In this exclusive Q&A, we get to learn more about Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa from its Senior Director of Franchise Development Nicole Alburger and Director of Franchise Development Sarah Moudry.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you please share a bit of background on Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa for those unfamiliar with it?
Nicole Alburger (NA): Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa is a 475+ unit massage and facial spa franchise with a mission to bring luxury spa services to everyday consumers. By doing so, Hand & Stone has become the premier massage and facial brand with locations in 30-plus states and in Canada.
The brand, founded in 2004, was recently ranked No. 1 in the spa category on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list for 2021. Hand & Stone also plans to open the 500th unit in 2021.
FC: What sets Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa apart from other industry competitors?
NA: Hand & Stone doesn’t just focus on massage like many other industry competitors. There is the esthetic side of the business as well, which includes facials and skin care.
We also use advanced technology throughout our business model, which diversifies franchisee revenue streams while also providing benefits to consumers. Clients can now book appointments online in addition to upgrading services and buying gift cards. We’re also able to complete transactions online now as well. We’re continuing to think of innovative ways to weave technology into a business that focuses primarily on human touch.
FC: How many franchise locations do you currently have?
Sarah Moudry (SM): There are currently 475+ spas across the U.S. and Canada. We’re poised to open Hand & Stone’s 500th location this year.
FC: Describe the opportunity for franchisees – how do you equip and train them?
NA: The world has changed due to the pandemic. While we used to have franchisees fly out for training, we’ve pivoted to a virtual training program. Hand & Stone hasn’t skipped a beat when it comes to utilizing technology and creating the virtual training program, which has been extremely successful and beneficial to franchisees as now they’re able to stay home and manage the construction process of their spas while going through our training process.
SM: We’re able to reach managers and staff members because the franchisees are able to “send” them to our training through Zoom webinars. This innovation has allowed Hand & Stone to effectively train even more people, and now, with this new system in place, training manuals and guides are at employees’ fingertips. Hand & Stone will keep this virtual training program as an option even in a post-pandemic world with the number of people we’ve been able to reach and support.
FC: Who is the ideal Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa franchisee?
SM: Hand & Stone is always looking for people that have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not a requirement that they have a background in running a business, but that’s always a bonus. We look for people who have a growth mentality and want to succeed with a company that has a lot of room in the future to grow.
NA: Hand & Stone is looking for people who want to be single or multi-unit owners and want to help local communities grow the workforce. It’s also important that potential franchisees understand that happy employees make happy customers. Hand & Stone looks for people that want to build a culture with their business and instill a want and desire in their employees to perform on a daily basis.
Hand & Stone is transparent with our plans for growth and we want to attract others who want to be part of it. Our ideal franchisee is someone who considers themselves a true entrepreneur.
FC: What is Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa’s growth strategy?
NA: Our growth strategy is made up of so many elements. A lot of it is organic. Hand & Stone has a great presence in major metropolitan markets across the country with existing operators who are expanding. Those franchisees are expanding because they see the support and success that they’ve had with Hand & Stone and want to continue it.
We’re also seeing interest from franchisees who currently own other concepts who want to diversify their portfolios with a proven brand that sells, even through the pandemic. Additionally, we’re organically attracting franchisees that are attracted to health and wellness and many of them are coming from long-term careers in corporate America and are pivoting to become entrepreneurs.
We want the best talent and we’re willing to teach and train franchisees that don’t have a health and wellness background. We’re a proven concept and have a lot to offer.
FC: Can you tell me more about the new conversion incentive program that Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa just launched?
NA: There is strong interest in the program so far. The program rewards existing Hand & Stone operators who expand their footprint by acquiring independent and non-branded spas by offering a $25,000 capital contribution, issued upon completion of the acquisition. Franchise owners who expand through acquisition and conversion will also benefit from a 50% reduction in the initial franchise fee, paying just $17,500 instead of the $35,000 fee required to open an additional unit. The program provides a lucrative opportunity for existing Hand & Stone operators to expand their portfolio.
Hand & Stone has also developed a financing arrangement with Firstrust Bank to assist franchise owners in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions in securing funding for new conversions through a favorable, SBA-backed loan program.
FC: What is a typical investment to open a Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa?
SM: The total investment necessary to begin operation of a Hand & Stone franchised business is $567,626 to $647,476.
FC: How can people learn more about Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa if they’re interested in franchising?
NA: You can learn more about Hand & Stone franchise opportunities by visiting https://handandstonefranchise.com/. You can also email me directly at email@example.com or connect with me on LinkedIn.
SM: The best way to reach me is through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.