Retail Management for Spas | Chapter 6 | Introduction

At the Seasons Spa …

Jazmine and the Seasons Spa are avid participants in the Jelly Bean League. They meet monthly to compete against other spa retail staffs.

What is the Jelly Bean League? It is a league where participants transport jelly beans across the room in a spoon and deposit them into a jar. It is played with two teams racing against each other to get as many jelly beans in their jar as they can in a limited amount of time.

In the Jelly Bean League, six employees are randomly selected for play from the spa retail staff. At the end of the race, the beans are counted and the highest number of jelly beans is converted to dollars and awarded to the spa, with 10 percent of that amount to be divided among the members of the winning team. The only catch is that they must apply the same style of management and teamwork that they use on their retail selling floor to compete in the Jelly Bean Race.

In a typical game of the Jelly Bean League, in round one, two teams are slated for competition. The newcomers from Team A—MegaSpa, are paired against the defending champions Team B—The Seasons Spa. Team A shows up on the playing floor only moments before play begins. Some of the team members grab a quick snack or cigarette break before they start. They are caught a bit off guard as the whistle blows signaling the start of the contest. Since none of the team members had previously played Jelly Bean, and no one had read even one of several available tutorials on how to strategize, they were unaware that they were responsible for supplying their own spoons. Just when they thought they might have to forfeit play, one of the team members remembered that she had a spoon. She had planned to eat her yogurt with it but, in an act of selflessness, she volunteered it for use. The spoon, although small and plastic, allowed them to play; and so, one by one, they began the transport of the brightly colored beans.

On the other side of the room a different scenario has been unfolding. Jazmine is a natural and passionate “Jelly Beaner” as are most of her staffers, who all showed up early for competition, in their nicely pressed uniforms. They conducted a brief practice drill and then they took a moment to assess the playing floor. They cleared the area of any debris that might impede their progress toward the jar, they adjusted the lights to make sure their area was well lit, and then all team members pulled out their high-capacity, competition spoons. Having consulted numerous texts on optimal Jelly Bean play, this team knew that there were no restrictions on how many team members could have spoons. Furthermore, Jazmine had devised a strategy to rotate the patterns of movement across the room so that the flow of beans could progress, uninterrupted, toward the jar. Since each team member had a spoon, Jazmine had also calculated that if they spooned beans continuously from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rotating players out for regulation breaks, of course; and, if each member increased their spooning capacity by only one percent, that they would exceed their record for the previous year by 900 beans! If they met that target, she had promised a substantial bonus, on top of their game winnings.

Jazmine had also taken the precaution to request that the league order additional beans, so that there was no chance of the supply running out while there was spooning time remaining on the clock. As the whistle blew, Jazmine’s team worked the floor like pros; their precise and efficient formations swirled like the cogs of a Swiss watch.

Looking in on Team A—MegaSpa, the movement was not so graceful. The playing surface was littered with beans that never made it to the jar. Since no one bothered to pick them up, the players’ shoes became sticky and made them trip, spilling even more beans in their path. There were also a couple of substantial delays when the team members forgot to replenish the bean source from which the beans are taken. When breaks were taken, team members rotated out in groups of two and sometimes three, and oĞen did not return at the proper time to resume play. It was rumored that this was their way of protesting against the spa’s policy of giving only a 1 percent portion of the prize money to the team members, should they pull off a win.

Throughout the day, Team B took breaks too but, unlike Team A, they adhered to Jazmine’s schedule. In fact, they often rotated back in earlier than scheduled rather than lose out on the chance to increase what was looking like an inevitable bonus. Her periodic calculations indicated that her team consistently stayed on target to meet their hourly goals. To make the day more interesting, Jazmine intermittently instituted “lightning cycles” where team members could qualify for prizes even if they did not win the competition overall. But, win they did, and in a big way. Team B walked away with a record setting accumulation of 66,249 beans, which translated to an individual bonus of $1,104.15 per person.

As outrageous as this analogy is, it illustrates pretty accurately the contrasting approaches that can be seen in spa retailing. Every detail and opportunity that contributes to “bringing home the beans” can be either be ignored or fostered; and, as was the case with the fictitious Jelly Bean Race, the results are predictably reflective of those decisions. Just as it took a combined and diligent effort of the team leader and the team members to fill the jar, so too will the success of a spa retail venture be based on the synergistic efforts of management and staff.


The core components that defined the winning team, and would, likewise, define a successful retail team, break down into these categories:

  • Preparation and planning
  • Experience and/or retail skill development
  • Compensation and motivation
  • Core mission and goals


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