The rise of hybrid beauty businesses

There’s no doubt Covid-19 has changed the world, altering our outlooks on what we value as consumers and clients. Post-pandemic, quality of life and health and wellbeing priorities have taken over, with clients now searching for a one-stop wellness, relaxation and beauty destination. Enter hybrid salons.

The hybrid model combines aspects from spas, salons, aesthetic clinics, retail and more to provide multiple experiences in one setting. Combine a day spa with a beauty salon for a quick fix of self-care, or a nail bar, hair salon and make-up studio for night-out prep in one place. The combinations are endless and while the concept is not entirely new, a fresh set of businesses is now making its mark in industry, with some locations even offering bar and event spaces alongside the beauty treatments.

It’s not just clients whose values have changed. For businesses that struggled to survive the pandemic, bringing in more customers was, for many, the only way to stay afloat, which meant offering different treatments and becoming a hybrid location in order to appeal to a new client demographic. The intertwining of the different elements by implementing multiple aspects in salons also allows clients to fully relax and enjoy the benefits of multiple locations without having to travel between them, especially in more accessible urban settings.

Discover how three beauty businesses are using this hybrid approach by combining multiple industry elements to create a one-stop location that clients can’t keep away from.

Case Study: Kalon Parlour, London

Kalon Parlour

Describing Kalon Parlour as a bar, spa and an apothecary, founder Georgia Clarke had the vision of bringing all the beauty and wellness locations she had visited into one location to make it easier for clients.

Launched in October 2021, Kalon Parlour aims to provide a sanctuary in central London, operating at “the intersections of beauty, ethics and wellness”. Treatments range from lash extensions and male waxing, to advanced facials such as microneedling and light therapy.

The idea was born out of Clarke’s quest to tackle her own skin issues, after being prescribed Roaccutane. As she embarked on her own skincare journey, searching for natural alternatives to the medication she’d been taking, she discovered that a lot of the “premium” facials she tried weren’t providing what she considered a premium treatment.

“I found there was often no follow-up from therapists, or the treatment hadn’t provided the results promised, leaving me with dried out skin,” she says. “All my own feelings combined made me think I’d love to have somewhere clients can go to and be assured the services are good for their skin and their wellbeing.”

Eventually, she stepped away from her career in law to enter the beauty industry and provide a space for people who, like her, suffered from problem skin and insecurities.

“As a consumer, I had so many different places I’d go to for my treatments. I was travelling to Hampstead for my nails, Hendon for my lashes, and then into central London for facials. I thought it would be beneficial to offer all of those treatments under one roof – especially if you knew you were visiting somewhere that cares so much about the products and treatments being natural and good for you,” she says.

Kalon Parlour nail bar

Kalon Parlour facial

Lifestyle change

Kalon’s aim is to move beyond standard treatments and enhance visitors’ wellbeing and health. “We’re not a quick-fix place here, which is why it was so important for us to highlight the wellness and lifestyle aspect we provide.

Visiting Kalon is an experience – you don’t just walk in and sit at a nail bar. You can have a drink before your treatment, which helps to relax the body and gives you the opportunity to chat to your therapist before you go for your treatment.”

Taking time to get to know clients is important to Clarke, who has introduced a particularly detailed consultation form. “It allows clients to divulge a history of any medical issues or problems with their skin or body such as dryness or tense shoulders. With Kalon, it’s not a case of coming in, getting a treatment and leaving. All our treatments can be tailored to individual needs, and we always follow up as we recognise that for long-lasting results you need repeat treatments.”

For those whose skin conditions may need stronger treatment, Kalon is set to bring in a doctor who, in addition to providing aesthetic treatments, will be able to do a full consultation and prescribe products that wouldn’t normally be available in a salon.

As for the future, Clarke also plans to open a further UK location before taking Kalon international, hoping to spread the brand’s ethos of enhancing natural beauty worldwide.

Case Study: Cecily Day Spa, Berkhamstead

Cecily Day Spa nail area

Cecily Day Spa set out with the agenda of taking ordinary salon services and turning them into extraordinary experiences through its hybrid spa concept. The Professional Beauty Award-winning business decided to operate as a hybrid spa and beauty salon after owner Haylee Benton felt rushed attending traditional salons. “In a typical beauty salon, it’s a ‘you’re in and you’re out’ experience. You visit for an express service and there’s really not a VIP feel.”

The realisation led to Benton comparing her experiences in beauty salons and spas and questioning why she couldn’t combine the two. “With spas, there is a more relaxing environment but often you only experience that maybe once every year or two. I thought, why can’t I have this luxury every month? Why can’t I feel like I’m at a spa when I’m having one of my regular treatments?

“That’s what we’ve done with Cecily Day Spa – we sit in the middle because we’re not your run-of-the-mill beauty salon, but we’re also not a super luxurious day spa that’s inaccessible on a regular basis. We can provide you with that spa treat experience but on a monthly or weekly basis.”

Cecily Day Spa bar area

Cecily Day Spa treatment room

Social situation

The social element of the spa experience was another aspect Benton felt a lot of high-street salons were missing. “That’s what we really try to do here – put the social element into beauty. You can come with friends to get a manicure or pedicure and sit together, and we have a bar to make it more of an experience,” she says.

Beauty treatments, such as pedicures, are also elevated in the day spa, with Benton explaining, “Clients will be presented with a treatment menu so they can choose their foot salts, scrubs and so on. Everything has an option so they can have more input on their treatment and their therapist can make adjustments.”

The service element seen in spas is another aspect Benton was keen to implement at Cecily, with a concierge team to ensure clients are getting a five-star experience. “Our concierges are constantly working to keep the VIP experience alive – clients can even order from the bar through our app. It’s a level of service you get it spas but not usually in salons,” she adds.

Cecily Day Spa has reaped the benefits of its dual offer, going from strength to strength by offering clients what other salons can’t. “We’ve been able to create loyalty by offering the luxury on a more regular basis. Even for the beauty-based treatments, such as lashes, you get an elevated experience that makes you feel as though you’re in a spa. We even house two couples’ treatment rooms, which is unheard of in most beauty salons due to lack of space. That’s what keeps our clients coming back,” says Benton.

Case Study: Pure Spa, West Nile Street, Glasgow

Pure Spa West Nile St.

The Pure Spa chain showcases the hybrid model at its full potential. With 20 locations across England and Scotland ranging from standalone spas to hybrid spa and beauty salons located in hotels, gyms and on the high street, Pure Spa locations follow three models; single-element Pure Retreat, where the location is within a hotel; Pure Boutique, in gyms; and Pure Life, the hybrid day spa/ beauty salons.

One of Pure Spa’s larger Pure Life locations is its West Nile Street salon and spa in Glasgow, which operates across two floors, with the beauty salon downstairs and the spa upstairs. While some of the treatments overlap, the two sides offer different levels of service, as manager Kirsty Campbell explains:

“For something like a massage, we offer express treatments in the beauty salon – being based in the city centre we often have clients come in on their lunch break for a shorter treatment. If they were to go upstairs to the spa it would be a longer, more indulgent treatment.”

Having multiple treatments on offer in one location makes clients’ lives a lot easier, as they can fill all their beauty needs in a single visit, with Campbell explaining, “It’s important for everyone to take time to look after themselves and make themselves feel good – it’s much more convenient for clients to be able to have everything combined in a single visit rather than travelling between different salons for different treatments.”

One of the main benefits of introducing a hybrid model like Pure Spa’s is the opportunity to upsell clients from their regular beauty treatments to the more luxurious spa treatments, which often offer a better profit margin.

Pure Spa nail areaPure Spa retail area

Price structure

“When new clients come in and don’t know the price point or what to expect, we can explain the differences between the treatments in the salon and spa, and when we talk to them more about their needs or concerns, we can explain the benefits that the more targeted and indulgent treatments upstairs can have, which helps to upsell,” says Campbell.

“As for regular clients, they know and trust our treatments so are more likely to try our spa side when they want to treat themselves.” The spa aspect not only helps to upsell, but also brings in the type of client that would normally travel to spas for a luxury experience not usually offered in high street salon locations.

“The clients we see downstairs are normally the local office workers who pop in for more regular treatments or an express treatment. By adding the spa element, we appeal to a different clientele – the type of people we see in the spa are coming in for an experience or a treat for a special occasion.”

Pure Spa is fortunate to have a high number of returning clients to its West Nile Street location, with Campbell putting its success down to offering both beauty and spa treatments in an urban location, saying, “We offer extra touches that you can’t get by visiting a standalone beauty salon or spa, and that’s what brings our clients back. Most are repeat customers and regulars."