Pulse February / March 2023 | Page 32



Applied Economics

AFTER A TIMESPAN NOW APPROACHING three years when the world economy has experienced disruptions from Covid , many in the spa industry say the current year feels like the right time to recalibrate . As businesses adjust , a couple of emerging economic realities — product supply and pricing inflation — are frequent discussion topics among spa leaders .
Whether the rate of generalized price increases in the past year is following a natural economic trend or is a byproduct of the pandemic ,“ the return of inflation was one of the biggest stories of 2022 ,” as Coryanne Hicks writes for Forbes .“ American consumers were coping with price increases the likes of which they hadn ’ t seen since bell bottoms were all the rage . So it ’ s only natural for people to be nervous about what ’ s in store on the inflation front in 2023 .” That may be especially true in the spa world and other industries reliant on both professional service offerings and retail sales .
While Covid ' s role in inflation is debated , no one questions the pandemic ' s role in availability gaps of goods and materials . But , as Brendan Murray notes in Bloomberg , “ In supply chain circles battered by more than two years of upheaval , the word ‘ normal ’ is creeping into the outlook for 2023 .” For spas , supply problems affect both retail and “ backbar ” products , doubling the challenge of unavailable goods , thus making the current restoration of supply chains even more of a relief .
DEMANDING A STEADIER SUPPLY OF SPA ROBES ( AND EVERYTHING ELSE ) “ We went four months with no oversized robes . If we could , we would have made them ourselves . We went through every vendor we could find and couldn ’ t locate anything ready for delivery .” Rebecca Dickerson describes an experience shared by many spas as Covid closures altered product availability : While some vendors had
Raise your hand if you scrambled to source robes at some time during the past few years . Many spa directors report they were unable to find specific colors or sizes — and sometimes robes were entirely unavailable .