The Covid Impact
My industry has been forced to close for 8 months out of the last year. In the months we were allowed to work, business was naturally much quieter than usual. My best month was September 2020.
Despite all this, I have faith that if we can wait it out, business will once again recommence and holistic therapy offering pain relief and helping mental health amongst other things, will be needed more than ever and I want to be prepared for this.
Helping the local NHS Community
During the first lockdown in March 2020 I joined a national campaign to offer some free treatments to local NHS workers (Massagetherapiststogether) as thanks to the amazing but hard and traumatic work they were (and still are) doing. The therapists taking part in the campaign had the choice of offering between 1 to 5 treatments so I chose to offer 5 in total of 1 hour per staff member. 6 months on and those same NHS workers are even more tired, overwhelmed with the amount of patients and having to face situations most of us couldn't imagine.
As I sought financial help for me to realise a dream and create a safe space to be able to deliver these very needed treatments, I realised this could also be a way to once again help the NHS, not by raising money to give to the charity (even though this is obviously very important), but by offering a tangible service to the local NHS community that will be beneficial to their wellbeing. Something I can deliver once I am allowed back to work.
The New Premises
My business, The Recovery Well was launched in October 7 2019. I found a lovely room to make in to my own style treatment room within a great business centre close to Westwood Cross shopping centre. I was very happy there and though space was a little tight and I had bags of washing to cart to and fro every day, I enjoyed being there and my clients were very happy. However, I had a dream since when I started my level 3 Complementary Therapy qualification and that was to own and manage a wellbeing hub...A place that would house my business but also those of others offering other holistic services to improve the wellbeing of our community. This is something I imagined, but couldn't see happening for many years till I was more established.
Views of the current treatment room (pre-Covid) at Marlowe Innovation centre which I will be leaving for my new premises at the end of February 2021
However, I was very lucky! When I heard my neighbour who owned the dance school below my flat was retiring, I approached my landlord to express my interest in renting the property if he decided he would like to buy it (I wasn't being presumptuous, he owned the whole of the rest of the building already!!). To my relief and delight, he did manage to purchase it and subsequently offered it to me! I was (and am still) so excited!
My children Darius and Parisa
As I am a single mum to a 5 and 10 year old, managing a new business, school runs and life in general was tough and also meant I was unable to work many hours. However with the premises being on the ground floor of my building, my life and that of my children will be so much easier. Especially as they get older and don't need me to be with them all the time. There are so many positives to me having this space for my business.
I knew the size (it was the same footprint as my flat), I had seen inside a little, so when I got the keys, I started planning how I wanted the space configured to create treatment rooms. I had a budget of £6000 in mind, which is pretty much all I could scrape together. I then started to get trades round for quotes and that is when I realised my £6K budget was a drop in the ocean. A whole rewire of a 80m2 space, a new fire alarm system (the one in situ was 35 years old), an air extraction system (especially important now we live in a Covid world), stud walls to make 5 new rooms and suspended ceilings covering the whole 80m2 space as well as repairs and tweaks here and there to bring it up to building reg standards meant I was suddenly facing a bill of in excess of £20,000. That is some debt to re-start a business with so I am hoping this method of being paid in advance to work, when I am allowed back to work, will help get the business off the ground.
My Eco/Sustainable Ethos and how it is carried through in to the renovation
For as long as I can remember nature, natural, eco friendly, recycling, upcycling were all things close to my heart and pretty much a default of how I operated. In part it was due to growing up in a very deprived childhood; 2nd hand clothes were normal (I'm not complaining) and making do and being creative with what was available was necessary (again, not complaining). Being naturally creative (I studied art and fashion to degree level), I get great satisfaction from recreating something from materials that others might consider no longer useful. And I get some cool results (the sign for the shop front above is something I rustled up from a pallet that came with the plasterboard for the renovation).
The Bolshoi Builder
When I was choosing the trades to do the renovation (I saw a lot!!) I eventually went with a builder who had the same ethos as me and who showed me some great examples of the work he had done. He is also creative and looks at things from other angles which I really like. He works closely with a carpenter and together they are doing a quality job.
My electricians were chosen because they know the builders well and have worked closely together on many jobs, but also because again, they are like me and have their creative/upcycling streak. We speak the same language!
End of week 1 of the build
So, I guess you'll want to know what I'm doing with this very pink dance school?
The short answer is I'm creating my own treatment room for The Recovery Well (Treatment Room 1) and will be hiring out the other 2 treatment rooms to other therapists who have the same level qualifications or higher for whole days or half days.
There is a kitchen for myself, eventual staff and those who hire the spaces too which also needs renovating.
In addition, I am creating The Pod (podcast studio on plan above), a soundproofed studio kitted out with green screen, mic, headphones, PC, cam etc. so that if anyone needs a quiet space to create and focus, they have it. I will be hiring out the podcast studio by the hour.
The Wellbeing Shop
There is already a pre-existing shop at the front of the property. This will serve as a reception but also a shop for authentic, natural products for mental and physical wellbeing. In it I will stock products for the home that will increase wellbeing such as items to use in a meditation space or just ethical and useful, aromatherapy products, hand made products, soy wax candles etc. I will also be setting up a refill station for Faith in Nature products so clients can bring their own bottles to refill. I use faith in Nature washing detergent for all the laundry at The Recovery Well.
What people say about The Recovery Well
Paradise Experiences - themed massage experiences using essential oil blends, music, temperature and room dressing to create a feel for a location such as the Middle East or Mediterranean. There are four types!
JP-"I’ve had a couple of aromatherapy treatments with Sandra and they were both excellent. The environment created is very relaxing and makes you feel that you are actually in the Mediterranean! Sandra goes through all the different oils with you and you come up with a blend according to what you’re needs are. The smells of the oils mixed together are amazing. I thoroughly recommend a visit . Looking forward to returning after lockdown."
JC - "Although I'm not naturally a person who finds it easy to relax, after having 3 reflexology treatments I find I'm looking forward to the next. Tension in my arms and shoulders has dissipated and I generally feel more zestful in my approach to life. Sandra is very attentive, I couldn't ask for better."
KV -"I find Sandra's massages very relaxing - she has attentive, nurturing approach, and also the environment she created is incredibly peaceful and aids relaxation. I suppose the main benefit for me is to do with my mental health - my mind gets quiet during the treatment. It is very rarely that I experience silence within myself. During Sandra's treatment, I do. I feel calm and clear for the rest of the day, and I usually have an uninterrupted, peaceful sleep at night - which is a rear treat for insomniac like myself."
Yet another wonderful hour lost in total relaxation on my Aromatherapy massage. The mixture of oils prepared by Sandra were absolutely amazing. Can't wait to go again
The image above is one of my old promotional images for social media.
Hot Stone Massage
I haven't delivered any hot stone massages since February last year...We weren't allowed to re-open till July and when I did re-open, the services were stripped right back to give minimal contact time. In addition the extra time given between treatments (we were advised by our professional associations to leave 30 minutes between) meant hot stone massages were no longer a service that I could earn money with. I really look forward to doing them again in the future, I hope not too far in to the future.
As part of my treatments I offer meditation or can do guided meditation as a stand alone service. I can and have done these online also. I have attended group meditations on and off since I was a teenager and have had great feedback from my clients.
There is a great variety of rewards that I hope you will enjoy. I will be compiling a recorded meditation as a reward for donation which will be created in my podcast studio when completed.
Below are the keyring designs you will receive for £5 donation. They are designed by me and can be personalised with a name or number on the other side. (Please note the Nature will be brown as I am using Pyrography to make the design in the wood.)
If you've read this far, thank you! I hope you will feel inspired to help but more than anything, find inspiration to seek the things that will make you happy and just be happy with the little things of everyday!