All mystery shop reviews completed by Beaute Industrie are for the purpose of enhancing the beauty industry on a level of service and excellence. We look at three main components of the shop being; the customer experience, the performed treatment and the therapist’s ability to prescribe and rebook. Together these provide a successful measure of the level of professionalism for the client and stability for the industry.
Mecca, Westfield Parramatta
159-175 Church St, Parramatta NSW 2150
60 minute facial, redeemable
“Come in for a more in depth chat about your skin and current routine. We’ll answer your questions and work through any problems you might be experiencing.”
Mecca, Sephora and other department stores have always been a contentious topic throughout the community, particularly as they continue to grow their numbers of professional grade products and small businesses find it more and more difficult to compete. So when we found out that Mecca had recently introduced full 60 minute facials services to some of their stores, I simply had to get in there and give one a try. The online booking process was simple enough, though it was a little difficult to find a time that suited my busy schedule since only two locations in Sydney seem to currently be offering the in-store facial service. I finally found a time and had to pay for the service in advance to finalise the booking. The $120 service is fully redeemable on product on the day.
I arrived for my treatment 10 minutes early, having no idea what kind of consultation we would run through before beginning. I’ve only been into a Mecca store around three, maybe four times before, so I had absolutely no preconceived ideas around how the service might play out. Where would the treatment be hosted? Have they built dedicated rooms for these new facial services? Which of their home devices would they use during the treatment? As Mecca has their own individual departments and I had no idea which to go to, I proceeded to the front checkout where I was greeted before giving my name. I was walked around the counter to the dedicated facial area.
In the far corner of the store behind a frosted glass partition wall was the dedicated ‘Mecca Skin Space’ as demonstrated on a large neon sign overhead. This area housed a black leather barber chair and tiered trolley for disposables, alongside a large white vanity with a sink, featuring quite lovely brass tapwear. The chair faced the corner’s skincare shelves so I could peruse a few product ranges from a distance while I waited. It turned out that the one that greeted me at the front counter was my therapist of the day, and she introduced herself as Sandra and asked me to take a seat. Everyone in-store looked very professional in all black attire of their own choosing, plain black shoes, makeup that is of course flawless and fairly natural, and hair either up or down but all neat, with lapel microphones/phone systems to communicate with one another. Sandra offered me a water, either still or sparkling, and returned with a glass bottle and paper straw.
Sandra began by asking me about my skin concerns – did I have any particular issues I wanted to address today, and what would I most like to achieve from the treatment? I let her know I experience some redness and a little bit of pigmentation but other than that I’m currently fairly happy with my skin, and a boost of hydration and bit of a glow would be ideal! She proceeded to ask me about what I’m using at home, and had I used any of the Mecca products before? She seemed fairly satisfied by my answer of lactic cleanser, A, B3 and C serums and deep moisture creams. There was no consultation or content forms to speak of, however Sandra did hand me a card that stated the treatment would contain electrical and LED elements and to please inform the practicing therapist of certain contraindications such as pregnancy, mental pins or plates, etc. When it was time to start, Sandra reclined my chair, secured a disposable headband around my hair, and placed a black drape over my shirt to avoid any product spills. Receiving a facial out in the open obviously meant no work in the neck or decollatage.
First up was a super-fine mist spiritzed across my face, which smelled divine. Sandra then proceeded with an oil cleanse, with a hand that is very gentle but clearly confident in its routine. The first cleanse is removed with damp cotton pads, before moving on to a foam cleanse. It’s at this point I welcome Sandra to walk me through the products she is using so I can better understand the treatment I’m having, so she provides me some details on the mist and first two cleansers, as well as the toning lotion she is currently applying.
Next up is an exfoliant – Dr Dennis Extra Strenth Peel. These are in the form of pads that are gently wiped across my face from forehead to chin, giving an immediate tingling sensation. Sandra tells me this is a chemical exfoliant using a combination of AHA’s and BHA’s, and as the appropriate moment slipped away, I found myself regretting not probing Sandra for more information on exactly what the product contained and the exact strength/percentages. I continued to wonder how many consumers are doing serious damage to their skin by not being provided with this information or seeking it out themselves. The tingling subsided within a minute and it was time to begin the next phase of the treatment.
Mecca has recently introduced some (fairly pricey!) home devices that, upon first inspection, seemingly aim to compete with professional-grade technologies including light therapy and microcurrent. One of these is NuFace, a microcurrent device that retails in store for $507. Sandra asks me if I have heard of the device before, and I ask if it’s one of the muscle stimulating devices I have seen all over Instagram lately. She says yes it is – and that’s all the info I receive. Sandra applies some gel to my face and tells me that if I feel a rubber-band-snapping sensation, let her know so she can apply more gel. She begins on my jawline, slowly gliding the device along in lymphatic drainage pathways, with one pass that overlaps around 50%. At first I feel nothing except the cold metal of the device’s two prongs, but as we move up towards my midface, I begin to feel a nice warming sensation and perhaps one or two teeny prickles around the eyes. Sandra repeats the process on the other cheek and finishes on the forehead. She removes the gel with damp cotton pads before proceeding with the next device. This is another one I am excited to experience, as I’ve seen it all over the internet, Instagram, Facebook etc. and it has sparked a lot of debate around professional vs home LED. Sandra asks if I have had LED before, and I tell her I’ve had professional sessions but never used the Dr Dennis Gross portable LED mask she is about to use. Sandra proceeds to tell me what great value the mask is for $600 (which actually retails at Mecca for $696) as you will ‘pay a lot of money’ for in-salon LED sessions and this is the same – all you need is 3 minutes a day. She pops the mask on my face, which starts off with a pink hue. Sandra tells me this is in combination with the blue LED for breakouts and bacteria mixed with red for skin rejuvenation. I’m left to my own devices (pun intended!) while Sandra cleans her station, and after a couple of minutes when the light turns off, Sandra switches it back on to just red LED for 3 minutes more.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear we would be proceeding with a facial massage, though I found myself desperately wishing it would extend down to my neck and shoulders. Sandra tells me she is applying a massage medium, and although she didn’t mention what it was, it smelled divine. I realised too late that she didn’t ask me if I had any allergies, so I sat there praying whatever medium it was, it didn’t contain my one allergen – juniper berries! It was wonderfully relaxing, though the technique was a little too similar to a standard cleanse. I also realised at that point it simply isn’t comfortable sitting in a semi-reclined chair for that long, as one’s spine slowly compresses.
It was now time for a quick sheet mask – a Cosmetics 27 Plasma 27 restoring mask. Sandra tells me the mask is deeply hydrating and soothing, and after cleaning her station once more, goes on to give me a quick hand and forearm massage. The mask was soft and soothing, but with wet treatment mask coupled with the product on my hands and arms, I felt considerably cold at that point, longing for a plus spa bed with blankets and throws! Sandra lifts the mask off after what feels like 7-8 minutes, and my skin feels plump and smooth as she massages the remaining product in.
THE FINISHING PRODUCTS
Sandra finished with a couple of serums, which she shared were La Mer Brilliance Essence and a Dr. Barbara Sturm. After these were gently massaged in, she asked me if I liked an SPF, to which I gave an emphatic yes!
Sandra informs me the facial is complete, and that she hoped I had enjoyed my time with her. Since my booking is redeemable, she asks me if there is anything in particular I’d like to shop for, and since my bathroom cabinets are absolutely overflowing, I insist I take a look at the perfumes instead and treat myself that way. Sandra shows me over to the perfume corner and introduces me to one of the resident perfume experts, before thanking me and departing. While I did appreciate not being sold to, Sandra did not know my background as a therapist, and I felt it a lost opportunity to provide some education on products I may be wanting in the future and what could be of use to me down the track. I was certainly grateful all of my products were written down on a prescription card for me, as I had no idea what was used for around half of them!
Important to note
Having already paid for my treatment, a total of $120, the checkout process was nice and simple, I just had to add any additional amount on product I was purchasing. All in all, I felt the service was extremely good value for money, considering the quality of the products, the devices used, and the fact the amount was 100% redeemable. I would have loved to have received a little more information from my therapist regarding the products and benefits, and this reminded me that often, clients are simply too shy to ask. The service was carried out and it was a wonderfully relaxing treatment, but the education element definitely went amiss.
The lesson here is – have an open dialogue with your clients. Remember to ask them how much detail they would like – do they want to hear the steps you’re taking? Do they want to know the ingredients? Or do they want to relax in peace? There’s no harm in asking. And it isn’t always about selling either. Even if your clients are on a great routine already, you can still provide them with the added value of education – the unique characteristics of their skin, what they might experience in future, or even how and why their existing routine is working so well.
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Until next time, Stay Connected.