Editor's comment: membership models, and speaking up for therapists

Spa membership schemes have taken off in recent years, with UK businesses beginning to adopt the models made popular by US massage subscription services, often extending them to comprise a broad range of treatments.

While membership models can be an excellent way for salons to achieve a guaranteed base income every month and boost client loyalty, they’re not without their challenges. Usually centred around discounting, they can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line. The admin of managing benefits and dealing with issues such as cancelled direct debits should also not be underestimated. We explore the opportunities and challenges of such schemes in the March issue and speak to three businesses that are making them work in practice.

Working in the health and beauty industry can sometimes feel like being a member of a club. As therapists often work in isolation or in small teams and managers rarely have the benefit of large-company processes, networking is more important in this industry than most.

And it’s been heartening to see beauty professionals speak out to defend the rights of their peers and the reputation of the wider industry against some scathing reviews this month. The issue of who should be allowed to inject fillers has been rumbling on for years, but there are new campaigns to prevent beauty therapists from doing so.

While opinions are split on whether it’s safe to inject fillers without the medical training to handle any serious complications, the attitude that nobody in the beauty industry should be permitted to input into discussions on the matter is frankly patronising. As are the accompanying accusations from some members of the medical profession that all beauty therapists currently carrying out these procedures are poorly trained and unconcerned with client safety.

Whether or not we ever reach an agreement on the parameters of who can perform this aesthetic treatment, an inclusive discussion where all interested parties are given a chance to state their case, is surely the way to move forward.