Gift seekers are pampering themselves and their friends with healing, beautifying products that offer relaxation.

June 17, 2024

From the sunny Southwest to the rocky shores of New England, women have one thing in common. They like to be pampered. And lucky for them, when they are visiting these destinations, they can enhance their vacations with products that assist with relaxation. Health and beauty products also indulge the senses with a soak in the tub, a candlelit meditation session or a spritz with a vacation scent. And when they’re not splurging on themselves, it seems women are buying gifts to pamper their friends.

From eye pillows to spa robes, soaps and lotions to essential oils and incense, the 40- to 70-year-olds shopping at The Seasoned Woman in Tucson, Arizona, want health and beauty items that “smell good and are presented in a lovely package,” says Owner Joan Parks.

“A lot of customers are buying gifts for their friends,” Parks notes. “Customers just love to pamper their friends. It’s fun.”

Parks points out it’s difficult to nail down her bestsellers in health and beauty because she’s perfected her product lines over the years.

“Everything is a good seller,” she says. “I’ve been doing this a long time, so I’ve kind of weeded out the things that don’t sell.”

At The Seasoned Woman, products are grouped by color or fragrance.

In Westfield, Massachusetts, Budsuds Soapery counts its bestsellers as CBD soaps and topicals that the company has been creating for the last 10 years. The product line is made with natural organic ingredients and full spectrum CBD oil delivering beneficial cannabinoids to promote skin healing and pain relief, says Owner Amanda Caracciolo.

She notes customers are looking for specialty products when they come into the shop.

“We have artisan soaps, candles and bath products they can’t get at any other shops around,” she says. “We carry around 25 different soaps in store.”

Colors that make scents

Like Caracciolo, Parks notes she has a “pretty strong healing theme” with new-age gifts like essential oil kits for sleep, relaxation and health, as well as water bottles with crystals, healing card decks, healing angels and Chakra stone kits and candles.

Among the more “traditional” items, Parks points to bar soaps, lotions and anything lavender scented as being top sellers.

To get the displays just right, Parks quietly slips into her store — voted the best gift shop in Tucson for the last four years — on Sunday mornings and tinkers around until she’s satisfied. For her, grouping items is essential. Whether by color or fragrance, there’s a method to deciding what goes where — and none of it involves displays that come with the products.

“I use baskets and try to do a color scheme because color is really something that is attractive to people,” Parks says. “Or everything here is lavender. It’s a lavender pillow. It’s lavender soap, lavender spray. You can put together your own and it’s just real suggestive of buying more than one thing.”

And it seems Parks’ methods are working. Among the jewelry, clothing, baby items, food, garden products, greeting cards, trivets, mugs and spices in the 2,000-square-foot store, health and beauty items account for nearly 20% of The Seasoned Woman’s sales.

Another secret to success, Parks notes, is displaying new items at eye level.

“I always say don’t hide the new stuff,” she says. “It will come in and get priced and then sales associates stick it anywhere they can find a spot. But if I can’t find it, I know the customer can’t find it.”

According to Danielle Sterling, owner of Sugared Mango Soap Shop, Virginia Beach, Virginia, the best spot to display health and beauty products is by the counter. “Sometimes, it’s an afterthought that becomes a major thought once they try the product,” she says. “By the counter, it gives them a moment to ponder, ‘Oh, what’s this and what can it do for me?’”

Lip glosses are often an expected last-minute checkout grab as well as specialty deodorants that do not contain aluminum, hair butters or sugar scrubs, Sterling says.

Not just a women’s world

Women are not the only ones looking to treat themselves to sensual scents, soaps and lotions.

“Another easy win is hand lotion. Everyone needs a squeeze of lotion to keep in their purse, and even guys like it too as long as it’s nothing too greasy,” notes Sterling.

At the Om Gift Shop in Iowa City, Iowa, Owner Jeet Saini notes that men’s grooming products are gaining in popularity lately. She points to the Cashmere Bath Company whose products include Manscape Dude bar soap, hand and body lotion and body spray as her go-to favorite for a more masculine line.

As an overall holistic and healing gift shop, Saini’s 2,000-square-foot store leans heavily on crystals, gem stones and minerals — many of which are also used in making the jewelry that is sold in-house.

When it comes to displays, Saini is on the same page with Parks that pretty packaging sells. But, she adds, she tries to select items that are individually and attractively packaged — a trait that came along thanks to COVID.

“I restrict myself from getting open things, which people will touch and leave there, so I try to get things which are individually packaged so it’s more hygienic,” she says. “If we have candles, we keep one open that maybe they can smell, but they can buy themselves a packaged one.”

And when it comes to scents, it seems lavender and sandalwood are in high demand in everything from soaps, salts and bath bombs to essential oils used in products to wash clothes as well as roll on the skin.

Saini says her go-to vendor for oils is Amrita Essential Oils, which she deems as “very high quality.” For gemstones, crystals and related tools, she looks to Earths Elements based in Encinitas, California. And for teas, creams and balms, she relies on Nuwati Herbals.

At Budsuds Soapery, customers can find CBD soaps as well as non-CBD products such as artisan soaps and candles.

And it seems lavender is not only a winner for Saini, but Caracciolo as well, who has won multiple awards over the years her 300 mg Lavender Peppermint Buzz Balm.

Caracciolo agrees that packaging goes a long way in making a customer feel comfortable enough to purchase a product and says that details make all the difference.

“We spend a lot of time on packaging products properly, making ingredients easy to read with consistent labeling,” she notes. “And each product has signage for pricing for our customers.”

The perfect blend

To make an appealing display, Saini chooses to keep it simple: “Just make the best use of space and make it attractive,” she offers.

And while Parks agrees keeping things fresh and clean and offering new products are all appealing to customers, she also likes to rely on the element of suggestive surprises.

“I always like to add in something unexpected, not out of place, but surprising,” she admits. “I have these light-up flamingos that I put in with my bubble bath and stuff, and they sell just like crazy. It’s unexpected to see a flamingo with that, but it just makes things more interesting when it’s not all soaps just lined up.”
She adds that the flamingo bath tub toys make for a wonderful impulse add-on.

Because what’s a pampering session without a light-up flamingo? Throw in some lavender and your customer has the perfect recipe for a relaxing evening.