I set up Beyond the Stone and Pestle in August 2019, after realising that massage was the way I could help heal people. Just like many, I have first hand experience of both mental and physical health issues, and learning the art of healing has helped overcome and manage those ailments for me and those I treat over the years.
Beyond the Stone and Pestle is an opportunity to help everyone I can; I'm from a working class background myself, I live hand to mouth, and see massage and wellbeing as a necessity, not a luxury, so I keep my prices as low as I can and offer concessions for retired and low income clients. I also try to use the business as a platform to raise awareness and end the stigma associated with invisible illnesses.
Before March, in the short 6 months I had been open, Beyond the Stone and Pestle had been such a success and I was well on my way to achieving my dream.
Unfortunately, like so many small business owners during this pandemic, I've been one of those ineligible for any financial aid, bar universal credit. While this £800 a month covers my rent at home, my bills between personal and business amount to £2000+ each month. I managed to get relief from some creditors for a couple of months, and applied for many remote and local jobs to no avail, so debts are beginning to mount now.
Now the government have given my industry the green light to reopen, I've found the shop I rent to be in a state of disrepair after a leak from the apartment above, so I'm currently redecorating this myself (after doing it all before opening just 1 year ago!), and hope to reopen in September.
Pre-lockdown I was booked 2 months in advance, and clients paid when they booked or block-booked appointments. This means, once I reopen I will have no income whilst I treat those rebooked clients.
I am very lucky in that I have had friends and family help me and my two dogs, but the strain has really taken it's toll on my mental health. As an advocate for mental health, and it's a huge part of what I deal with as a Holistic Therapist, I've still found it increasingly difficult to cope during this time, and have struggled to see any way out of this.
I was reluctant to ask for money, but without some sort of help, I will be unable to survive this. Not just in the business sense, but personally, it will feel like everything I worked for has been for nothing. For those clients I see every week or every month, whose physical and mental health has also been declining the past 5 months, who rely on their visits to me to get through their own hard lives, I'll feel like I've let those down too.
So I'm only asking for your kind donations to cover some PPE costs to reopen the business, and just to help me and the dogs live for the next 2 months until I'm able to start earning again, so we don't spiral into a hole we're unable to escape from.
Thank you for your time, understanding, and consideration.