Lynn: “Ha, sometimes I take a look around and go, “Who the hell put me in charge of all of this?!” You know, I started out renting a conference room in a chiropractor’s office with my little curtain blowing in the breeze and charging $25 for an hour-long massage. We now have 22 massage therapists and 13 rooms.”
Ramona: “Really though, who put her in charge?!”
Ramona: “Teasing. It’s actually an interesting business she fell into and it’s all because she threw her back out moving a copier 20 years ago. We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of DeStress Express this year and it holds a lot of significance. Mom was my age when she started. When a woman turns 36, there’s something different, you know? You’re past your insecure 20’s and you reach a point where you say, ‘I am who I am!’ Maybe part of that has to do with losing my husband, James, this year; when you’ve been through enough, you learn to manage things differently and there’s a shift in perspective that happens.
That 'I am who I am' mentality flows over into the way we run our business. We don’t alter who we are; we hire strong personalities and, hell, we’ve even fought in front of clients. Years ago, I had just had a baby and needed something flexible and my mom was looking for a front desk receptionist for DeStress Express. When I started, I identified a lot of ways to maximize processes and become more efficient, and we butted heads from the start. But that’s what makes us different- we’re sassy and serene. I had an idea for the business and really recognized our potential for growth, but she was happy with where we were. So, I went behind her back and would take my idea and pepper it into the clients and have them tell her. Now it’s all coming back full circle and I’m coming back in a new way.”
Lynn: “We laugh about our personalities and our differences but when it comes down to business, we don’t fluff. We have a lot of fun with clients but when it comes to their care, we’re dead serious. We do a lot of deep tissue injury work and we’re going to take the natural strength in our hands and go to the depth that your body needs.”
Ramona: “Since we take client care so seriously, we can be very blunt (almost to a fault) and we’re not going to tip toe. When we’re hiring therapists we’re very straight forward. We ask anyone interviewing for the front desk, ‘Are you willing to get massaged?’ They have to be able to describe it to others on the phone. It’s called experience marketing. That’s what makes us different- we say things that are sometimes risqué but people respond to it because we’re honest.”
Lynn: “Typically, franchise owners haven’t worked in the room themselves. As a small business owner, you’re the product. When you’re the one doing the work it creates this ownership; hands on the body and that experience make a huge difference in how you run your business.”
Ramona: “These are things we want to share with other business owners. We’re launching a project called Spapreneur; we’ve perfected and packaged what we’ve built here to show other businesses how they can scale and grow their client book. I love the day spa, its story and simple solutions. We’ll have a podcast and Lynn will tell a story. We combine our wit and pull the business lessons from her stories because there’s no source of training for those extreme situations.”
Lynn: “Outside of this company, you listen to therapists talking and they’re so prudish. Spa podcasts are so boring! That’s where our approach is different. We encourage everyone to be in touch with their sensual side in a holistic way- sensuality does not make it sexual! Be in tune with your body. Be comfortable with your body. You know, no one else is doing what we’ve done here and it’s because we’re not handing out pens to pull in business. We’re just being us and sharing that with others.”
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