1. What is the story behind Planet Beach?
Planet Beach is the brain child of Stephen P. Smith, a former body builder and Mr. Mississippi 1986 who owned three Gold's Gyms before getting into the tanning business. He left Gold's to open his first tanning salon in New Orleans in 1995 under the name Electric Beach, then later changed the company name to Planet Beach to evoke the get-away-from-it-all experience.
Steve asked me to be his business partner along with Richard Juka, and we began franchising the next year. I was enthusiastically leery. However, was ready for the challenge. We added spa-style treatments in 2005 to enable clients to handle their entire skincare regime in one location.
I currently serve as the Sr. Vice President of Sales; I am a partner in the company and own a Planet Beach franchise right outside the New Orleans area. I am married to my husband, Jerome, and we have one daughter, Victoria, age 10.
2. Do you think the contempo spa concept is growing?
Definitely! We are bringing the spa concept to people who may not have the time or disposable income to visit the traditional day spa. This is a costly and time conscious way to pamper oneself, such as a working mother. The idea was to curiously marry the UV therapy with spa equipment, yet continue to offer services in a private room without the need for an attendant. Thereby, Planet Beach would create the hybrid "Contempo Spa" industry. The result of the conversion process has been the creation of an uncontested market space. The financial outcome has been spectacular. In the very first quarter of the conversion, the existing franchise locations that converted to "Contempo Spa" experienced a 47% average same store sales increase from the previous year.
Planet Beach has created an entirely new industry, and seen tremendous success with it.
3. What makes Planet Beach a great franchising opportunity for would be
70 percent of our current customer base is women and the majority of our franchise locations are operated by women. In addition, the corporate office is about 65 percent female. There is definitely an empowerment of females within our company. Planet Beach has put in the hard work, done the preparation, and learned what it takes to be successful, which saves our franchisees the work that all new business owners are normally faced with. Planet Beach provides the ultimate in skin care, in a non-invasive boutique environment. Women today get so bogged down with life. Planet Beach recognizes that women want to have a career and a family, while taking time out for themselves. Our franchise opportunity allows for all of these.
4. Do you believe that women can have both a successful career and family life?
Yes, I believe women can find a work-life balance, having a successful career while raising a family. I have experienced this first hand. My Planet Beach location is consistently in the Top 10 out of over 350 locations worldwide, and I also work as VP of Sales to successfully continue to grow Planet Beach.
5. What is your own experience in being a work at home mom? Is it more rewarding?
Since I work in the corporate environment, I am essentially a working mom. Planet Beach does still provide to me the ability to balance my family life, and I am able to attend all of my daughter's events and other family activities. It is very rewarding to be part of such a great company while being able to include family at the same time. We are very family oriented at Planet Beach.
6. What do your franchisees say about Planet Beach?
Our franchisees believe Planet Beach is an innovative company that is great to be part of-a completely unique business model. They love being part of a successful, growing company. It's nice to own your own business but not be in business alone - it's business for yourself, but not by yourself.
7. Describe your ideal franchisee.
We seek franchisees that are internally motivated, driven and passionate in life. We look for goal oriented individuals, who can dedicate time to their business while also managing time for their family. Planet Beach is a family, and we recognize the importance of a work-life balance. These individuals truly understand working hard and playing hard, while enjoying the freedom and empowerment that accompanies owning a Planet Beach.
8. Any words of wisdom to moms venturing out into business?
It's a very smart move! They should really take advantage of the opportunity to shape their family's destiny through owning their own business. It provides flexibility for a career mom; and as a Planet Beach franchisee, there is a proven business model with resources at your fingertips. You don't have to start from scratch. 8 out of 10 new businesses fail, but 9 out of 10 franchises succeed.