Editor’s Note: This is the second in an Insider’s Guide to Spas’ series showcasing regional spa groups. The series was inspired by the historic gathering of the nation’s regional spa groups at the Washington Spa Alliance’s Annual Symposium at the National Press Club in DC. When I first called on all of the various leaders of the regional spa groups [as a founding WSPA Board member and Symposium Chair], I had no idea that they would actually come together, or that it would amount to anything—but it certainly did. Today, I’m so proud to see the regional and national groups really working together for the first time.
In 2012, Mia Mackman founded the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association to strengthen local spa and wellness relationships, as well as to increase access to information and support industry growth. “The core values of the association are to build new relationships between the spa arena and wellness industry, diversify and support vertical market growth, and help people connect and support each other,” shares Mackman. I sat down with her to learn more.
How did the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association Begin?
It was created in 2012, and inspired by my personal healthy journey. I wanted to unite the phenomenal yet fragmented spa and wellness aspects across Arizona. In October 2014, due to increasing lifestyle and prevention momentum, the transient nature of the spa industry, and Arizona’s national health ranking at #28—public awareness became a rousing new factor. As a result, the association became an open-source platform offering professional spa and general public memberships at no cost, in an effort to promote higher spa and wellness engagement and utilization. This was to support Arizona’s residential health in hand with its stellar reputation for world-class spa and wellness.
How is the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association different from other industry associations?
We are the only Spa & Wellness Association in the United States. We are unique in our approach, diversity, and growth for a number of different reasons. We embrace a broad range of spa and wellness facets and offer a professional and public open source memberships. We have done this in order to create a new dialogue across a wider network to explore new value propositions and opportunities for collaboration and growth.
Regional associations hold some of the greatest opportunities for growth, new partnerships, and advocating for industry best practices. It takes inspired action and the willingness to invest and engage in the greater good of something to keep it alive and thriving.
We have also formed a variety of local and global partnerships to support a number of shared goals, education, awareness, and best practices. Some of these relationships include: The Wellness Council of Arizona, The Arizona Aesthetics Association, The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, The Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics, Global Wellness Day, The Global Wellness Summit & Institute, Wellness Tourism Worldwide, and The Global Career and Mentorship Programs.
How does your association connect with its members?
We hold leadership luncheons, roundtable meetings and special industry networking events. We share our perspectives on Arizona’s industry growth, operational and management challenges and current industry topics. We discuss the value of community, mentorship and ways to work more deeply with our affiliated schools. We also discuss topics like the rise of medical spa facilities, prevention centers and licensing and certification discrepancies throughout the state.
We annually partner with the Mountain Vista Medical Center to co-host their Annual Women’s Health & Wellness Expo. We share information and facilitate mini spa treatments and raise product awareness with our vendors and spa members for over 450 annual attendees. More than half of these attendees have never been to a spa, making it a powerful event for all. We also stay in touch with our members via email, seasonal newsletters, Facebook and Instagram.
How does Arizona view collaboration and industry advancement as an association?
Global and regional associations have very different roles to play. Global associations unite people and concepts from around the world, while regional organizations retain the flexibility to focus on critical local issues and address challenges in specific markets. I feel regional associations are ideal to provide local leadership and education. We can keep our eye on what lays ahead for our demographics and identify what may be holding us back. We can also embrace the opportunity to circulate key industry information and fulfill an important function by enabling members to anticipate new trends, increasing demands and effectively plan for the future.
Collaboration is an essential component of business growth. In Arizona, we directly support this by providing an ongoing forum where members and affiliates can cooperate to share information, best practices and methodologies. These types of relationships elevate the region and industry as a whole. These conversations take time. I am thrilled we are at a point we can exchange meaningful information this way.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Regional associations hold some of the greatest opportunities for growth, new partnerships, and advocating for industry best practices. It takes inspired action and the willingness to invest and engage in the greater good of something to keep it alive and thriving. By coming together, we have an extraordinary opportunity to nurture the aptitude, agility, and advancement of spa and wellness in Arizona.
Meet, iConnection, California’s regional group.
Meet the New York Spa Alliance.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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