What inspires you as a professional in the spa business?
I’m inspired by my wonderful staff and clients. I opened the spa hoping to do something
that I loved. I love the beauty industry and had worked at a spa prior.
I thought I could do it a little better and my own way. I wanted people to have an amazing experience and to make people feel at home. It’s a great environment for people to work in,
for our clients to be taken care of, and to do what I love to do.
Talk about your journey as a woman at the top of your field and the challenges you faced along the way.
I’ve been blessed with a fairly smooth journey. My biggest challenge has been balancing home life and work life. There is never enough time in the day to get it all done. The biggest struggle is that I was a stay-at-home mom. I’m still devoted to my children – and now I have grandchildren. What’s hard is trying to make time and run a successful business. If I need time for one, the other one lacked.
As women, we feel we have to do it all, we think we can do it all, and honestly, we can’t. It was hard for me to balance.
I just did my thing and people came. We borrowed money to open the spa and my husband did the construction, so we were lucky there. As I was growing the business, I did everything: cleaned, painted, put together all the furniture, hung everything. Our staff started out with four total, and I went about growing it in a slow way. We grew by word of mouth, telling family members, and so on. Now we are up to 15 employees. I did it slowly and chugged along, and I tried to give the best services when people came in. You have ups and downs, but you have to put on a smiling face and try to fix the problems.
Why did you get into this line of work?
I’ve always loved the beauty industry and knew I wanted to do something in the field. When I first graduated high school, I went to beauty school in Lancaster, particularly for makeup. I thought I was going to do something for models on the runway, but I didn’t follow that path. I went to a modeling agency. But then I said to myself “this isn’t going to work unless I go to NYC,” so I strayed from the beauty industry and went back to college for business management. Then in college, I switched to education, but as a junior in college and a co-teacher in the classroom, I realized I didn’t love it. I knew right there it was not for me. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons; to be there for my kids’ schedules. You should be passionate about whatever you do.
I always loved skincare and makeup and nails and doing hair. I remember doing my two sisters’ hair, curling it and putting it up in different styles. When I went to beauty school I loved it. Why not do something you love?
In what ways have you learned to become adaptable and flexible in building your business?
I’ve learned that life can change in an instant and the only way to cope is to be adaptable. I’ve learned to not get too upset when circumstances out of my control arise. I just figure it out the best way I can. When I first opened, I’d be beside myself if a client was unhappy or a pedicure was scheduled wrong and my girl couldn’t do it. I’d think – why is this happening? It shouldn’t be happening. I learned to try to adapt, apologize, say “we can fix that” and “what can we do to make it better?” I go with my gut and I learn from my decisions and move forward. Adapt. That is the word for sure.
What is your advice to women seeking to rise in their profession?
It takes time, hard work, dedication and sometimes sacrifice, but it’s worth the climb. People don’t see it, but it’s like the tip-of the-iceberg effect: they see you succeeding and don’t see what you went through. Like there was a time a client screamed at me and when she had left, I went in the back and cried.
You put in a lot of time and you kind of miss out on other things, but you have to be “here” to get “there.” And then you’re in a good place, where you can delegate and have some time to yourself.
How would you define “success”?
Making a living doing something I love! I can honestly say I love what I do. I love being around people and making them feel good. Skin care is my forte, facials are my thing. I do everything here. Success is having a business, a spa, that people love to come to as their escape.
What are your strengths?
I am hard-working, compassionate, empathetic and devoted. I feel having empathy is the most important. With clients and staff I always try to put myself in their shoes to really understand them. I think it’s one of my best qualities.
How do you develop yourself and continue to improve?
I try to read up on new products and treatments in the industry. I attend continuing education classes to stay current and informed. I read about 10 magazines a day, and go online looking for health and beauty news. I like trying new pedicure products. I talk to the other spa owners and professionals in town. We all get along, and we send each other business.
What are your “words to live by”?
Always try to find the positive in everything you do. Don’t dwell on bad experiences, learn from them. It’s going to be a good day. Give love/receive love and be positive, and it will come back to you.