Essential oil OEM will give spas multiple benefits in the long term. By Gary Chen
Essential oil massage has become a part and parcel of the spa experience today. More and more spas are beginning to do their own essential oil OEM.
Self-run spas which receive more than 60 guests per day on average are suggested to do OEM. There are three main reasons. One, to do OEM will help spas control and save cost in the long term. Secondly, with OEM, spas are able to keep the product stability and avoid problems such as supply shortage, dealership expiration, altered formulas by the suppliers, and safety issues due to lack of product quality test by the suppliers. Thirdly, spas can have their own characteristic products through OEM. Product differentiation and uniqueness are crucial if one wants to win in the midst of fierce market competition.
Spas with a mature franchising system should immediately start their OEM procedures. For such spas, it is of great importance to ensure the operation, management, products and treatments and technique training at each franchised store to be kept in consistence. To have one’s own branded product can help a lot. The branded products may cover not only the products used in the treatments but also the products for sale which can bring the spa more profit.
The essential oil market has continued to grow and the product categories are increasingly diversified. However, due to attentional resources fragmentation, quicker information flow, wider and deeper market education and changed consumption habits, personalization, segmentation and diversification become the keywords in the essential oil consumption market and consumers pay greater attention to functions and ingredients when choosing the essential oils. For spas trying OEM the first time, it is suggested to do the OEM for more than 3 types of products so as to enrich the options of the consumers. Above all, the core aim of OEM is to let the spa have more customized products with diverse formulas so as to meet the different requirements of the customers.
OEM procedures for massage oil
To do OEM, spas should first decide the general direction based on the brand’s concept, image, positioning, development plan and the target consumer group. Then decide the formulas of the product after analyzing all the relevant data. At the same time, choose and test packaging materials and carry out visual design. Afterwards, prepare the documents required by the relevant departments and begin the sample tests before starting a massive production in the factory and finally the product delivery.
We normally divide the entire OEM process into two parts. The first part is from setting the general direction to the confirmation of formulas. The major work in this part is the product planning and design based on a market survey and clear brand planning. It usually takes two to three months. If the brand already had a clear direction beforehand, then the time can be shortened. However, brand planning is quite a time consuming yet necessary step. Spas can gather information from different aspects, including the information from the industry, or the experience from the factory. Afterwards, the spas will pass the confirmed concepts and plans to the factory for product sample development and tests. At this stage, it is very important to find the right factory that both understands the market and possesses excellent R&D power, which will largely shorten the time for sample development. If the spas can begin the packaging design at the same time, it will also save a lot of time. After the confirmation of formulas and design, then we move to the next part.
The second part is from document submission to product delivery. This part requires much meticulous work and takes one to two months. The work at this stage is mostly entrusted to the factory, including preparing documents for product testing, making outer packaging materials, realizing the formulas, manufacturing and canning the products, and testing and delivering the products.
Therefore, the entire OEM procedure takes at least 4 months. It is much recommended for the spas to do planning in advance, choose a good factory who understands the market well and also leave enough time for the OEM procedures.
What type of essential oil to choose
Currently, the top three functions of essential oil used at spas are: muscle relaxation, lymph detox, soothing for better sleep. The products of these three functions in total take up 70% of all essential oil products at spas. This clearly reflects the problems faced by modern consumers today: pressure from daily life, pressure from work and the impact of the change of climate and environment to the functions of the body.
It’s obvious that every spa should have these three types of essential oil products. Meanwhile, we can boldly predict the market trends in the future from three perspectives. For woman, since a faster living pace, diet change and environment stress will influence the qi-blood circulation, treatments to warm the womb and invigorate the blood circulation, and to regulate hormones and endocrine will be popular. For man, treatments to nourish kidney and qi and to enhance the energy will be sought after. Meanwhile, with the increasing health awareness and requirements for health offerings, there will be stronger trust and pursuit to TCM massage and balancing and healing products.
There are majorly two kinds of products that can help the spas make a profit. One is well-sold products with high gross profit, which are normally facial products. The other is well-sold high consumption products used in the treatments. We suggest spas who do OEM for the first time try well-sold high consumption products. According to our experience, to sooth for better sleep and to alleviate soreness and pains are two types of products sold best at spas. So to choose these two types of products for OEM development can help spas in cost management and improve the spas’ unique selling points. Meanwhile, spas need to actively gather the feedback from the customers during the process in order to adjust future product development plan accordingly.
The amount for the first OEM should depend on the product consumption situation in the past three to six months. There are two reasons. One, the time cost for OEM is high. A low amount will fail to give the advantages of OEM into full play. Secondly, when there isn’t enough feedback from the guests, spas will fail to make a big improvement for the future product development. Thirdly, volume production takes time and it may cause a short of stock.
Meanwhile, both for the sake of safety and functions, compound essential oil is usually a better option.
In terms of safety, since not all therapists are experts in blending essential oil, many risks remain when they are asked to blend the oil for the guests. For example, when it comes to irritating essential oil like those containing monoterpenketone, a slight error in the amount might result in skin irritation and burning sensation. To use compound essential oil blended by globally certified aroma therapists strictly according to the international standards can avoid such dangers and improve the service quality of the spa.
In terms of functions, with the permeability of vegetable oil, compound essential oil penetrates into the subcutaneous tissue more quickly, and the effect will be achieved more rapidly. Meanwhile, compound essential oil means compound functions. It can better meet the needs of the customers than pure essential oil does. Furthermore, compound essential oil has a more diverse aroma that pleases the senses.
How to tell the quality of the massage oil
The quality of massage oil can be assessed by their smell, texture and functions.
To have a natural smell is a must. People’s nose can tell much more stimulants than eyes and ears, at least one trillion kinds of smell. Artificial essence features usually a single and stiff smell which brings an obvious sense of “sharpness”. Especially when the concentration is too high, the strong smell will stimulate the brain to produce a direct rejection. Natural essential oil features a diverse, mellow and natural smell without any sense of edginess or sharpness, and can immediately improve the customers’ experience.
The texture of the essential oil is also very important. Ideal massage oil need to have a good ductility. It can protect the skin and won’t produce friction or cause discomfort while being applied during the massage. Guests just feel so smooth when the oil is massaged on their skin. Also, the essential oil should feature a high skin absorptivity. With the micromolecule medium of the cold pressed pure vegetable oil, the good essential oil is able to enter the microcirculatory system of the body and play its functions to the tissues and cells. Meanwhile, nature cold pressed vegetable oil contains rich vitamin and trace elements, as well as multiple unsaturated fatty acid similar to that of humans. So it is not only a massage medium, but also a perfect skincare product itself.
Finally, massage oil should be able to benefit both the body and mind. In the past, we always addressed the training of therapists on massage techniques so as to improve the customer experience. However, the result may be not as we had expected though we invested so much time and energy. Also, the turnover of therapists is an uncontrollable factor. To improve the functions of the products not only compensates for the imperfect massage techniques of the therapists, but also help establish the unique selling points of the spa. The functions of the products cannot be separated from the ingredients. Surely, natural plant essential oil and natural vegetable oil are basics for creating a quality massage oil, and a specialized aromatherapy formulator plays the key role. He must be very familiar with the tens of thousands of complicated chemical structures of the ingredients inside the essential oil and vegetable oil, as well as their interactions. He must also have the knowledge of smells and rich clinical application experience on how essential oil can impact people physically and mentally. Only such an expert will be able to create an essential oil product with multiple aroma layers and smooth touch on the skin, and which can benefit the body and mind, as well as meet the needs of the market.
Why should one have its own branded massage oil
There are many benefits for spas to have their own essential oil brand. If the spa adopts a franchising mode, to do OEM and use its own branded essential oil throughout all the outlets can guarantee an effective management in products, treatments and training, as well as a consistency in services and product quality so as to build a unified brand image in the market.
After the customers enter the spa, the entire spa journey of the guest is also a perfect marketing chance for the spa, not necessarily the direct sales. From the first impression to the spa, the massage quality, to the products used in the treatment, guests are scoring the spa in their heart all the time. So if a brand name can be involved in the process and come into their ears repeatedly, it will surely help enhance the spa’s brand awareness among the customers.
Also, in terms of cost control, to do OEM may give spas some pressure on the quantity at the beginning, but overall, the cost will decrease compared with purchasing from other brands. The profits are obvious in the long run. Moreover, if you buy from other brands, you are subject to price changes, and this can be avoided if you have your own product brands. In other words, you can better control the product supply, quality, cost and the profit.
To sum up, to create one’s own product brand is crucial for the long-term business development of the spa.