How a wellness business thrives despite COVID

photo of people doing handshakes
FROM LEFT: Tuya, DC Registered Massage Therapist; Agli, DC Registered Massage Therapist/DC Registered Esthetician; Frances Lutz, DC licensed acupuncturist and owner Jaime Bohl.

Ohen Henry Ford said, “Coming together is the beginning. Staying together is progress. Working together is success,” he might have described Lavender Retreat on Capitol Hill.

While many small wellness businesses have struggled or closed due to the pandemic, international businesswoman Jaime Bohl says 2021 has been the best year since opening her wellness club. be seven years ago.

Lavande offers guests an oasis in which to escape daily stress through therapies such as massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy, reflexology, naturopathy and skin care. She also accepts insurance for physiotherapy and acupuncture.

“The reason we survive is because we work as a team, not as individuals,” she said. “I encourage my staff to maintain a level of integrity. I encourage them to flourish. I always have their back and they know it. We support each other.

Bohl showed patience, consistency and perseverance. It took years to find the right balance, but she attributes Lavender’s financial success last year to its extraordinary team of practitioners and remarkable clients. “I look at my employees’ strengths and don’t focus on their weaknesses,” she said. “I meet my staff where they are. It’s good to have situations. Together we find a solution. She said she has built a staff that accepts each other, exchanges information and, for the most part, looks at the glass half full.

Bohl scheduled time between sessions for practitioners to rest and regroup. It also instituted a mandatory closing from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day for lunch and also a one-week shutdown in the summer and one week in the winter to allow practitioners to take vacations. “I honor my employees by giving them time for themselves. She said she learned that you can’t keep giving to others and never give to yourself without feeling stress. “I want to make sure that my therapists are satisfied and receive adequate compensation.”

No COVID outbreak with lavender

Bohl said that even before the shutdown, she had a system in place. “My establishment was always clean. My practitioners and our clients have recognized this. In preparation for the reopening, Bohl drastically changed the look and layout of Lavender’s interior. “I removed all the books and magazines in the waiting rooms,” she said. “I tore up the old rug and put on a new one. I took out all the pillows, cleaned the chair cushions, removed the sofa and put up new wallpaper. I removed anything that might be contaminated and reconfigured our design inside to accommodate COVID guidelines.

Bohl also temporarily cut off a source of income. “I used to sell Lavender Retreat products but due to COVID I didn’t want people touching the items so inventory is significantly reduced at the moment.”

“When our doors reopened, everyone was vaccinated.” Bohl went to great lengths to make sure her business was clean, germ-free and welcoming. She bought an industrial disinfectant. She took temperatures. She used disposable cups instead of glass. Practitioners not only wore masks but also face shields. Customers had to wear masks and show a vaccination record. During a session, clients are asked to speak very little and to speak before the session begins. “In order to provide our services, we had to be safe for customers.” Bohl was also strict with the entry of customers into the building. “We kept six-foot distances. I let a person in as a person left.

Bohl posted a lengthy letter to customers on the Lavender website detailing the safety protocols Lavender Retreat would take and how business would be conducted upon reopening.

At a time when many companies are increasing their prices, Lavender Retreat has reduced the cost of services and also reduced their duration. “I used to offer a one-hour service. But I was worried that my therapists would get tired, so I lowered the price and reduced the time to 50 minutes.
It works well for both clients
and therapists.

Companies like Lavender Retreat often have employees who are independent contractors. Only Bohl, as a full-time employee, could qualify for government PPP loans. But Bohl had something other small business owners didn’t. She had a financial cushion built into her business plan. “I started my business properly,” she said. “I built what I call ‘breathing room’. I allowed customers to not show up, mistakes that would be made, and continued upgrading for customers. When the pandemic hit , Bohl had a pillow to carry her during the closing.

But eventually, says Bohl. it is the quality of Lavender Retreat’s customers and staff that is key to the success of its business.

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Pattie Cinelli is a health and fitness professional and journalist who has been writing her column for over 20 years. She focuses on holistic and unconventional ways to stay healthy, recover, and connect with yourself. Please email him with questions, comments, or topic suggestions at: [email protected]