03/26/2015 01:45 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

For Spa Therapists the Struggle Is Real


Growing up as an introvert I learned to adapt to an extroverted world. It wasn't easy; sometimes it was just plain difficult. But I discovered that the axiom is true; what doesn't kill you does truly make you stronger. Acting like an extrovert has had its rewards; it was necessary to develop that muscle and flex it hard if I wanted to be successful.

And successful I was. But after 15 years in corporate America as a training manager, it became too exhausting to play that game every day so I decided to switch gears and work in the spa industry.

It was a natural progression. After all, I would spend at least 2 weekends each month at my spa anyway. The atmosphere just felt right to me; quiet, serene, the sound of water gurgling or splashing in the background. Spa means water and as a person born under the astrological sign of Pisces (the fish) I had a natural affinity for that environment.

But mostly I enjoyed the tones. The low voices of the staff and the one on one intimacy of the treatment rooms. I was surrounded by introverts. Despite differences in race, ethnicity, financial status or sex we recognized each other immediately. Instant simpatico. I was informed by the therapists that I was a "spa person", which apparently for them was a distinction of the highest order. They encouraged me to change careers and join their tribe, so I did.

Becoming an esthetician was probably one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life.

As a child, my father would tell me that "no education ever goes to waste". I found this to be true as my natural drive for upward mobility kicked in. Unwilling to remain solely a therapist for long I began to develop myself and explore other areas related to the spa industry. I finally landed as a training consultant overseas.

Earlier experiences in the corporate world conducting classes for extroverts provided me with great insight. As I watched the therapists and managers struggle on a daily basis to meet the sales goals set by senior management, I knew that their traditional old school methods of training simply were not effective in a spa environment. Unlike corporate sharks, therapists have no desire to be the center of attention or engage in boisterous morale building, fist pumping sessions.

Currently with the spa industry losing 5-30% of retail revenues from anemic sales it is clear that the time is perfect to try something new. But are the decision makers willing to embrace a brand new viewpoint that is the polar opposite from how they've been operating?

Only time will tell.