Girls Day Out

Discussion
May 18, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Rita Greeley said what she is doing with her business is just a new approach to an activity that has been going on a very long time. That activity, says the owner of Wishes for Girls, a day spa for teens and tweens, is girls “playing dress up.”


According to a report in The Boston Globe, businesses such as Ms. Greeley’s have become an $11 billion a year industry.


Today, young girls celebrate birthday parties and other occasions by taking their friends to spas catering to consumers just like them.


Ms. Greeley’s shop is designed specifically for her customers. One room called “Little Darlings” is set up to care for girls between four and eight. The store also has rooms for tweens and one for older high-school aged kids.


Each room, she said, is “supposed to look like the ultimate girl’s fantasy bedroom.”


Teens and college-age girls made up about 10 percent of spa sales in the Boston areas 10 years ago, according to the report. Today, that figure stands at about 33 percent.


Lisa Hills, spa director at Beaucage in Boston, said it’s not unusual for younger clients to come in and spend $400 for a variety of services.


Gina Gonnella, manager at the Grettacole Day Spa and Salon, said her business has seen a definite increase in the number of high schoolers spending hundreds for services such as pedicures and hair colorings.


What is Ms. Gonnella’s assessment of her younger clientele?


“This generation is spoiled,” she said. “And to be honest with you, some of the kids who come in really are brats.”


Moderator’s Comment: What immediate consumer insights can other retailers gain from the growing popularity of day spas targeted to girls from four through
college-age? What does current behavior suggest about what types of consumers these girls will become when they reach adulthood?

George Anderson – Moderator

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7 Comments on "Girls Day Out"


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Al McClain
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Al McClain
14 years 9 months ago

This is yet another example of the decline of the middle class as population segment. Those with money to burn can spend it on day spas for kids, pets, etc. while the lower class is thinking of trading from Wal-Mart to dollar stores, or from dollar stores to thrift shops. The bad place for retailers continues to be the undifferentiated middle.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
14 years 9 months ago
What kind of consumers will these girls be as adults? Greedy ones who have no idea of what anything is worth and demand instant gratification. Women who don’t see a correlation between earnings and buying power. If they are being raised by parents who encourage them to be pampered by professionals rather than painting their own and their friends’ nails or doing each other’s hair or make up or any of the things that girls have done together since the beginning of time, then they are not likely to have any genuine understanding of value. Or of the real world where people have to work and can only spend as much as they are paid. Much as we parents love to do things for our kids and spoil them as much as we can, even those with enough disposable income to afford such luxuries should stop and think about the lessons they are teaching their daughters. I think Odonna is stretching a point to defend spas on the basis that they contribute to health and… Read more »
Michael L. Howatt
Guest
Michael L. Howatt
14 years 9 months ago

The long term effect will be very noticeable when the only job these spoiled brats can get later in life is working at the spa.

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
14 years 9 months ago

Start beefing up your HBC aisles with spa-like products that can be used by women between business. And by the way, spa visits by men are on the rise as well. Another new niche to explore.

Odonna Mathews
Guest
Odonna Mathews
14 years 9 months ago
The trend toward spas relates somewhat to self-indulgence, but also to health and overall well being. Taking care of yourself on the outside and inside is important and the rise of spas toward a wider audience is one example of this trend. Consumers like to go to spas to relax and feel better. I recently observed a group of teenage girls getting their nails done before a birthday sleepover. I have to say this was a better use of their time than just watching TV or a movie, or “getting into trouble” as teens are sometimes prone to do. And I admit that I recently took my daughter and her friend for a manicure as a birthday present, and they absolutely loved it. Why not extend the experience to other retail settings (i.e. supermarkets, department stores housewares section, cooking oriented stores etc.) to include a “massage in a chair” where consumers pay by the minute, or cooking classes featuring quick, convenient and healthy meals for teens, tweens, and their parents? Why couldn’t spas expand their… Read more »
Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
14 years 9 months ago
I don’t think Rome ever quite took things this far. When we as a society become this self absorbed, then we don’t have much of a future. Nations crumble because their citizens become so self absorbed that they will no longer consider the greater good. I am afraid this “symptom” may be beyond cure. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the provision of this service! I am just overwhelmed by the fact that people will indulge their children to this extent. In my opinion, this is an activity that benefits no one except the provider. A more creative experience would have been a project volunteering to help someone. Volunteer at a hospital – do anything, but do something for someone else! Most of these kids have never earned anything and are the recipients of being “bought off” by parents who are often guilty of contributing little to anything but their own wants. When everyone is a prince or a princess who will do the thinking, who will do the work?
Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Odonna Mathews’ theme may help retailer profits. Services often have higher margins than merchandise, and higher sales tickets, too. There’s a heck of a lot of underutilized retail space that could be used for services. One great thing about services: they can’t be delivered online so the balance is tilted in favor of bricks and mortar retailers. Of course, the marketing could be online.

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