Umbrellas 101: How And Why To Sell Umbrellas

Umbrellas are an easy sell for spa retailers

By Seraine Page

Hot tub accessories offer opportunities to upsell while further improving a customer’s overall spa experience. Spa umbrellas are a perfect example.

Showcasing umbrellas is a relatively hassle-free investment that requires little to no additional training. Umbrellas also take up very little space in a showroom.

Any umbrella a retailer picks has to be a good quality product, says Mike Genova, president of Leisure Concepts, a spa accessory retailer.

“A lot of spa retailers think it’s OK to shoot for lesser-quality umbrellas. But our philosophy is that it gives our industry a black eye,” he says. “We are a specialty industry. When someone drops $10,000 on a specialty tub, they’re looking for quality all around.”

Finding adjustable, waterproof umbrellas that are easy to assemble are just a few things retailers should consider. Leisure Concepts only offers one umbrella — the SpaUmbrella — but there are plenty of options for retailers with various budgets.

Fiberlite Umbrellas
Product: Las Olas
Price: from $178

Based in Pompano Beach, Florida, this family-run company proudly touts its American-made products.

“All of our parts can be replaced,” says Joann Sweet, project manager. “It never has to be thrown out. Because it’s made in the USA, we have the parts here.”

The Las Olas contemporary market style is the company’s No. 1 seller.

With some styles extending 11 feet, Sweet says the Fiberlite Umbrellas coverage for customers is great, especially since the fiberglass poles are made to go into the water, unlike many other umbrellas.

There’s also no need to keep a huge stock of the umbrellas, as the company offers a catalog for retailers. Additionally, umbrellas can be customized with specific styles, colors and more. “They can carry a sample of our product,” says Sweet of retailers. “They don’t have the inventory cost with us.”

Training is available upon request, and showroom samples are 50 percent off for new dealers.

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Cover Valet
Product: Spa Side Umbrella
Price: $173 to $239; includes under-mount hot tub base

Referred to as the alternative to traditional gazebos, the Spa Side Umbrella has a 360-degree rotation, including a crank and tilt mechanism. It also requires zero hardware and comes in seven colors. The umbrella has a one-year warranty and folds down to the side for easy storage.

“Umbrellas continue to be a stylish and reasonable compliment to spas,” says Matt McMillan, director of sales and marketing. “They not only provide shelter from the elements but also upgrade the look and feel of most any backyard setting.”

Product: Automated Max Cantilever
Price: Contact for pricing

The Automated Max Cantilever control panel allows quick automation of features like opening and closing the canopy, LED light activation or powering on the umbrella’s heaters. The umbrella heaters automatically shut off after four hours, thanks to a built-in safety feature.

Leisure Concepts
Product: SpaUmbrella
Price: $699 to $899

The SpaUmbrella is a European-designed umbrella offering a 9-foot coverage area. With two different bases — one with storage, and another free-standing base — this umbrella can be moved to various locations with ease. Available in four colors, this umbrella also includes a central LED light with four brightness levels.

Parts of the umbrella are also made of automotive-grade plastic, and the aluminum pole is 100 percent rustproof.

“We designed it to withstand the elements and also be repaired,” Genova says.

Genova encourages retailers to consider why they want to start carrying umbrellas. Some retailers may want a certain showroom floor look; others may want to couple it with a promotional package.

Overall, he says quality should always take precedence over quantity or price.

“Don’t compromise on it,” he says, noting that cheaper alternatives break down quickly. “The biggest culprit to broken umbrellas is the wind.”