High quality and aesthetically pleasing robes and linen should be a priority in any spa or clinic conscious of its reputation as an elite service provider. Jenni Gilbert explains.
The spa and clinic experience transports clients from their everyday lives into a zone of “me time”, often involving relaxation and luxury. They pay good money for the privilege, so high quality robes and work table linen beckon them into “the zone”, preparing them for treatments and transformation.
Imagine if you went to a prestige hotel to find bed linen that was worn and discoloured, or bathrobes well past their use-by date. You would naturally be disappointed – more to the point, disgusted. These are scene-setting, emotive products for the hotel market, just as they are for the spa and clinic industry. They must look good and meet guests’ expectations – crisp, clean, high-standard sheets and soft, fluffy robes.And they must be of durable textiles that continue to look and feel good through multiple wash cycles, as it makes no economic sense to a business to have fabulous-looking products that wear thin, literally, after a short time.
Also, while dark or coloured robes may mask the oils and other products used in treatments, these can represent a challenge for commercial laundries as there may be a risk of colour loss if they are not washed in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. As a result, many spas and clinics choose white robes that will consistently look and feel good throughout a life cycle that involves perhaps dozens of washes in a commercial laundry environment.
Melbourne-based Rose St Spa and Beauty Apparel supplies customised uniforms and robes to the beauty, medi and hospitality sector.
“As a designer, my business partner Jeannette [Hose] wants to create truly sumptuous, luxurious robes while. With my corporate background in textiles, I want high performance and practicality,” says Ben Kaminsky, of Rose St.
“This collaboration results in us achieving all these qualities, so in the short time our robe collection has been available we have had tremendous feedback.
“Despite our different backgrounds and strengths, Jeannette and I share very two important beliefs. There must be attention to detail in every aspect of garment production, from design to the final finished product – no cutting corners. Above all, we must listen to our customers’ unique requirements for the types of businesses that they operate.”
TURN LOSS INTO PROFIT
While there’s no way to guarantee guests won’t “souvenir” their robe after a spa visit, there are ways to minimise it. Clever notices in and around locker rooms can remind clients to return robes at the end of their visit, subtly making them aware of the cost. This will usually make people think twice. However, when clients fall in love with your robes, why not turn their desire for spa wear into a retail opportunity and boost your profit margins?
Stock retail versions of those used in-spa with more variations in size and style upgrades, such as pockets and a spa logo included. Provide special marketing tools and signage in treatment rooms or locker areas to direct clients to the retail boutique. If your spa has done its job well and thoroughly enrobed clients in the lap of luxury, you’ll find them eager to prolong this bliss. So make it an easy, guilt-free and alluring option to indulge in a robe from your retail boutique.
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS
Customised robes require an individualised approach to care and cleaning, so rely on the advice of the manufacturers who created them. Different materials and blends may have different laundry instructions, and these should be passed along to the spa or clinic client. An aspect that is vital is the selection of the appropriate detergent. Robes are usually worn for a limited amount of time, mostly by just-showered clients, so benefit from a gentler detergent.
“We clean our robes in-house with a phosphate-free detergent,” says Karen Ray, spa director at Spa Solage in Calistoga, California, who also cautions against using bleach.
“Just because it’s white, you should not use chlorine bleach. The chlorine molecule doesn’t get rinsed out of the fabric, and when it heats up in the dryer, it pops, creating pin holes.”
Whether they’re being washed in-house or at a commercial laundry, it’s important to ensure that towels, sheets and robes aren’t thrown in together, all receiving the same detergent and wash cycle. Oils and stains in towels and sheets require stronger detergents and different water temperatures to remove.
Drying is another key issue. For instance, if a garment says “dry at 55 degrees C” but you discover that the laundry is actually drying at 120 degrees, it will fall apart. Or at least look dreadful and wear out rapidly. When it comes to devising a cleaning strategy, there is strength in numbers.
Affiliated resorts, spas and clinics in close proximity can co-ordinate textile cleaning services as a blend of in-house and commercial laundry for cost-effectiveness. Before and after laundering, have robes and linens checked to ensure there are no tears or holes. “Retire” them when they look faded or the damage cannot be repaired without looking shabby.