(last updated July 2019)
What has been happening in the beauty therapy sector
The number of different outlets providing beauty treatments has grown considerably over the last decade as consumers have become more and more conscious of the way they look.
In recent years there has been:
- an increase in the number of financially independent women
- growth in the number of outlets such as hotels, health centres, gyms and department stores offering beauty treatments
- a move towards younger women and men having beauty treatments
- a huge increase in the number of people posting selfies on social media
- a continuing emphasis on remaining fit and healthy and on taking care of your body and face
- growth in the number of people opting for cosmetic surgery and for procedures such as Botox or collagen injections and other injectable fillers
- an increase in the number of men willing to spend money on beauty treatments and products - the High Street has seen the emergence of many male grooming salons
All this has resulted in a steady increase in demand for the beauty therapist's services. Although the long-running economic downturn prompted many people to cut back on the amount they spent on non-essentials and luxuries, customers chose cheaper treatments and had them less frequently rather than giving them up altogether. Businesses like nail bars enjoyed strong demand for manicures, pedicures and nail art. Although the economy has now recovered, consumers are still very price sensitive and typical salon prices have remained keen. The good news is that customers are having treatments more often, so overall the average customer spend has grown. It's still a very competitive market and it's becoming harder for salons to retain customers because online discount sites and social media make it easy for people to find cheap deals on beauty treatments.
Bear in mind that recent legislation has banned under 18-year olds from using sunbeds. In some parts of the country unstaffed coin-operated tanning salons are also banned. The government has also supported proposals to increase the regulation of therapists offering treatments like Botox and laser hair removal.
Be aware that lots of people are attracted to a career working as a beauty therapist, and you may find that there is a lot of competition. If you plan to operate from a salon there is always the danger that local mobile therapists with lower overheads will undercut you. You will have to decide whether there will be sufficient demand in your area for the services you plan to provide.
Keeping up to date with the beauty therapy sector
Joining a trade association is an excellent way of keeping up with developments in your industry.
The Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists represents businesses and individuals working in the beauty sector. The Guild publishes a monthly journal, the Guild Gazette which is also available online. Contact the Guild at Guild House, 320 Burton Road, Derby DE23 6AF - or visit their website for more information.
The Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) is a non-profit organisation that represents a range of professional therapists, including health and beauty specialists. The FHT website has an online catalogue selling a range of therapy products. For more information visit the FHT website.
You can get a lot of useful information by visiting a trade show for the beauty industry. You will be able to meet manufacturers and suppliers, plan your future stock purchasing and keep abreast of developments in the trade. The Exhibitions website includes details of trade shows that may be of interest to you.
Professional Beauty journal is published by Trades Exhibitions Ltd and you can subscribe online on the Professional Beauty website. The website also contains beauty industry news and features to keep you up-to-date with what has been happening.