Online registry of beauty and wellness therapists to help consumers make better choices

The online registry allows consumers to check if their beauticians are qualified before signing up for a facial, for instance.
The online registry allows consumers to check if their beauticians are qualified before signing up for a facial, for instance.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - An online registry of beauty and wellness therapists was launched on Friday (Jan 8), to allow consumers to check if their beauticians are qualified before signing up for a facial, for instance.

The registry, the first in Singapore, was launched by the Spa and Wellness Association of Singapore (SWAS), an industry group with more than 800 active members.

"The SWAS Registry of Complementary Therapists provides a reliable source for consumers to verify if a therapist or entity has the relevant competencies to provide specific treatments," said the association's honorary secretary Edward Wong, who is also president of SwissBrands Singapore.

Besides beauticians, other service providers such as masseuses, manicurists, hairdressers and yoga instructors can be registered too.

Industry experts, consisting of accredited educators and practitioners, will validate the qualifications of the therapists in the registry. Registered therapists also have to observe a professional code of ethics and conduct.

So far, only 500 therapists have signed up, less than 1 per cent of the approximately 100,000 therapists in the market.

"We have to start somewhere," said Mr Wong, who said he was confident that SWAS will register 5,000 therapists in the next six months. The association will send newsletters to its members, engage the media and hold two public forums this year.

"The Consumers Association of Singapore has strongly encouraged its 600 CaseTrust-accredited members to join and they tend to be the bigger spas," he added.

Consumers can access a prototype of the registry at www.srct.sg. They have to key in the treatment and name of a therapist or business to get information about a therapist's qualifications. A full version of the website will be launched by August this year.

Last year, Case received 78 complaints about unsatisfactory service by beauty, hair, slimming and fitness companies. The beauty and wellness industry has about 20,000 businesses here, said SWAS which projected the figures from a 2011 Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore audit. Each business has four to five workers on average.

For this year, professional members of SWAS can join the registry for free, while non-members pay a $60 annual fee.

Ms Ivie Ng, 30, business operations manager of Revive Capital Group, said her company is undecided. "We are worried that our therapists will be poached by other companies. But the idea is good because it protects consumers."

Accounts manager Felix Loo, 39, said convenience is more important. "If I'm just going for a foot massage or manicure near my home, I won't bother to check the therapist's qualifications," she said.

Case's executive director Seah Seng Choon welcomed the new registry. "It offers consumers an easy way to identify if a therapist has the relevant qualification and skills to perform the intended treatment properly and safely," he added.