READ KIRSTEN'S STORY AS A SPA OWNER
I'm tired of spa owners being overwhelmed, stressed and very often, broke.
I have combined 23 years as an esthetician, 20 years as a spa owner and a natural talent as a mentor & leader to create a deep understanding of the issues and frustrations salon and spa entrepreneurs face in their business and help them overcome their sales and profit challenges.
As a business coach, I have been
PRO-EDUCATOR AT ESTHETIQUE SPA INTERNATIONAL in Vancouver, BC & Toronto, ON in 2015 and 2016.
Featured in Spa Inc. Magazine as a featured writer on spa business.
SOCIAL MEDIA COACH for SOCIAL MEDIA CAMP 2015 and 2016 in Victoria BC.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS for THE ESTHETICIAN'S AND SPA PROFESSIONAL'S ASSOCIATION of BC (non-profit organization devoted to support, strengthen and make positive changes with spa professionals working in BC.)
Building a Business Wasn’t Always Easy For Me
I started off renting space within a hair salon and quickly grew my spa business to capacity within one year that led me to hire my first staff member. By year two, both of our schedules were full, and it was time to move my spa to a new and much larger location.
This is where it ALL fell apart: huge expenses, huge responsibilities and no clear plan how to dig myself out of a financial mess.
THE UGLY SIDE OF MY BEAUTY BUSINESS
I'm the first to admit: even though I had a knack for what guests wanted and how to operate a business, every small issue I had as a room rental was now a much larger problem that was threatening to close my business.
I couldn’t afford to pay myself, I could barely make payroll, some of my staff were ruling the roost and I was wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. I was miserable and trapped in a sinking ship.
This was all happening within the same year I got married and decided to have a baby.
The stress and pressure was immense.
In hindsight, I realize that I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I had been managing my business based on an antiquated business model that everyone else was following in the spa industry.
With a newborn in my arms, I realized I couldn’t do it all: to be the entrepreneur I dreamed of AND be a fully present mother. Something had to give and I was determined it wasn’t going to my child.
So, within a few months I made the decision to sell my business. Unfortunately, it was completely worthless on paper.
I COULD HAVE SCREWED IT UP
Being the problem solver I am, I made every effort to get serious about my business. I sought out specialized training for the spa industry to learn new strategies and systems that would prove it profitable.
For a full six months, I committed to working extra hours to reorganize and restructure what was not working so I could finally be free to spend more time with my son.
It was a six-month sacrifice I was willing to make for long term gain. It was tough, but I was tougher, and I knew this was just as much about my personal convictions as it was about needing my spa to make more money.
It would have been so easy to make excuses NOT to follow through with the strategies & tactics I learned, but I realized I would be in the same miserable place next year if I didn't take action now. It was crucial that I implement my new profitability and leadership skills asap.
Within a year of my new training, my hard work paid off and I had completely turned my business around. The spa was profitable, I was able to write myself pay checks two weeks and I could pay my vendors on time. But what made the success even sweeter were the positive changes within my team - the troublesome ones were gone and the rest began working together towards our common vision of nurturing our clients.
It was a relief to have time to work on my big picture goals rather than run around putting out fires every day or worry about where the next fire is coming from.
It would have been tempting not to sell my spa because it was running so smoothly. Except that my beautiful baby was morphing into a very busy toddler, which only strengthened my conviction to shift directions in my career. I sold my spa for a profit and handed the business keys over to the new owner with pride. I knew in my heart (and on the books) it was a viable and scalable business that she could run with.
What exactly changed for me & My Spa Back Then?
- I was fed up with struggling. So I made the decision to change. It was just that simple.
- I needed spa-specific business training. I learned that didn't need an MBA to become a successful spa owner, but I knew I needed a structured action plan for unstoppable growth and a nurturing company culture.
- I finally understood how it all needed to work synergistically to see the profit & pride of ownership I was hoping for. I gained invaluable knowledge of which numbers are important to guide and monitor my financial progress, which goals my team should be hitting, and how to intrinsically motivate my staff to sell, lead and work in harmony with me, their peers and our guests.
- The old ways don't work at all. The spa industry needs an overhaul on how we do business; traditional spa business practices keep us broke, stressed and unfulfilled. If more of spa entrepreneurs knew which modern day strategies & systems to implement, they could finally focus on what really matters to them: creating a purposeful business in which to heal, nurture and expand their clients self-worth.
Within a year of opening I had a wait list of 3 months
I took a few years off entrepreneurship to teach esthetics and work as a spa employee until I was ready to create another business.
This time, I had a very clear vision to work smarter not harder.
For almost 10 years, and while my child (and new step kids!) were still in school, I ran a highly successful esthetic studio attached to my home that provided me with scheduling flexibility. Within a year of opening, I had a wait-list of 3 months - without having to do any paid advertising other than my website! I LOVED creating a business that suited my personal needs AND provided me with a healthy income to support myself and my son, especially when my marriage fell apart and the subsequent 4 years of living on a single income.
IT'S TIME TO CREATE A MOVEMENT OF CHANGE IN SPA BUSINESS.
In 2012, I took my extensive experience of being ‘in the trenches’ as a spa owner and the professional development I’ve nurtured for my own business and turned it into an opportunity to share my knowledge with up-and-coming and existing entrepreneurs who don’t want to ‘reinvent the wheel’ of stellar business practices in the spa industry.
In truth, entrepreneurship can feel lonely, and you may not understand this isolation is contributing to stagnant marketing, sales and team culture.
Over the years, I've worked with spa owners all over the world who have realized that to reach their full potential in spa business they must decide to ask for help or, continue to watch their company struggle.
Set aside your fears of "not being good enough" at business because the truth is, you just didn't know enough about the right things.
Having a mentor and coach teaches you to be a better critical thinker and leader so you can make wise, strategic decisions on your own.