06/11/2007 - 22:00

Case study: Five-star focus at Le Beau day spas

06/11/2007 - 22:00

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Since drifting into the beauty industry in her late teens, Le Beau Skin and Body Management founder Karen Skewes has been a trailblazer in the local day spa industry.

Since drifting into the beauty industry in her late teens, Le Beau Skin and Body Management founder Karen Skewes has been a trailblazer in the local day spa industry.

Opening her first salon at the age of 21 with just a room, a table and 15 square metres of space, Ms Skewes now runs Le Beau Day Spa, which had revenue of $2 million last financial year.

Having worked her way from the ground up, raising two children along the way, Ms Skewes now teaches other salon owners how to grow their businesses, publishing her processes and procedures manual and holding seminars across the country.

But the path to success was not without its challenges.

Shortly after moving into a second salon, in Kardinya Park Shopping Centre in 1997, Ms Skewes prepared to upgrade to a new 69sq m site in the same centre.

But almost six weeks after opening the new salon, she suffered a potentially life threatening brain haematoma, which left her leg temporarily paralysed.

While she made a full recovery following a successful operation, the experience had a profound effect on her outlook towards her professional and personal life.

Throwing herself straight back into work only a week out of hospital, Ms Skewes was even more determined to achieve her goals, sooner rather than later.

“It made me want to do more, faster. Money is not the driver in my business, it’s more about what challenges can I overcome and beat,” she told WA Business News.

In 2004, Ms Skewes bought a 400sq m former oriental supermarket in Kardinya, transforming it to a five-star day spa following nine months of extensive renovations. Her first son was born the day renovations began.

Since opening in November 2004, Ms Skewes has stopped working with clients, choosing to focus on growing the business.

She said that, while she faced a number of challenges in building up her facility and brand to a five-star standard, the real challenge was maintaining that high standard as the business grew.

“All the steps I went through were important to being where I am today. I know what works because I’ve seen it,” Ms Skewes said.

Having set policies and procedures in place, developed over years in the industry, she created a blueprint for how the day spa operates.

In-house promotions and up-selling are central to company’s marketing plan, as is a strong, highly specialised and experienced team.

“When people walk through the door they need to be constantly ‘wowed’ the entire time,” Ms Skewes told WA Business News.

Ms Skewes is currently working on her second large-scale day spa venture, renovating a 1,000sq m day spa at the former Rose Hotel in North Fremantle, which she bought some months ago.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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