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Archive for April, 2011

Raw Material Costs on the Rise for the Massage and Spa Industry

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Raw Material Costs on the Rise

April 21, 2011

By Angie Patrick

Some might say, “So What, Angie? I am not a manufacturer, this will not impact me!”

Ahhh,… not so! It impacts everyone, even in places you weren’t expecting! Let me share with you a quick snapshot of some of the manufacturing landscape and how it might impact your bottom line.

Raw materials are the components purchased from all over the globe that enable manufacturers to create and produce the items we use everyday. It is a delicate balance that industry strikes when it comes to manufacturing goods while remaining competitively priced for the finished goods. In the last quarter, there have been some tell tale signs that some of the items commonly used in the Massage industry may become a bit more pricey, or worse yet, unavailable entirely. This can impact you and your practice in a few ways. Below are a couple of things you may begin to see in the marketplace.

The Argentinean Jojoba crops, which are a significant percentage of the world jojoba crops, were damaged by frost this year. Ordinarily, one might expect the plants to bounce back and thrive, albeit a bit later than usual. Unfortunately for us, the frost hit at a crucial time in the growth cycle of the plant, damaging it at the seed pod level. Once they sustained freeze damage, many of the soon-to-be-plants died. This loss was unrecoverable, and thus the price for Raw Jojoba Oil has skyrocketed. This has been reported to be a temporary situation, but it can likely impact product production nationwide.

Many massage lubricants depend on Jojoba, as it is a magnificent product for the skin, and a go-to ingredient for formulators. You may begin to see some goods temporarily discontinued, and for those remaining on the market, you could in fact see a slight price increase. This is the nature of business when you manufacture goods and depend on crops for your raw ingredients. My advice, buy jojoba now, especially if you love to use pure jojoba oil. Given the shelf life is years and years as long as it is stored properly, it is a good buy that will keep well.

Mother Nature impacts us in many ways and it extends to the world cotton supply as well. The cost of cottonhas been on a steady increase over the last three years, varying from $.40 cents per pound to over $1.89 for completely raw goods. How does this impact the Massage and Spa industry? ALL OVER! From the spa slippers, to the robes, towels, hand cloths, and above all, Massage Sheets! These items are all pricier now than ever before to manufacture, and I have watched the market creep up slowly in terms of price to the end user.

One market that we may potentially see increase in the coming quarters may be foam production. With the unrest in the Middle East, and oil prices moving the full gamut to even exceed $5.00 per gallon some experts predict, we can almost assuredly expect the costs of foam to rise. This is in portable massage tables, massage bolsters, massage chairs, massage stools, and more. A great alternative may be soy foam in some applications, thus reducing the dependency on petroleum as a raw product.

Which brings us to oil… Oil is fluctuating at the time of this post by 2-3 dollars a gallon day by day. This means increased prices for gasoline which impacts a mobile therapist in obvious ways, as your costs for fuel to run your business is going up. But it also impacts your shipping costs for anything your purchase as well. From the grocery store, to the big-box retailers, everyone is sustaining rising shipping costs. No one is immune to this cost increase, with added fuel surcharges being assessed with each shipment of goods to distribution centers and retail outlets, it is a cost that will in many cases be felt by the end user. With this in mind, you can save some money by planning your purchases biweekly and in greater bulk. This can reduce the usage of fuel, and the need for repeated deliveries.

The world is a series of interconnected happenings that singly may not seem to Amount to a hill of beans, but when you dig into the far reaching implications as well as examine how these implications could impact you personally, you begin to see the world as it is…A living and breathing thing we all depend on in ways we may never have even considered before.

Find more articles by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.

New Traditions at the American Massage Conference

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

New American Traditions
By Angie Patrick

Can you actually have a “new” tradition? Well, I guess they have to start somewhere, right? I mean, someone has to go first, and from there we build traditions. This is the same from Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe to shooting rockets off at the park on the 4th of July. Someone came up with that yummy recipe, and someone thought it would be fun to shoot fireworks to celebrate our independence. Soon enough, viola, a new tradition is born.

I believe we are seeing some new traditions being born in the massage industry right now, and I am so excited to be right in the middle of the fun. The American Massage Conference is well on the way to become a mainstay on the Massage and Wellness Landscape, and some of the traditions being set are equally as exciting.

The “Facebook” party is already legendary! Recognizing the growth and importance of Social Media in the development of the massage industry and in the way we interact with one another as a vital component of networking makes sense. Providing an opportunity for all these “virtual” friends to meet and connect at a national event is something that will definitely be a mainstay in our market. Ideas are born, connections made, business opportunities arise, and friends are made at this event, and this year it will be an even bigger celebration!

The First Annual Massage Job Fair is putting down roots at the Atlanta event on May 22, 2011. This will be a smaller forum of employers across the southeast as well as nationally looking to put therapists to work. This idea was born as a direct result of the status of the economy. Through education and product support as well as job placement, the American Massage Conference is created with the Therapist in mind. AMC is working to bring you the things that have value to you. And the Job fair is one more way we can help therapists canvass and circulate in the community.

The Student Day, “SMART FROM THE START”, is on May 22 and is geared towards students and recent graduates. This informative presentation is focused on providing tips and information that can help you launch a healthy and prosperous career as a Massage Therapist. Hear from industry professionals like David Kent, GuruKirn Khalsa, Lynda Solien Wolfe, Ryan Hoyme, the one and only MASSAGE NERD, and Ann Williams of the ABMP.  And as if the information were not enough, we will also be giving away nearly $4,000.00 in prizes to those in attendance, which makes your odds of winning something fabulous very high!

The TRADE SHOW HALL is jam packed with vendors who are ready to wheel and deal. This is indeed a buying show, and the deals will be tremendous. Anyone in the area should make it a point to get to this trade show floor to get samples and hands on demonstrations with the massage products you love, as well as gain access to 30 (YES I SAID 30) One Hour CEU Classes. All this for only $40!

The a la carte menu of educational opportunities from world class educators is nothing less than stellar. You can choose your own path of courses to fill your own individual educational niche. Whether you need a few hours or many, from Modalities to Business, there is something here for everyone. Some classes have sold out, so we are working to open more! If you are planning to come and have yet to make your arrangements, I would encourage you to do so. It is filling up nicely!

All in all, some really wonderful traditions are being created and all for the better of the massage community! Join us for the festivities in Atlanta Georgia, May 20-22, 2011 at the Holiday Inn Conference Center on Capitol Avenue. See you there!

To register for the American Massage Conference, click here.

Money Saving Tips for your Massage Business

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Money Saving Stuff
By Angie Patrick

It is a natural fact. If you are in business, you use stuff. To use stuff, you must purchase the stuff you use from someplace. You have to pay for the stuff you get from someplace with some method of payment. And the cost of the stuff you buy may vary for different people based on how much stuff you buy at once, and how you pay for the stuff you order.

So how do you save money on or gain benefit from the stuff you have to buy? I mean, isn’t it just as simple as picking up the phone and buying? Well, in actuality, it can be just that simple. But if you take a moment to evaluate your needs, your repetitive purchases, your minimum stock levels, and how you pay for items, it really CAN save you money in the long run. Here are a few things to consider when working to reduce the cost of stuff overall.

1: Take a look at your usage of a product. If you feel like you are always running low, or have to repeatedly purchase this item more than once a month, then it may serve you well to order bulk. When you order bulk, you can often ask for additional discounts. If you order bulk, try to learn what the case quantity is as well, because if you buy in case quantity, you may also be able to reduce breakage and reduce shipping costs.

2: How do you buy your massage goods? Do you buy online? Do you call in an order? If you are a frequent purchaser or have multiple locations, you may wish to inquire whether your supplier has a Corporate Sales program which can sometimes provide deeper discounts as opposed to purchasing your massage goods online.

3: What payment method do you use to pay for your massage goods? Consider opening a credit card for the sole purpose of managing your massage business expenses. It is far easier to write one check a month to pay a balance on a card rather than sit and spend untold hours paying bills and keeping records. Credit Card Companies keep records for you, and before you incur interest, pay the balance in full each month.

4: Select a credit card company that rewards you. Be it in Airline Miles, Points or Cash Back, find a way to parlay those business expenses into a spa day for you! American Express is wonderful for this purpose, and they allow you to use your points for EVERYTHING from gift cards < which are great employee or client gifts> to plane tickets which allow you discounted travel!

5: Save your packing slips. If you itemize at tax time, < as most businesses do> some items may be tax deductible. Your packing slips should be filed so you have them handy when you are ready to file taxes. Don’t be delayed by having to request copies from your supplier! This can sometimes take quite a while!

Making sure you have made adjustments to your purchasing programs to embrace these tips can save you a pretty penny in the long run. It saves you time, effort and energy once you become accustomed to buying once a month and can significantly reduce your costs.
Happy Shopping!

Find more articles by Angie Patrick at Massage Today.