Beauty & Wellbeing

ishga celebrates ten years of marine healing

European Spa reports from the Scottish organic spa brand’s conference at Kimpton Blythswood Square in Glasgow, where it celebrated ten years of sustainable skincare


By European Spa

14 February 2023

Hebridean spa brand ishga’s annual conference was held this month to celebrate its tenth anniversary.

80 spa managers and directors headed to the spa at which the brand’s vegan and sustainable marine skincare products and spa treatments first debuted – Kimpton Blythswood Square in Glasgow.

"Our 10-year anniversary conference brought together a number of innovative and inspiring speakers that had a real connection to our brand values."

Leon Trayling

Co-founder and director, ishga

ishga’s team of sustainable seaweed harvesting experts showcased their spa plans for 2023 and revealed the brand’s exceptional spa channel growth having gained 20 new spa partners in 2022.

Hosted by co-founder and director Leon Trayling, the educational day also announced a new four-year study to track the proactive properties of seaweed in skincare and wellbeing.

ishga announced a four-year plan to study the skincare benefits of seaweed

Spa shifts not trends

The day further included presentations by a number supporting experts.

European Spa’s Sarah Camilleri urged attendees to look out for ‘shifts not trends’ in the spa industry. She reminded delegates that the spa industry was still very much the keystone to a thriving wellness economy that is seeing a rapid resurgence in wellness tourism and growing demand for immersive spa time involving new therapeutic applications of sound, light, smell and movement.

Sarah Camilleri highlights the latest wellness economy figures from the Global Wellness Institute

Camilleri touched on the pioneering work spas are doing to lift the hospitality experience as the future shifts towards social spa time membership clubs, specialised retreats and excellence in one-on-one specialist wellbeing couching.

Social bathing and a renaissance in therapeutic aufguss ceremonies were also flagged, as well as the evolution of active programming that promotes reconnection with nature. This year was, she said, the year for personalisation and female-focused spa programming.

Training leads to sales uplift

Spa consultant Jacqueline Ross asked those at the celebration to value the importance of team training and guest communication to boost under-performing retail conversion revenues in spas. She invited three spa leaders to share how ishga sales training had led to retailing successes, all of whom confirmed impressive uplifts averaging 10-12% on top of typical monthly retail rates.

Social media and skincare

Marketing and PR expertise was provided by presentations from ‘The Spa Man’ Mark Smith and ishga’s Cara Hosie, who brought insights into the influence of Tiktok on consumer skincare trends, as well as the backlash towards greenwashing.

From left: Carla Inglis of Norton House, Brian d'Souza of Open Ear, Dawid Bozuchowski of Kimpton Charlotte Square and Christina Mcgrogan of Norton House

It was highlighted that ishga had achieved 15 beauty awards in 2022, thanks to the trust and real sustainability it can demonstrate across all aspects of its business.

Hosie discussed the marketing support ishga can provide and together with Leon Trayling she outlined exciting new launches planned for the brand in 2023, including a new Little ishga range for children and its reformulated hero Marine Cream, which spa directors were given samples of.

From left: Kate Paterson of Crerar Golf View with Nikki Trusnell of Crerar Loch Fyne

Sustainable skincare from Scotland

ishga co-founders Malcolm Macrae and Martin Macleod both gave insightful presentations on the sustainable heart of the brand and the extraordinary work that goes into collecting four types of seaweed from the cold, clean waters surrounding the Isle of Lewis.

Macleod revealed the lengths that the company goes to protect the isle’s seaweed stocks, which provide the proactive ingredients in all ishga’s products.

ishga is able to fully demonstrate the eco-credentials of all of its products

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. Seaweed must be protected as it provides and essential habitat for fish to shelter and as a shock-absorber from the tides,” he said. “Using our bio-mapping system of 271 locations we can gently harvest exactly the right amounts.”

Macrae shone a light on the science of seaweed in skincare and the value of marine healing. “The power of seaweed has been known for many years, along with its variety of uses. We are now starting to understand through our scientific research the reasons behind these results and how they relate to skin health. Research and development is a key part of the growth of ishga and delivering results-driven sustainable skincare,” he said.

ishga's Sophia Mackay explains the power of active polyphenols

Beauty from the sea – inside out

Biochemist Sophia Mackay, who heads up the brand’s research and development, outlined the extraordinary number of therapeutic benefits delivered by seaweed, as well as the brand’s work to bring a better understanding of the science behind marine skincare.

She revealed the power of active polyphenols to bind free radicals and reduce collagen breakdown in the skin, as well as their anti-inflammatory benefits.

Mackay also revealed the brand’s investment into a new four-year pilot study to gather more scientific data on seaweed for skin health, particularly important for sufferers of psoriasis and eczema, children and for sun protection.

Dr Craig Rose, founder of Dr Seaweed’s Weed and Wonderful range of natural health supplements

Weed and Wonderful

Bringing more food for thought on wellbeing trends, marine biologist Dr Craig Rose, founder of Dr Seaweed’s Weed and Wonderful range of natural health supplements, revealed that around 70% of people in the UK and across the EU are iodine deficient, which has an effect on thyroid function, skin health and overall brain health.

The creator of high-grade supplements that have been scientifically formulated using Hebridean seaweed, he highlighted the opportunity for spas to promote a ‘beauty from inside out’ approach with seaweed supplement aftercare.

“Supplements are not a medicine, they are a food for the body and can deliver essential ingredients and vitamins to help raise immunity, improve hormonal health and really help brain health and focus,” he said.

The Hebridean spa-focused skincare brand advocates 'beauty from the inside out'

Ishga: proud to be a spa brand

The day concluded with a selfcare session called “Nutrition for a Healthy Strong & Happy You” led by dietician, author and influencer Kerri Major, as well as conversations and a celebratory afternoon tea for all who attended.

Commenting on the success of the conference, Leon Trayling told European Spa. “At ishga we have always set out to be a bit different and really add value to our spa partnerships. I know that time is valuable and it is often difficult to get out of the business. Our 10-year anniversary conference brought together a number of innovative and inspiring speakers that had a real connection to our brand values.

“The energy and positivity in the room was wonderful making us all feel proud to be part of this amazing industry.”

Be inspired...

To find out more about ishga’s spa collection, click below

Be informed....

To explore products from Dr Seaweed’s Weed and Wonderful, click below

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