Case Study: Sugar Plum Salon

Sugar Plum Logo
Industry Esthetics/Cosmetology
Location Seattle, WA
Full-time employees  37

Sugar Plum couldn't find a group health insurance policy that fit the diverse needs of its employees. Now, with PeopleKeep, the company stands out among competitors with a health benefit that works for everyone.

“So many people apply to work here because they've heard about our benefits.”

Jessica Muller

Sugar Plum in Seattle, WA


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“Every single person who comes in to interview [is] either shocked we offer the benefits we do, or it's the reason they came in."

The company

Founded in 2011, Sugar Plum is a sugaring, body hair removal service that approaches beauty care through social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Sugar Plum was voted best waxing salon in the Seattle Weekly Reader's Poll in 2017 and operates five locations in the Puget Sound area.

The challenge

It's rare for a salon or spa in the personal beauty industry to offer health benefits. However, Sugar Plum was eager to offer health care benefits from the start, both to stand out and to fulfill its commitment to providing employees a living wage and great benefits.

But the company employs people with a wide variety of needs. Some are on their parents' or spouse's insurance, while others require a higher level of care for their families—and finding a traditional group health insurance policy that fit everyone was difficult.

"We got some quotes for group, but nothing really felt like it would be right," said Jessica Muller, corporate office director for Sugar Plum.

The solution

After running into a dead end with group health insurance, the Sugar Plum team turned to a new health benefit they'd heard about: the qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA).

Employees were interested in the QSEHRA after learning it provided a monthly allowance of tax-free money they could use regardless of their situation. Muller looked online for a QSEHRA administrator and soon found PeopleKeep.

"For me, the biggest thing that stood out was how hands off I get to be with PeopleKeep," said Muller. "Just loading a report every couple of weeks and approving reimbursement requests was right up my alley."

The results

Sugar Plum employees were "absolutely thrilled" to have a benefit through PeopleKeep, Muller said. At least one employee who was thinking about resigning to find health benefits elsewhere decided to stay.

Now, not only do Sugar Plum employees stay with the company longer, but the company has better luck finding new employees, too.

"Every single person who comes in to interview, either they’re shocked we offer the benefits we do, or it’s the reason they came in," Muller said. "We have a great reputation in the community and it’s helped support our amazing growth."