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Mini mani pedi: Spas try catering to a much younger clientele

By Kit Waskom Pollard, The Baltimore Sun, Published: August 7, 2014
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This fall, 11-year-old Shayna Slatkin will start middle school. Before her first class, she and her mother will cover all the usual bases: shopping for new notebooks, pencils and erasers — and visiting a spa for a new look.

Shayna, who lives in Baltimore, is a client at Salon & Spa Kids, a Pikesville hair salon and day spa that caters to the youthful set. With bright colors and scaled-down furniture, the salon provides a welcoming environment for preschool to high school-age kids, who can relax with a DVD as they get a haircut or lounge in a butterfly pedicure chair during spa treatments.

“My daughter feels really special there,” says Rivka Slatkin. “It’s always a special treat to get her hair straightened. It’s nice to be pampered. I love to be pampered and I think I’m passing it down without even talking about it!”

For owner Laura Campbell, the process is just as enjoyable. “It’s really fun to see the kids,” she says. “They get so excited and happy. They feel like grownups in their own salon.”

The spa industry is undergoing a transformation that would befit its clients — it’s getting younger. A study showed the percentage of U.S. spas offering services for children younger than 13 doubled in 2013.

Salon & Spa Kids has been open for eight years; earlier this year, it underwent a remodel after Campbell purchased it from the previous owners. The salon offers hair cuts for children as well as several spa services, including manicures, pedicures and facials. The products used are candy-scented and kid-friendly and treatments are gentler than the adult versions.

Services available vary from spa to spa but most offer a roster similar to Salon & Spa Kids, with manicures and pedicures the most popular. Birthday parties at kid-oriented spas are also a hit, with some spas incorporating activities like fashion shows into the party agenda.

“We do spa parties with princess themes for girls and pirates for boys,” says Campbell. “We do nails and hair and dress up and do a fashion show.”

The spa experience can go beyond just a treatment. At KupCake Spa for Gurlz in Pikesville, every service includes a cupcake; at Salon & Spa Kids, an end-of-summer camp from Aug. 12-16 will include stories, songs and, for older kids, a make-your-own treatment activity, where campers will learn to make a simple product like an oatmeal or sugar facial scrub.

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