Soyyo: Why did you choose to open your original Massage Williamsburg in Brooklyn?
Rachel Beider: I wanted an underserved market with a high median income who could afford our services.
S: Why not Manhattan?
RB: I was looking at parts of the city but they were oversaturated.
When Brooklyn rezoned the waterfront I assumed eventually it would have some growth, so I opened on Wythe and North 6 nine years ago banking on the waterfront growing.
S: And it did.
RB: Boy did it.
S: Was it just you when you started?
RB: Yes, my own private practice.
S: How many people do you currently have on your team?
RB: There are 54.
S: How difficult was it to go from your own private practice to expanding to 54 employees?
RB: In order to grow you need to be able to delegate and admit that you need help.
When I started my business I was doing all the cleaning myself, washing all the laundry, taking every phone call, folding every single sheet, everything alone.
In the end, it’s really a process of understanding that it’s okay if you can’t do everything yourself and you shouldn’t do everything yourself.
Build on your strengths hire for your weaknesses.
S: When did you feel you needed to hire?
RB: It’s been a gradual process.
First I hired a cleaning company then, laundry service, I did all that within the first year and a half.
I couldn’t afford to hire a receptionist, but I could afford a call center.
S: You were doing all this yourself before?
RB: Yes, I identified eight different jobs that I was doing alone. Social Media, PR, HR, Marketing, Partnerships, day to day operations, business development, and finance.
S: That sounds exhausting.
RB: I was very into having a particular vision and doing it a specific way.
Hiring smart talented capable people has quieted a lot of the noise in my head.
It also allowed me to create systems that are scalable.
S: You hire people who can vision beyond your vision?
S: How do you find this talent?
RB: Different ways, I’ll look at craigslist, sometimes upwork. (https://www.upwork.com/)
I met my COO through a friend, she came from a restaurant background and helped a restaurant scale to twelve locations while maintaining phenomenal company culture.
I like to have the feeling that someone has your back and that they have your best intentions, it’s such a relief!
S: Are you still practicing massage therapy?
RB: I’m taking a pause from working in my business to work on my business.
S: Do you miss it?
RB: Well, we do have once a month volunteer work I do with all of my staff.
S: How do you still have time to do volunteer work?
RB: I think it’s important to have a mission driven company that attracts talent who is interested in volunteering.
S: Your whole personality is your company?
RB: You should live your values right? Massage therapists in general seem to be very nurturing, I’m super nurturing. I want to take care of my friends, my family, my clients and my staff. And I realized that nurturing the business as its own entity is very important. When I think about the values that I believe in, I want the company to be an extension of that.
S: What is the Moon Cycle Massage?
RB: I was on a camping trip recently and I was all crampy and miserable, on my period and unhappy.
If I was at home, I’d have my water heater, aromatherapy, raspberry leaf tea, all the things that make me feel really good.
This inspired me to create the Moon Cycle Massage, it’s for women specifically supporting them on their period.
S: What do you offer?
RB: We apply a heat pack to the lower back and abdomen, then use rose geranium infused massage oil, and finish it off with raspberry leaf tea.
We work on points that are good for cramp relief.
The Moon Cycle Massage has been huge for us.
S: Do you select the things that work for you?
RB: Yes. We were already treating woman, so I thought, why don’t we create a service that focuses on period relief.
S: How about the name?
RB: Sometimes people don’t feel comfortable talking about their periods, but if they can say, I’d like to select the moon cycle massage, they don’t have to say anything more than that.
Woman’s care has always been very important to me.
S: Do you have any specific practices for men?
RBl: I haven’t developed any yet, each massage is really tailored to what an individual needs.
S: You have a specialty in Doula?
RB: Yes! A Doula is someone who supports a woman through their labor and helps deliver the baby.
I also do lots of massages during the labor, it’s good to be a Massage Therapist/Doula, there’s nothing better than getting a deep back massage when you’re in labor.
S: Outside of Massage therapy, do you have any other forms of creativity?
RB: I study fragrance, perfumery, and aromatherapy..
I find it really interesting to blend scents and to study the way that scent is created.
S: How does aromatherapy work? Do certain smells trigger certain parts of your brain?
RB: It works in different ways, it depends on what purpose it’s for.
If you have a lot of chest congestion, you want to use something that helps open the lungs so you can breathe better.
Rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, they can help open up the nasal passages, open up the throat and the lungs.
Or, for example, Lavender has a calming and soothing effect, and it’s also really great for burns.
S: Soyyo means I am me in Spanish and the Mantra is Everything I say after I am, I become.
So the idea is that we’re manifesting and inspiring individuals on what they’re going to be. So we like to ask everyone to complete that sentence.
S: I am...
RB: I am resilient and resourceful.
When things happen in life, and I’m run down, worried about the future, I feel I can handle things because I’m resilient and I can create a way to problem solve because I am resourceful.
And as long as I have those two things, no matter what happens, i’m going to be okay.
Rachel Beider is owner of Massage Williamsburg, a Woman-Owned Business with an impressive network of independent New York State licensed therapists.
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