly praised by the guests. We also created bespoke Lava Shells program for Imperial Hot Spring to echo their hot spring features.