Just like the old adage, “you are what you eat,” in the world of professional success, “you are what you wear.”
This adage rings true across so many aspects of the massage and spa world, such that wearing the right uniform can deliver multiple benefits not only to staff, but most importantly to the client—and, of course, long term benefits to owners.
In short, the right uniform is as important as the right technique.
Dress for Success
From the moment the staff puts on a high-quality uniform, a wonderful chain of events is set in motion, all of which have a dramatic impact on a key part of the business: the overall impression left with each client when he or she leaves your business.
The feeling of empowerment and self-confidence are two very powerful internal effects a uniform will have on each staff member. The client will pick up on the staff member’s energy and professionalism, which will likely be followed by the superior delivery of the massage treatment.
This in turn may serve to encourage clients to develop a long-term relationship with the therapist and hopefully increase the chance they will return for additional sessions.
For many businesses, a uniform is one way to develop a sense of unity, teamwork, belonging and pride that can engender a spirit among staff that leads to working toward a common goal of delivering a superior guest experience—and will further create a long-term, viable massage practice.
In order for the staff to enjoy the benefit of a uniform, the most important technical detail is fabric choice. Beyond just the look and style of a uniform, the fabric must be lightweight, stretchy, breathable and “silent”—meaning the fabric does not make noise when the therapist moves.
These fabric qualities will ensure that the staff will welcome and look forward to wearing the uniform every day.
If this is not the case, the uniform benefits will be negated, as no one wants to work in a uniform that impedes comfort.
This is especially true of massage therapists, who basically work out every day while performing their job. Fabric choice is a critical detail.
In Good Hands
Naturally, if the therapist feels and looks good, clients will certainly be more likely to enjoy their massage, as the client will be able to sense and benefit from the confidence exuded by the therapist.
Not only will the client interpret the uniform as an enhancement to the therapist’s overall demeanor, it will also impart on the client a sense of respect, professionalism and the expectation that the massage therapist is well qualified to deliver the treatment he or she needs, and it may lead to the therapist being perceived as an authority rather than simply an employee in the business just doing a job.
Quite simply, a uniform takes up the professional image a few notches.
Also, from a logistics viewpoint, a uniform can help clients quickly identify the staff by their respective roles and further add to the client’s sense of calm.
From an owner’s perspective, elevated levels of staff performance will contribute to client satisfaction and further enhance revenues through elevated levels of natural word-of-mouth referrals.
Other uniform-related benefits that contribute to the long-term success of the business will be a natural extension of the business identity, or brand image.
Branding creates differentiation. With differentiation comes customer loyalty.
With each employee acting as a living, breathing brand ambassador—each with the daily opportunity to enhance the most critical aspect of the business, the goodwill that is so vital to long term success—the reputation of the business will certainly be boosted.
Owners will also benefit from knowing the staff will feel on a higher level that the owners have empathy for them and care more about them because of the time and consideration taken to make sure the staff looks and feels their best.
This in turn can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and willingness for staff to go the extra mile for their employer.
In some cases, owners may feel blocked from reaping the benefits of a uniform program by some staff members who are a plus-size and feel they don’t fit in with everyone else because there is nothing that fits them.
This can be overcome simply by making sure the chosen uniform is flattering for all, such as cut to the right length with strategically placed accents, and is made from a fabric that is stretchy and lightweight.
At the end of the day, if most people judge you by the way you dress, then by association, it is likely your clients will judge some aspects of your business by how well your employees look.
For some owners, knowing this is an advantage.
Those owners will take the opportunity to strategically select the right uniform, which includes engaging and collaborating with staff during the selection process; and then, with some frequency, change up their uniforms to keep a fresh sense of energy and professionalism across the business.
The right uniform solution can be a tremendous asset to any business and can pay enormous emotional, physical and professional dividends for everyone involved. It’s time to uniform up.
Lawrence Grum is managing director of Yeah Baby. For over 19 years, Yeah Baby has designed unique uniform and footwear solutions to spas and resorts worldwide. Yeah Baby differentiates itself by its unique essencia stretch fabric, which is soft, silent and comfortable and is now inspiring the performances of massage therapists worldwide.