The Skoah Story
How a bright idea from a married couple would go on to revolutionize the $15 billion spa industry
Andrea and Chris Scott weren’t “spa people” before they launched skoah, the brand that would revolutionize the spa industry, in 2001 in Vancouver, Canada. Andrea’s interest in skin care stems from a personal experience she had as a teenager, when the lack of good advice and education about what products would be effective led to years of anxiety and insecurity about her own skin.
“I had really terrible skin when I was younger,” Andrea says. “I went to a dermatologist, and I was given a product that actually took layers off of my skin. When I look back, all I needed was some really good advice. I had no idea what I was doing; I was using really harsh products to basically burn off blemishes. I knew nothing about sun damage, and I think a lot of people my age and younger have the same experience. So the fact that skoah can offer products that can help people feel better about themselves, that offer real results, is a huge achievement not only for us, but for the entire industry.”
What the entrepreneurial couple noticed was that while other industries were modernizing, becoming singularly focused on excelling at one service, this wasn’t true of the spa industry. The Scotts visited dozens of spas to find out exactly how to improve the spa experience, which was often too expensive, intimidating and full of cliche, new-age tropes and decor that didn’t make them want to ever return.
“Because we weren’t spa people, we had a tremendous advantage in that we could look at the spa experience from a consumer perspective,” Andrea says. “There was so much that needed to change. Spas were much too expensive. Typically, people would go on their birthdays and that’s it. You would have to save up and take a day off of work in order to treat yourself to an experience that you had no idea would do you any good. The same went for skin care. Skin care products are intimidating, at spas and in department stores. There is so much available, and the average consumer has no access to the education they need to make a purchase that will benefit them. We sought to change that by founding skoah.”
The first-ever facials-only shop hits the market
What is really special about skoah is that since the Scotts opened their first facials-only shop in Vancouver’s Yaletown district in 2001, there is still nothing like skoah on the market.
“When we visited dozens of spas as consumers, we knew that a big way to differentiate ourselves was to find a service where we could be the best in the world,” Chris says. “Full-service spas were the norm, and they offered dozens of services. Rather than being educational, so that customers could continue down a path of excellent skin care, they were a luxury item that only served the purposes of relaxation. People thought we were crazy by only focusing on facials, but facials are really the gateway to feeling happy about how you look — which is what we’re really after. When you make the experience affordable and membership-based, you have customers who are coming to you to improve the way they look rather than enjoy an extravagant day of luxury. We take that a step further by marrying this experience to a product line and an education about which products you need to get the results you want.”
The Scotts set out to create a different type of “spa experience.” They didn’t stop at providing one affordable service; they wanted to change that atmosphere. Skoah is far from whale music and pan pipes; our locations are chic, inviting, gender-neutral, warm spaces. The Scotts also wanted to change the attitude that customers picked up on when they walked in a traditional spa; instead, creating a blissful and relaxing experience that also respects the value of a guest’s time.
Skoah went further in creating a new customer experience: a membership model that would allow customers to come in for a facial at their convenience — on their lunch break or on their way home from work — for an affordable price. Skoah also recognized the power of education and created the platform of personal training for your skin. Gyms have personal trainers create workouts specifically tailored to produce results for individual gym members; skoah estheticians are skin care personal trainers. They guide customers month by month, year by year, from weddings to vacations and beyond, to ensure that every customer has the skin care regimen and the products that will work best for them.
Becoming the nation’s premier spa franchise
Since launching as a franchise system in 2016, skoah has opened nearly 20 locations in the United States and Canada, where the brand is beloved by customers and has a glowing reputation in the media. Allure magazine voted skoah as the best place to get a facial for four years in a row, and Vogue magazine exclaimed that skoah is “the coolest skin care line in Canada.” Skoah is only beginning to take off, and now the brand is actively seeking entrepreneurs who are passionate about skin care and helping their communities feel great one face at time, as skoah rapidly expands across the United States.
“It was important to us to prove that our business could be successful in multiple locations before we started franchising,” Chris says. “Not only did we prove that, but our locations in Boston and Seattle prove that skoah is meeting a need for affordable and consumer-friendly skin care in America, as well. There is no limit as to how big we can get, but we’re ready and excited to grow!”