Need to Get Outdoors? How About a Wellness Camp

25 07 2007

This isn’t a fluffy spa retreat where you lie around like Cleopatra all day, or a fitness boot camp, where they make you suffer with no caffeine, sugar or rest. This is a great weekend getaway, right in your own backyard. Sonia Thomas is the founder of the Wellness Camp, ladies only weekend retreats. Think of enjoying nature with a bunch of girlfriend’s who are able to help you find your center, and focus in on your mind body connection. It’s kind of like that. An informal social setting with physical activity, relaxing massages’, and some great conversation. She covers everything from nutrition, to mountain biking. This also includes time to share life stories, and get focused in on your life’s goals. She even provides a lighthearted wellness camp “candidate” quiz on her site. Check it out.The next retreat begins, August 3rd. With an informative, introductory meeting on July 31st.


These are low cost retreats, from $20 donations to $220 package plans. What ever plan you choose you will receive benefit from the well rounded, flexible curriculum, while getting your nature fix, in the mountains of American Fork Canyon. If you don’t happen to be in the Utah Valley, come visit, or contact Sonia directly about doing customized retreats in other locations.This is for women from all walks of life. Those who are just gathering life stories to share, and those who have years of insight, that only comes from experience. Join us for for a great adventure.


She has also authored a few books, one of her most recent being, “Holo Cuentos & Holy Poesias” (Tales and Poetry) This is a quaint collection of fictional short stories and visual poems, inspired by her life and experiences. This edition is in Spanish, but I’m sure this bilingual author will be coming out with more in the future for both Spanish and English readers. Besides, you always needed an excuse to learn Spanish, now here it is. You can purchase this online or at your local Sam Wellers book store.

I recently sat down with Sonia for lunch and discussed her wishes, philosophy, networking, and desires for her new wellness camp business. What I loved, was the down to earth style and sincerity of her passion, and her triumph in some life changing experiences, which you can read in full on her website. She has background training in several areas, including Feng Shui, and aromatherapy, and a degree in Communications and Broadcasting.

She describes her philosophy as “….the eternal knowledge and constant search for learning….” A statement I can relate to, as a self described information hound. Originally from Argentina, she has been living here for seven years, and has been successful in her pursuit of learning and loving life. We exchanged some words in Spanish, as I love to practice the language, having lived in Central America for years. I can admire anyone who takes a leap, moves to a new country, and starts a business. I’ve been there, I know the challenges you are presented with, and the inner motivation that it can take in the face of misfortune and unknown adventure. A great quote this reminds me of, goes something like this; “Never fear shadows, as it simply means there is a light shining somewhere nearby.” To me this translates to looking past the “dark” spaces and phases in life, and creating the life you want, rather than react to the life you have.

Enough of the sentimentality. Get out there and enjoy some time with yourself, and some great women. Sign up for the Wellness Camp, take advantage of Sonia’s wide range of services, and check out her book. That is meant in the kindest way of course. Let us know what you think of our affiliates, we always want to get feedback from our readers.


Beauty, Fashion, Skincare, Makeup and Wellness – She’s got it all!

25 07 2007

From time to time, it’s great to share our affiliates with our readers and not just keep them all to ourselves. And, of course being the serial cyber networker that I am, I always enjoy meeting another associate in the beauty industry. Welcome to a whirlwind of fabulous skincare, wellness tips, fashion and more…..Leah Patterson is a multi talented women business owner, who recently provided some insights into the esthetic industry for an article I was writing. And since I am partial to supporting women business owners, being chair of a local women’s business center here in Salt Lake City, I am delighted to introduce her flavor and talents here.

leahpatteson.jpgIn a recent interview with Leah, I was able to gather plenty of sage insights into this driven women. I’ve included some bits and tips below;

Her professional background. I have my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. I’ve studied herbal medicine extensively and most notably for a year with herbalist Robin Rose Bennett as an apprentice. I began teaching classes in herbal medicine and natural products making in 2002. I also started a non-profit organization in 2002, Soulistic Sanctuary as a forum through which to educate low-income and minority communities on holistic health and living. In 2005, I started a mobile spa business while living in Chicago and sold my own line of handmade natural body care products. In March of this year, I started Etniq Mineral Cosmetics.

When asked about how she got to where she is now, and her level of satisfaction, she responded that she had done a lot of soul searching like many of us do, and that over all she still wasn’t satisfied and had more goals on the horizon. The true trait of an entrepreneur at heart, she was very philosophical about her approach, and definetley felt she had a destiny to follow. Here’s how she describes her growth. I ended up in the holistic health and beauty field because of my commitment to living a better life. Early on after college, I was very committed to educating as many people as I could about holistic lifestyle choices and natural living options. This lead me into teaching seminars and weekly classes as well as speaking engagements. I ended up in the holistic health and beauty field because of my commitment to living a better life. Early on after college, I was very committed to educating as many people as I could about holistic lifestyle choices and natural living options. This lead me into teaching seminars and weekly classes as well as speaking engagements. Through esthetics is where I found I had a love for makeup artistry. This is what I’ve been currently working on and developing – my skills in makeup artistry and my own mineral makeup line. Etniq brings together a lot of my passions – artistry in creating beautiful looks, creativity and science in making vibrant eyeshadow and blush colors and creating various products, and holistic health in the sense that minerals are of the earth naturally and can even improve the health of your skin through their use. etniqlogo.jpg

Of course I had to ask about business, challenges, tools and personal success. Here’s what she had to say. My biggest challenge right now is rebuilding my life while building a business. In life there are always decisions to make and I have to make sure I run my decisions through at least two lenses – what’s going to put my life on track and what’s going to advance my business. My most valuable tool…..Feeling Good. Honestly, getting myself into a good feeling place puts me in the space I need to be in to do everything else I need to do. It keeps me motivated and excited about life.

And finally the sageness of sageness, what advice can other women business owners provide, that can help others out there accomplish their dreams, reach for the stars, and realize that they already posses the confidence and traits needed to champion their cause…..themselves. Take care of you, and what you put out will come back multiplied. Leah elaborates on her own advice below for our readers, which I agree gives some great objectives;

Finding YOUR PEOPLE is the most important thing I’ve found. I was taught this concept by Chellie Campbell through her books the Wealthy Spirit and Zero to Zillionaire. I used to be overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to get people to value what I had to offer. When I started to change my thinking to the realization that there are already people out there that will value what I have to offer, things began to change. I was no longer concerned with speaking to or changing the masses. I realized that there were billions of people in the world and all I had to do was find MY People, the ones who wanted what I had to offer and who thought I was great for offering it and who needed it in the exact way that I presented it. This eased so much stress from me and I became focused on finding MY people. And I began to attract MY people. And in a lot of cases, I found that my people were already right around me. I think if you remember and embrace this, it will make it so much easier for you to continue, especially when the going gets tough.

As the years have gone by, I’ve realized that everyone has some type of mentor, and some advice or words that have set the stage, and propelled them into motion. It’s always good to ask a person, especially a business owner, what inspires them. One way of doing this is to ask a quote they favor, something that gives them personal power, and reminds them of something within themselves. These are the quotes that ignite our lives. We all have them, one of my favorites is by Anais Nin —–“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” These quotes can usually tell you a little about a person, and how they are driven. How? I’ll leave that up to you to figure out. Let’s take a look at Leah’s favorite quote:

“I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul.” ~from Invictus by William Ernest Henley. My 7th grade spelling teacher Ms. Lee taught us this poem and it has meant so much to me over the years.

I’m sure Leah who say if Ms. Lee is out there, thank you. I can tell you that she is on her way to becoming captain of her fate, as she looks to the future. Within five years, she has plans to open the first of I’m sure, a series of Etiniq Skin Studios, launch her makeup line into a well known main stream offering, and be recognized for her talents in makeup and skincare by working in the arts, theater, film and dance. I have this dream of a space where all my passions can exist – so that means doing amazing makeovers and photoshoots for clients (my target is new and rising talent and arts organizations) as well as maintaining their skin in amazing condition with my own line of herbal skin care.” says Leah when dreaming of her future vision.

Etniq is a mineral line, developed by someone with experience, and directed towards providing solutions to women of color.“I want to make sure that women of color are represented in the mineral makeup revolution and know they have options too” This includes, latinas, african-american etc. Being in the beauty industry is ever changing, and Leah see’s the future trends going towards awareness of a total beauty concept, not just a cookie cutter vision. A refreshing direction.

Finally things are moving towards more natural care, a global view of beauty, and a true sense that a whole, well-rounded, and happy individual is what makes a beautiful individual. We’re finally starting to see this being promoted in popular culture, which I think is amazing and so very promising.

The global view of beauty is a great concept, and one I hope to see more of too. This can mean many different things, but most importantly it should be a reminder to celebrate our uniqueness. So what does someone in this industry do to keep themselves healthy and their skin looking great? Well Leah maintains that a good diet and exercise are at the core of her routine. I drink tons of water, I am religious about my cleansing routine (morning and night) and I do a mask once a week. I also dance professionally and so that keeps me in shape and helps keep toxins out of my system. I also try to keep fresh foods in my diet as much as possible. I smile a lot and keep good thoughts and feelings revolving through my mind as much as possible too:).

Among all this, Leah still finds time to share her expertise as an online editor with Bella Online, a site for “the voice of women” to share articles, contacts, resources, and information on topics from beauty and health, to relationships, food and wine. This is where our worlds collided as I came across her article on one women’s horror story in the esthetic industry. After reading about what she was doing, I felt we had a lot to share and learn from each other. I hope you enjoyed getting to know Leah as much as I did.
If you’d like to learn more about her products, services, or just ask a question, you can contact her directly at Etniq. We wish her the best for her future endeavors, and hope you will support her services.

What’s a Business Incubator? The Coolest, Most Amazing Networking Zone Ever…….

24 07 2007

Incubators, what are they? Incubators are usually reserved as a location that new businesses and start up companies can access, to help them launch in those boot strapped phases. The assistance of a business incubator in combination with mentors, can provide you with everything from a physical space to house your temporary company, to software, tools, equipment and advice. It’s a successful partnership for many new businesses. We have access to one of our local incubators at the Miller Business Innovation Center, in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. A great place to create opportunity.Though our majority focus is in the spa and beauty industry, I thought it was significant to open up the opportunity of women based incubators to those of you who may be looking into expanding your practice, opening a spa, or launching a beauty product. The power of networking and utilizing tools correctly in your R & D of a business  start up, can enhance your skills and create potential for yourself that you may not have seen. Take a look at our highlighted business below. If you’d like the opportunity to speak with a professional about business development you can contact me directly, or take advantage of the tools below.

The Ladies Who Launch Incubators, our featured affiliate today, is another type of social networking that helps people develop their business ideas, with a fun social and planning program to a successful launch. This is a month long directive, meeting once a week, that provides homework assignments related to your new venture, and some great networking. This is one step in the road to business success; “The coolest, most amazing networking zone ever born to women.” Those are the words of Erin Olson, Salt Lake City Director of Ladies Who Launch, a national women’s networking movement. She is obviously motivated when she talks about introducing her local “incubator” sessions. Going on monthly, you can attend the next incubator every Tuesday in August, starting on the 7th, in Salt Lake City. You can find out more on Ladies Who Launch. Or contact Erin directly at

This busy lady, is is also a small business owner, having recently launched her new fashion based company called, Haute and Prim. and featured on the cover of local magazine Wasatch Woman

cover_story_july-aug.jpg The Haute and Prim program is focused on “tweens” and young women who are interested in the beauty and fashion industry, particularly modeling. The great thing about this company is that it is not another talent agency looking to book girls into international contracts where they may be exposed to more than they are ready for. Erin’s focus is to provide a healthy outlook on the industry, and show each young girl how they can be beautiful and successful, without sacrificing their modesty or principals. What a great concept! I wish I would have had something like this around when I was younger. It would have provided a lot of insights and support. I’m sure there are plenty of mom’s out there who are happy about this program, along with Erin’s style and fashion camps that are open to all girls, shapes, sizes and colors. To find out more about this and Erin, you can check out the site, and attend the upcoming fashion show at Studio 600 in Salt Lake City. If your not located in Salt Lake City, you can still contact Erin for great advice and consultation on how to implement these types of things in your own family or business. Haute and Prim. And don’t forget to attend and support the upcoming incubator!


Salt Lake City Consulting Company to Take on International Contracts in Costa Rica and Guatemala

14 07 2007

July 5th 2007, Salt Lake City — Toiling over your new business CAN be rewarding, when you finally land that great contact! After relocating her Spa Development company from Costa Rica to Salt Lake City, Liz Galloway, President of Lotus Effects Consulting, was prepared to work 70 hour week’s to launch her new business been an exciting and sometimes unknown road, the past year.” says Galloway as she recounts the time and effort put into making great alliances and providing key services for her market. She works with not only local, and national clients, but international as well. She can now add management of international spas to her list of “things to do.”

Lotus Effects Consulting has aligned with Costa Rica based Med Spa, Laboratorios Masc, or Masc Skincare Laboratories owned by Luis Sandoval,, to handle the remote and on site management services, training and standards needed to build a great spa and great service. Excited to continue working in Costa Rica and Latin America, Ms. Galloway is currently looking into the details of more international contracts as her spa management services expands. Laboratorios Masc provides everything from nutritional services, to on site housing, doctors, personal trainers and personal chefs. The goal is to provide a full menu of amenities for the locals or people who are visiting, along with taking advantage of the popular medical tourism sector. Working with a top U.S. Plastic surgeon you can have a cosmetic procedure and then enjoy a private recovery at the spa. Working both in Guatemala, Sandoval’s home country, and Costa Rica, the home base for the Med Spa, this team of professionals will cater to your needs. Galloway will be the public relations face for the Medical Spa in the U.S., along with increasing investment opportunities for the spa’s development.

Creating consistent, accurate practices that are followed with strict care and guidelines, is the backbone of Galloway’s consulting services. Having worked many years in Spa Development in Costa Rica, before returning to the U.S., she knows how things work, what needs to be done, and has the contacts and language to function as a local. “I’m happy and appreciative, to be doing what I am, and I look forward to the continued growth of my company, and providing quality service to my clients.” Galloway says of her business. “I’m back in the great Salt Lake, but I’m still international.” This partnership will be a mutually beneficial result for both companies.

There is a lot of development in Costa Rica both in economic and sustainable growth, along with the spa, resort and wellness sectors. We are not only taking on a new alliance with this Medical Spa, but opening up investment opportunities for individual people who want to take advantage of owning a little tropical piece of heaven. As we expand the location into long term stay facilities, medical tourism retreats, and a full service wellness location, we are also looking into offering interested investors in a guaranteed vacation spot each year, and an on site spa they can visit while making a smart financial investment.

I have a big personal interest in the area, and along with working here, I try to give back to the local communities. One way of doing this, is working with a non profit called Domes for the World. We locate groups of need and help them with sustainable housing and self sufficient lifestyles. We are currently in touch with an indigenous group called FUNDEICO, who represents the local tribes in need of support and assistance in this area. “I recently visited the director of this foundation, and one of the designated sites for building.” Galloway said recently. “It was great to be able to get directly involved, and help launch this project, rather than just donating money somewhere.” I look forward to it’s success.

Contact for more information, interviews or business services at 801 637 5235. Check out a short photo clip below of MASC Med Spa.

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Are You Taking Advantage of Your Human Capital?

13 07 2007

There have been lots of stories both good and bad about the “typical” practices of hiring in the spa industry. As a trainer and consultant I see a lot of this from the back end. We we are typically trying to create is a level of profitability for the owner or main practitioner, while still honoring the need for therapists to make a living. Sometimes this is a conflict. Therapists who were practicing in a spa, who are now a spa owner or operator can go to the extreme of “nuturer” or “nazi”. What I mean by this is they tend to want to provide everything to the therapists they didn’t get when they were in that position, or they have decided it is payback time and they are going to finally reap the great rewards of being the owner in charge. Well, neither extreme will work. There is a fine balance between creating a good and rewarding place to work and making your busines viable. I’d like to touch base on a few key topics within the subject of hiring and profitability.

Hiring Best Practices and Resources

To use best practices in the industry, first we need to understand what it is we want out of our potential candidates and we have we assess the return on our “investment”. Let’s take a look at a few questions we should be asking ourselves.

  • How much is our human capital worth?
    • Well, a lot in our industry. If we don’t have well trained, motivated talent for our spa production then we certainly can’t expect to gain or retain clients. There is a continually lack of correct, great client relationship management (CRM) in our industry. With it being harder and harder to set ourselves, our practices and our spa facilities apart from the competition, over the top fabulous client services better be at the top of your list. I know everyone says they provide that, and many think they do. But how are you measuring that assessment? Are you tracking client satisfaction and responses? Are you addressing their needs? It is what your clients and your employees say about you that can gauge the wealth of human capital in your business. Bottom line is how does your organization behave and what are you going to do about it? Great employers utilize their human capital to the fullest advantage and create a high quality of work life. It is proven that if employees are happy the business is healthy, there have been studies on it, vast articles written about it and interviewing questions are based on it. In the end saving you dollars, and headaches. That is worth a lot in my book.
  • Where will investment in talent have the greatest impact?
    • This has to do with making some decisions as to what you should do in initial investment to gain and retain the best talent. This could be in thorough on the job training that enhances a career. Maybe it is in a consultant or employment firm to screen and interview potential talent. It could also be the decision of your compensation structure or ability to offer health plans or profit sharing. All of these are an investment on the employers part and affect your profit margin. You will need to weigh out where you are able to add some benefit and perceived “extras” while still being able to see a return. This will be specific to your needs, assets, cash flow, debt service and sales forecasts with regards to business planning. You can benefit in this area from a good consultant and trainer to help you get the most for your money.
  • What is the right amount of training?
    • This is the million dollar question. I’m not just talking about the level of training for front of the line employees but in larger businesses (spas, resorts, retreats, medical etc.) the executive staff as well. Let’s take a look at some management decisions and reactions that are common in our (and all) industries.
    • Rude, demanding =Low employee morale and productivity
    • Double standards =Employees resentful and abstinent
    • Plays favorites =Passive/aggressive behavior
    • Poor cash management =Fear, suspicion, low morale
    • Inconsistency =Disrespect/challenge rules
    • (Management layout credit Preston Inc.)
    • You can see with these cause and effect scenarios what can happen in an organization. This goes for management as well as service staff. If there is not strong leadership to begin with it will be more difficult to create sound decisions and have the confidence that you have the tools and information you need to steer your business to success.
  • What is the link between our people and financial results?
    • Direct link. If you’ve ever looked into organizational behavior (OB) you understand how the study of human behavior (our human capital) acts within an organization. Our industry just like any other business has processes it needs to follow to be successful. It is a culture in itself. If you can understand a little about the individual and collective “cultures” we are working in, you can implement more successful strategies within your own organization. Most organization’s today don’t operate within the traditional paradigm, with top down management or a division or order givers and order takers. It is more informal, and in some senses more functional because the new generation of a business organization utilizes ALL of it’s human talent pool and creates an interdependent internal system. This is especially true in the spa and beauty industry. We have the ability to be creative and drive trends, we love to help and heal people and we are dealing with a different set of individuals. So the link between what your human output is and the result of what you financial input is, has a lot to do with that interdependent relationship. Find out your feasibility levels for new and existing businesses with financial statements.

How Not to Hire

We’ve probably all had a nightmare interview or hiring story that we can share. Feel free to post them here for review and response. We are put through practicals, free services and then more interviewing. Ok, well it’s pretty standard in the industry to provide a practical before your hired, but should we expect them to do it for free? I know some companies that pay for their candidates time, after a thorough first interview to measure their personality and check credentials, background, references etc. In addition to this, should we expect that our therapists can survive on commission alone? This may be great for an owner who can claim little liability and have free talent on hand until a “walk in” or booking comes in, but what about the therapists who need to have some security? This is a hot debate, and in my own opinion there should be a compensation system that benefits both sides. This could be based on performance with motivated therapists able to earn higher commissions, and reward them for improvement and success, and possible profit sharing for long term employees once you reach a 10-14% profitability rate. But what about those dead hours? You hold the responsibility of keeping clients coming in the door to keep your therapists busy and your business healthy. Whatever you decide on this, get creative, look at your bottom line, and consult a professional with questions.

Don’t treat your therapists like employees but expect them to act as independent contractors. This is not only walking a fine line with the labor board, but is an unfair practice. Most people do it because they think it will save them money, when it actually causes dissent. If you cannot plan correctly in round one of your daily cash flow enough to run the company, pay employee payroll and operational costs, the harsh reality is you may have made a mistake in being in business. We’ve had some feedback on new therapists coming into this growing industry, but instead of the windfall of cash flow that schools and recruiters are promising they are being met with boot strapped companies and faulty commission based systems that don’t allow them to make a living or pay back the expense of school loans. Competition is fierce and it can be difficult. Going into business for yourself is one option that can allow you to be more profitable, whether it is a private practice or spa, but it can also be a mistake for some who can’t balance the lean times with growth. However as some practitioners have found that these lean times can come with employment too. See excerpt below:

“…….She tells me they’ve decided not to go forward with the second interview and she thanks me for my time and apologizes for the wait. This is the point where I become perplexed and pissed off. You mean to tell me because I wanted to speak to the owner first, I’m being penalized and denied an interview? I took two buses and a train over to sit in this establishment’s office for an hour and a half for them to tell me no thanks. …..”

This is one women’s experience of bad interview/hiring practices with no explanation or apology to boot.Check out the full article at Bella Online Thanks to Leah Patterson for the use of this article.

She has some good points here, and there are some faulty practices in our industry regarding compensation and the belief that profitability (sometimes wrongly so) comes easily with owning and operating a spa. Why do many individuals who own spas think that they don’t need to treat it in the same structure as any other business? To be fair to the side of management, the position itself is a a unique challenge that carries many performance responsibilities, including supporting the work efforts of others and making a profit. Let’s focus on being effective managers and owners, and providing a combination of task performance based rewards and job satisfaction as we watch this industry grow. To find our more about hiring practices, contact us here or check out some resources.(Some of these may not be spa specific, but many times pulling correct practices from other industries makes the best sense.)

Benefiting from your Human Capital

Job satisfaction = The positive feeling about ones’ work and work environment. This can be captured by providing benefits to your employees, whether it’s monetary or not. Reward them with a gift certificate to a competing spa, maybe it’s an opportunity for additional education, building morale with quarterly employee appreciation. You can save yourself a lot of time and bad feelings by accessing the already existing pool of talent to become your best ambassadors and idea generators.

The top four functions of management are planning, leadership, organizing and controlling or (PLOC) There is a lot that goes into this, rightfully so. If we expect our choice of candidates to have the skill set, motivation and training that we need, and we demand they meet performance goals, have well defined job descriptions and consistency in delivery, then we need to provide them with something in return. A fair delivery of opportunity, growth and support. We can do that with the PLOC system and providing a good compensation plan with a well fed net return. Individual differences and diversity can create a successful business environment if managed correctly, just as well as a more homogenous work culture. Take advantage of your human capital like other industries do. You’d be surprised how loyal and helpful employees can be if they feel appreciated. Most practitioners are well versed in their modality and want a little identity and autonomy. Let’s give it to them and create a rewarding system for both sides. Am I living in a fantasy land to believe this can be done? Possibly, but in my line of work with spa consulting, I know there are ways to make this work.

Take our Industry Training Survey and You May Recieve a Unique Spa Giftpack!

6 07 2007

Training issues in the spa and wellness issue grow as our industry grows. With an annual rate of growth at 18%, with new owners, concepts and developers emerging everyday, it looks like our training issues will continue to grow with them. What I mean by training issues, is the possibility of the lack of proper training, a limited talent pool of really trained employees, rising costs, access, travel etc. It’s something we need to address, and you can help us create more comprehensive, cost effective and accessible training by giving us your feedback. Each completed survey will be entered in a drawing for a Spa Giftpack from Sabai Spa. The winner will be announced here. Enter here:

Rock this Urban video!

5 07 2007

Check out some of our highlights from the Urban Lifestyle Womens’ event held Thursday June 28th. A great forum for social networking for business or personal.Thanks to our attendees and participants of Urban Lifestyle Women’s Exchange. See some of our highlights and look for more to come. Our next event was scheduled for July 25th, however because of request from attendees to have it later because of the local 24th day holiday, we will have our next event on Wed. August 29th @ 6:00 p.m. Save the date! Pre Register now, and bring a friend. Thanks to My Shape, Finest Accessories, Solissa, Studio Soiree, Dr. Kara, Daisy Johnson, Avidere, Panache, and Domes for the World.

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