In Miami, Rik Rak Salon and Spa has attracted a veritable who’s who list of clients, including Beyoncé, Lenny Kravitz, Barbra Streisand, and more. The beauty and haircare hotspot, owned by Ric and Raquel Watters, opened its doors in 1989 and has since expanded to include three distinguished locations throughout the city. Located on Brickell Avenue in Miami’s Financial District, Rik Rak’s 6,000-square-foot full-service spa and salon is the company’s crown jewel. Other locations can be found at The Sports Club/LA at Four Seasons Hotel Miami and the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. Here, owner and leading colorist and stylist Ric Watters shares the secrets to Rik Rak’s success.
How has Rik Rak Salon and Spa continued to succeed in these trying times?
A. We’ve succeeded by staying focused on the fundamentals of our business. We provide our clients with the newest, latest, greatest, and hottest products and services in a relaxing environment staffed by talented and knowledgeable associates who are consistently delivering a high level of customer service.
Why do you think the spa has been able to succeed where others have failed?
A. In addition to remaining focused on the fundamentals of the business, we recognize that we are only as good as our associates. The management team believes that while talent is a prerequisite, it is critical that all associates understand their responsibilities in order for them to be held accountable for their performance. That, coupled with a desire to achieve excellence in customer service, produces optimal results.
How do you attract new and repeat clients and encourage them to visit?
A. We accomplish this through a diverse marketing strategy that includes public relations, cross advertising with the hotel, social media, web advertising, print media, and various direct mail to client vehicles, such as email. Rik Rak management clearly understands that no marketing strategy is more powerful than the word-of-mouth endorsement that is generated as a result of a positive customer service experience.
What steps and cost-cutting measures did you employ to offset the recession?
A. Despite increases in overhead and increases in the costs of both products and supplies, we held our prices on both retail products and services. We were able to offset the potential negative impact upon profitability by better managing the flow of retail products and supplies by ensuring that they flowed closer to the point of sale or usage. The net effect of this action resulted in lower inventory levels, which required a lower capital investment for the spa. In light of the possibility of fewer clients and/or reduced frequency of visits, we focused the team on strategies to raise the average ticket by selling fewer clients upgraded services and layering on retail product. This resulted in a significant dollar increase in the average client transaction. This is a great strategy, regardless of the economic climate.
Did you change your menu of offerings?
A. Recession or no recession, we believe that we are in a fashion business, and our customers can be fickle. Because they frequent the spa and salon on a regular basis, it is imperative that we continue to change our product and service offerings. If this is not accomplished on a scheduled basis, the offerings become stale. This strategy enabled the business to continue to grow in a down economy.
Have you had to let any employees go?
A. We believe our attrition rates are well below the industry average. This is attributable to our focus on creating a “team environment.” We intentionally overcommunicate to our team to ensure that everyone understands our objectives and performance expectations. Associates who excel are recognized and rewarded at our monthly meetings, which incorporate associates from all locations.
What have you learned from surviving the recent recession?
A. Companies make their worst decisions when business is really tough or very good. When times are tough, businesses compromise their core strategies for short-term gains. This knee-jerk response generally results in a negative impact upon long-term growth. When business is too good or too easy, companies have a tendency to become complacent, and they begin to make concessions regarding the fundamentals that were responsible for their current success. We are committed to focusing on executing the fundamentals of our business flawlessly, regardless of the business climate. We recognize that our desire to achieve excellence in this industry is a journey and not a destination. That said, we are confident that we are on the right path.