Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

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By Jack Tang of Urban 

 There’s a question we ask ourselves a lot at Urban: as our business of providing wellness treatments at home grows, how does it fit in with the spa industry, a sector close to our hearts and aligned with our goals? The answer is still forming, but for the moment here’s how we see ourselves in the wider scheme. 

Cultivating a new mindset 

People who feel well often make the effort to keep themselves feeling well, and businesses can thrive on that self-sustaining appetite. But it’s not always easy for busy people to make that initial step into a world they’re unfamiliar with – that’s particularly true for newcomers to spas, where visits can (and should) swallow entire days. 

At-home treatments are powerful in that respect. They can reveal the wonders of a good massage to the full-time parent or busy CEO. And they can get those treatments regularly and at a reasonable price.

It takes making that crucial first step and realising how good it feels to prioritise your wellness to make a habit of it. There’s a palpable feeling the day after a massage, when suddenly your to-do list feels a little easier, the sun looks a little brighter. At Urban, we call that the power of well. 

What starts as an on-demand treatment quickly becomes a mindset. And with that, the spa suddenly seems more appealing than ever. If an hour at home feels good, imagine how good luxuriating for a whole day might feel.

Boosted by tech

The spa business model is ancient – beautifully so, but not built for today’s tech-heavy landscape. The smartphone is the backbone of the at-home treatment model, not brick and mortar. That lends Urban a whole bunch of opportunities for growth. 

To state the obvious, if we want to launch a new service, we don’t need to look for a big ornate building. That’s huge. Our growth is all about finding practitioners and scaling tech-wise to support them. We can spread broader and faster – and indeed we have. We’re working hard on a suite of body confidence-oriented treatments to complement our current physical wellness offerings. 

Being app-centric means we can use data to optimise our services. We don’t just have an idea of what our clients want, we can build up a picture of what interests them as an individual, what they enjoyed, and place them in a geographical context. When your business is in something as personal as wellness, these things are vital to building a service that people really love. 

On a side note, it’s a fascinating time to be thinking about data, with wearable tech keeping tabs on our wellbeing and feeding it back to us constantly. That’s information we can make good use of at some point – think recommendations on treatments to lower a raised heart rate, or re-oxygenate a tired mind. Urban’s model means we can act fast on those feelings.



An alternative for practitioners

It’s worth mentioning that providing home treatments just suits some practitioners better.  We work with deeply talented practitioners who, for one reason or another, need more flexible hours. Many have in-spa experience and all are passionate about what they do, they’re just looking to adjust their work-life balance to suit other commitments. We’re proud that we can provide them with a different route to doing what they love.

Get in touch

We’re something different now, but we started out as a small, massage-only service. Entrepreneurial spirit is a vital part of who we are. It’s important to us to forge strong relationships as we branch out and grow. Major brands are already stocking and training our skincare professionals, for example, and they’re even developing their own treatments through our Urban Curates scheme. 

That being said, we’re yet to find a way to partner with spas. That’s not to say we’re even remotely against the idea – we’ve been brainstorming potential avenues for a while. 

So to spas operating in London, Manchester and Birmingham, or anywhere in the UK for that matter; if you have any ideas for how we can work together, consider this an outstretched hand.



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Sunday, 09 May 2021

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