During the month of August, we started calling the website development companies in Austin, TX.  When possible, we believe in working with local business partners since it allows you to meet in person and build strong relationships.  We are extremely lucky to be in the technology hub of Austin with numerous companies to choose from.  We conducted a series of phone interviews with potential partners and learned so much.  It was almost like they were speaking a different language, but as we called more we started to get the “lingo” down.  In spa, we have our own unique vocabulary like thalassotherapy and abhyanga.  Well, having an amazing vocabulary of words I do know is not unique to spa as I had to “Google” lots of words.  One potential vendor partner even provided us with an Amazon reading list—no kidding!

Interestingly enough, after weeks of phone calls, we went with the company we spoke with first.  The founder of the company was so well spoken and eloquent and immediately connected with our vision.  Once he summarized everything into a proposal, we connected with the fact that he understood us.  The title of this chapter alludes to our learning about how much it really costs to launch a state of the art web platform.  If e-commerce is in your future, just be aware of the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”  We knew from day one that technology would be a differentiator for us and we love the spa industry, so it was a cost we knew that we would have to absorb.  It’s like other things in life, you just have to adjust accordingly and make up the budget where you can.  It’s a great business lesson for everyone to learn and we are glad our partners helped to explain it clearly so we could at least understand what we were paying for and how it would help with our vision and the end user, our spa partners.

We chose HMG Creative from Austin, TX as the partners to help us with our market study, logo design, web development and ERP integration.  HMG Creative has great experiences in working with B2B companies and consumer companies such as IKEA and Retail Me Not.  Find a company that understands your vision upfront and that will grow with you as website is a long-term relationship.  Also, realize that you may push each other to grow and try new things and that’s just awesome—this is how we all grow!  We wanted a company that had some national recognition but that understands the personalized nature of our web project.  We explained the spa industry is all about relationships and we needed to deliver that experience on our website.  We also wanted our guests to our website to be able shop easily, learn and be educated about products and protocols, find those pesky MSDS sheets, and exchange and share information on Spa Commons, Our Gathering Place.  We also wanted to help bring awareness to the industry and attract new talent through sharing our stories of how spa is integral to all of our lives and that we wanted to give back to help create new opportunities through our scholarship program.  It’s a lot to ask, but HMG delivered and we appreciate their partnership.  We hope you agree!  We’ve included a photo below of our creative and development team.  Thanks for your help and your patience with us along this adventure.

Let the clicks begin,

Teddy and Tori

Our awesome HMG creative team!  Thank you so much!

Our word cloud—this what we are all about at The Spa Mart.  We can’t wait to share more!