Andrew Dennis is the co-founder of Chicago's SpaCiety, an online booking service for people looking for local spas and salons, saving them the hassle of searching for them themselves (www.spaciety.com). One can go to the website, choose a service and a date to get it, choose a deal from a variety of spas around Chicagoland, book and pay for it.
DKU: Where did the idea of a spa-seeking and -booking business come from?
AD: Originally, we had an idea for booking golf tee times online. However, we learned there were already several players already in the golf industry. We found that the beauty industry was underserved, and we saw an opportunity to provide value. Our system is based on the concept behind Golfnow.com, Opentable.com and Expedia.com. We designed SpaCiety, received feedback from spa owners, went back to the drawing board and finally developed the final product. From an entrepreneur's perspective, the entire process has been incredibly rewarding.
DKU: How many spas and salons do you work with?
AD: SpaCiety is currently working with over 40 spas and salons and we are actively adding spas every week. If you would like to see a spa on our list, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DKU: I know spas are generally aimed at women, but have you had any men book through your website?
AD: It's true spas are generally aimed at women, but the secret is out: It's relaxing, rejuvenating and healthy to treat your body well. Men are discovering what they've been missing and joining women at the spa. Men have booked massages, facials and even mani/pedis through SpaCiety, but the women still outnumber them 10 to 1. SpaCiety does offer men's haircuts, and we are finalizing the set-up with Halo for Men. They have both a spa and salon specifically geared towards men.
DKU: If a local spa wants to be part of your network, how can they contact you?
AD: Spas can email us at email@example.com. We are currently signing up spas and salons in Chicago as well as the suburbs. Spas and salons in the suburbs will begin listing on the website this winter.
DKU: In these recessionary times, how is your business, and the spa business in general, doing?
AD: Things seem to be turning around to a degree for the spa industry. Over the past year, spas in general have seen some spikes in business, and I would expect this trend to continue. SpaCiety just launched in July, and we're already off to a fast start. People seen to have really taken to the idea of online booking. It's awesome to provide an online service that has spa customers so excited. The vast majority of appointments listed on our website are at a discount. We offer convenience and savings in one place.