(Ambrosio’s note: I can count with one hand the number of franchisors who are confident enough to disclose their average unit sales to the general public. So when the opportunity came to use this attention grabbing headline, I happily took it knowing that it will bring more attention to this wonderful new interview. There’s something very appealing about the lifestyle of a massage therapy franchise owner. I hope this exclusive interview with Dave Crisalli, President and COO of Massage Envy, will help you decide if this franchise is compatible with the lifestyle you desire. Thank you, Dave, for sharing your insights on Massage Envy with us!)
1. What made you decide to join Massage Envy?
I joined Massage Envy in 2004 because I quickly saw the blue ocean opportunity that it presented in the highly fragmented and unorganized space of massage and bodywork. Add to that, there was no single work home for wonderful massage therapists anywhere in the U.S. Linking professional massage and convenient availability, I knew this would be a profitable growth opportunity for our franchisees and regional partners. I simply wanted to help write that growth story and put our partners and our customers in a position to win.
2. Why should someone interested in owning his or her own business consider a massage or spa services franchise?
Consumers spend between $5 and $7 billion annually on massage therapy and visit massage therapists 140 million times per year. As more people turn to massage therapy not just to relieve stress but also to heal aches and pains, including symptoms associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia, the demand for affordable, accessible massage therapy has become greater than ever before. Nearly a decade ago, in March 2002, Massage Envy was launched to create a completely new category in the wellness industry. Today, we have grown the business to 680 locations in 43 states.
3. What sets Massage Envy apart from your competitors in the massage or spa services industry?
With year-over-year growth of 25 percent and average unit volume surpassing $1 million, Massage Envy delivers tremendous value and profitability to its franchise partners, in turn driving even greater value to our members and guests in the form of consistently high-quality massage and facial treatment services. Since forming an exclusive partnership with global skincare leader Murad® and nationally launching the Massage Envy Spa concept less than two years ago, demand has been tremendous for affordable, healthy skin care along with traditional massage therapy. We are thrilled to have this relationship and the ability to deliver consistently superior facials and skincare products in more than half of our locations today.
4. What qualities do you look for in a prospective franchisee?
Massage Envy Spa is actively seeking business leaders who have a strong financial background, desire to maximize sales and customer retention, commitment to the community, and ability to learn and follow a proven system. Additionally, franchisees should possess exceptional interpersonal and customer service skills, as well as be able to teach, coach, and inspire the best assets they’ll ever have, their employees.
The ideal site for a Massage Envy Spa is located in a high-exposure shopping center with national, daily use, and female-oriented retailers. The space should be approximately 3,000 square feet in size and situated in a well-defined commercial area with a strong employment base.
6. Based on your observations, what concrete steps do your most successful franchisees take in order to build and grow their businesses?
Our franchisees benefit from an aggressive national marketing and advertising program designed to attract new clients, drive membership enrollment, establish a strong referral network, and encourage high member retention through greater monthly service usage. But what’s probably most meaningful to us is the culture of caring from all our team members who deliver a sense of belonging to all our members. We create real relationship value by understanding the needs of our members and providing an environment that attracts repeat visits.
7. What kind of ongoing support do you extend to your franchisees to help them become more successful?
Franchisees benefit from a robust support system that includes classroom and hands-on field training, a field-based operations team to support each franchisee region, customized management software and financial administration tools, as well as massage therapist recruitment support.
8. What would you tell a prospective franchisee who wants to know about the profit potential of a Massage Envy franchise?
Today’s increasing demand for affordable and accessible massage therapy and skincare treatments, coupled with Massage Envy’s unprecedented growth system, makes now the ideal time to open a clinic in your neighborhood. As one of the country’s fastest growing wellness brands, Massage Envy Spa’s average unit volume surpasses $1 million. Despite the recession, we have opened a record number of new locations and grown our membership by 29 percent in just a year – increasing from 701,000 members in 2009 to 919,000 in 2010.
My days are consistently focused on our people and our systems. First, connecting to the people in our Scottsdale offices is very important to me. They coach and inspire our family of franchisees and regional partners and listening to them on what’s working and what’s needed to improve is always top of mind. Second, directly connecting to our partners is an everyday process for me. We take great pride in being responsive to our customers, our franchisees, and regional partners.
10. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us about Massage Envy?
We’re looking for a few shining stars to help us grow this amazing brand. Massage Envy is the largest employer of licensed massage therapists in the country. Through our more than 16,000 therapists, we have brought professional massage and spa services to over a million members across the U.S. In March 2011, Massage Envy performed its 30 millionth massage. We also contribute to the communities we serve through our national fundraising event, Healing Hands for Arthritis. On October 12, $10 from every massage or facial performed will go to the Arthritis Foundation to assist in the organization’s mission to help people take greater control over their arthritis by leading efforts to prevent, minimize, and cure arthritis and other related diseases.