Since massage is in many ways a nurturing profession, caring about and committing to Mother Earth should not be a big stretch. However some eco friendly choices are expensive and time consuming, for a business this can be a prohibitive sacrifice in profitability. But if you factor in the increased marketability that being sustainable provides, green can actually mean increased success. It also means you need to become familiar with the world of —the LOHAS market.
LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and represents people interested in… wait for it….lifestyles of health and sustainability. Clients, who shop organic, stay active, seek mind/body/spirit balance, recycle, utilize integrated forms of healing, etc. Have any of those? Want more? Then make choices that work for you and appeal to this marketing segment. I gave you some examples of some of my choices in last month’s blog. Here are some ideas about how to highlight those choices and target people who will respond to them with their business, loyalty and referrals.
Make sure to offer organic massage product/essential oil options and feature them in display vignettes that catch the eye. Educate your clients on your choices. Offer retail options that support the same philosophy. Values are important and giving these clients the opportunity to purchase products that align with them is vital.
Co-op marketing and event opportunities with other businesses in your community that service the same segment - including health food stores, green drycleaners, farmers markets and other integrated health/wellness practitioners.
Offer refreshments that are organic/fair-trade and make sure you promote those choices with signage. Encourage clients to try new offering.
Introduce clients to new products and options as they become available. Be a resource for them to explore this brave new/old world. Examples: coupons for new businesses; sampling of new products; traditional healthcare/skincare recipes; brochures on parks, gardens, and recreational/educational/volunteer opportunities.
My clients have proven to be my best resource for this information, and often times my best inspiration (plus they are not shy about holding me accountable). If they have already embraced these values, they will love sharing their experiences and research. Often times these clients will actually bring samples for me to try and share.
Some of you know that I am currently in the “Medicine Path Program”, a 15 month course to study Native American healing traditions. This course is offered due to the collaborative effort of many people. Namely Jenny Ray of Sacred Stone Medicine, Sandra Hoak of Cedar Stone School of Massage, and the NCBTMB. These types of programs are brought to life because more and more of us are feeling a need to go beyond just the science and better understand ancient traditions: not to play act them out but to honor and learn from them. Knowing that I would learn new ways to work with stones and plants was a given. The real revelation was how much I am learning to work with; respect; and have gratitude for nature.
I am sharing this with you to say that this is not just a marketing strategy. Make sure your commitment is genuine and you can follow through with the choices in your plan. But it is also not an all or nothing proposition. I have tried things in the past that I could not keep up- like organic sheets that had to be ironed (can’t do it folks). But it has not prevented me from coming up with other ways to become better at respecting and honoring all things on this earth.
I challenge you to take the first step, walk gently on this earth and keep exploring the paths less traveled.
Be well, Do good work, and write often.