From Farm To Spa


Back in 2001 when she was just 21 years old, Jeni Garrett launched The Woodhouse Day Spa in Victoria, Texas. At the time, there was no way that the young entrepreneur could have foreseen the enormous success she would experience in the franchising industry over the next 10 years.

Garrett grew up on a dairy farm in rural South Texas. An entrepreneur from a young age, her first business sold handpicked flowers at a roadside stand. A true Texan, Garrett was soon buying and selling cattle, and in high school, she sold clothing and jewelry at markets in Dallas.

Her first adult career was in healthcare, a path that led to the beginnings of The Woodhouse Day Spa franchise. As business manager for The Surgery Center, Garrett introduced a cost-analysis program and trained other facilities to use it, learning how to duplicate processes and maintain consistency in a service business with multiple locations. Already an avid spa-goer, Garrett thought she could apply the same business model in the spa industry.

Realizing that consistency and branding are vital to the success of every franchise, Garrett created “The 99 Elementsof The Woodhouse Experience,” a series of steps her spas must deliver to ensure that the guest experience is uniform on every visit and in every location. Just as guests at Starbucks expect an identical coffee beverage every time they visit, the system ensures that Woodhouse guests can count on consistency and excellence.

“Whether a guest visits The Woodhouse Day Spa in San Antonio or in Orlando, we want to ensure that they enjoy an identical experience across the board,” Garrett said. “We spent years building a strong foundation based on proven systems that are replicated at each spa. Our commitment to uniformity ensures guests enjoy the same rewarding experience during every visit to The Woodhouse Day Spa.”

Woodhouse Day Spas focus on holistic therapies that treat the entire body with products made with sustainable, natural ingredients. Each service is crafted to enhance patrons’ well-being by providing real results in a stress-reducing environment.

Woodhouse’s success is especially remarkable given that it launched during a recession, when consumers typically cut discretionary spending on services such as facials and massages. But by employing the message that stress relief is a must-have and not a luxury, Garrett kept clients coming. Woodhouse customers now consider a spa visit a necessary part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and the company’s system-wide guest-retention rate was a staggering 63 percent in 2011.

“Basing our services on wellness and stress relief has taken the idea of the spa from a level of luxury to a level of necessity,” Garrett said. “When spa treatments are seen as an essential, your numbers will not go down. And that’s what we’ve seen: guests return because they see results.”

Since opening its first location, The Woodhouse Day Spa has grown to more than 25 locations in 14 states. It is the only high-end day-spa franchise in the U.S. Last year, The Woodhouse Day Spa posted a 15 percent increase in same-store sales compared to 2010, a year in which sales increased 17 percent over 2009. Average revenue per location reached $1.36 million in 2011.

Garrett recently launched an aggressive plan that would add least 125 Woodhouse locations throughout the U.S. in the next five years. She also has a master franchise agreement in place in India for the development of 100 new locations over the next decade, with the first expected to open in the Punjab region later this year.

Garrett is a leader in providing web-based franchise support. The company’s online virtual office, “The Village,” offers franchisees innumerable resources, such as a library of marketing materials that can be customized for each spa, an online university with weekly webinars for owners and staffers, and more. All spas are also completely paperless.

As a growing brand in a fragmented industry, Woodhouse is recognized for its strong core values, innovative approach to franchising and valueoriented pricing structure. In 2007, The Woodhouse Day Spa was named “Best Day Spa Chain in America” by DAYSPA magazine—an award that further solidified Garrett’s decision to enter the industry and built her confidence in the strength of her company. 

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