16 Dec 2016
Spa Meets Art
“I love art and foot massages and wanted to give customers the chance to really appreciate the art in front of them as they relax,” says founder of The Right Spot spa Vivian Chang.
Launched in September in the busy Central financial district, the spa sells the art pieces on display, and include everything from photos of a model wearing Christian Louboutins to scenic sunsets.
While the art works are its biggest point of difference from other spas, The Right Spot also offers a heightened sense of privacy, with each foot massage seat partitioned with black-out curtains. “At many spas in Hong Kong, you have to watch strangers sleep while having a foot massage. Some places can be pretty uncomfortable and that can stress you out more, which is why I invested in Italian leather seats that are fully reclinable for snoozing mid-treatment,” says Ms Chang. The foot massages are enlivened with bath bombs made at one of Ms Chang’s friends factories in Kwun Tong.
A hedge fund advisor, Ms Chang set up the business with a silent partner and has no immediate plans to give up her finance job. The spa, she says, is a passion project and she is focused on breaking even rather than turning a big profit.
Nevertheless she has been pleasantly surprised by the level of interest. “Since launching, we’ve had more than 1,600 appointments and over 50 per cent were JP Morgan people.”
A former employee of JP Morgan, Ms Chang remains on good terms with her former boss, which proved crucial to launching the business. “My ex-boss helped me hand out more than 4,000 vouchers to JP Morgan employees, and the first week we were open, we had 300 people come to try out the massages.”
Ms Chang is now considering setting up other outlets in Hong Kong. “Opening The Right Spot has been the most challenging thing I’ve done in my life – way more so than anything I’ve done in finance and there were times when I felt like quitting. It’s scary to open a second, but as the concept has been so successful, we may open others, probably in Wan Chai or Sai Ying Pun.”
Acquiring a lease on a space in the heart of Central meant going 30 to 40 per cent higher than her original rental budget, but Ms Chang has no regrets. “It’s so convenient, and clients love the location. We just thought, if we do this let’s do it right. We could have done something really small, but what’s the point? We decided to go all out with our budget instead.”
And despite her other daytime job, Ms Chang says she takes a hands-on approach to the business. “For the first month we were open, I was the receptionist because I wanted to learn about all aspects of the business. I felt I had to figure it out myself.”
One takeaway from the world of finance is providing a similar level of personalised attention to The Right Spot’s clientele. “I want to remember their names and the type of massage pressure they prefer for future visits. It’s the little things that make all the difference.”
Supporting Young Artists
Another business opportunity has emerged since the spa opened, as one client from Hang Lung Properties has expressed interest in sourcing some of the artworks in the spa. “A lot of people come in and ask about the art and if they are interested in a particular work, we can also help them to print the pieces,” she says.
Ms Chang has also been approached by several photographers keen to show their works in the spa. “There are so many art galleries in Central, but most people tend to just go in and quickly walk out without thinking about whether they want to buy a piece. At The Right Spot, clients get the chance to admire a piece for 30 minutes or an hour as they have their treatment.”
To demonstrate her commitment to local artists, Ms Chang has teamed up with a professor to help young talent display their work here. “It’s pretty hard for artists starting out to display their work somewhere in Central. Most art galleries take pieces they can sell, but I don’t care whether they do or not.”
The Right Spot