Today we’d like to introduce you to Leilani Lee.
Leilani, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years- I worked in various hotels such as the Four Seasons Westlake Village and the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay making pastries for a living. I also was in Finance and worked for the luxury goods European Conglomerate LVMH in San Francisco and a freight forwarding company in Long Beach – UTI, United States.
My husband is a massage therapist that specializes in injury rehab. Prior to having this profession, he was a job developer for adults with disabilities which is actually how we met. He helped my brother who had special needs find a job at a local grocery market. He had a following in Long Beach and the City of Brea. We wanted to start a family so we moved back to the Valley where we are from and started our business here. I was responsible for the front end, forward facing business side of the studio and Michael is the primary CMT. We decided to open up a place because there weren’t many places that did Therapeutic Massage to help people with special needs. A comparable place you could find the work was at a PT or Chiropractic office. But we also wanted to open a place that was more spa like and inviting. Lots of times, people with chronic pain have to go from doctor to doctor so we wanted to create an atmosphere where people can feel relaxed and warmly received in a zen-like setting but still get professional therapeutic care. We wanted to make massage a primary focus and opened up Take Care – A Therapeutic Massage Studio and hired like-minded people so that we could provide this much-needed service to our community. We realized that there was a niche for the kind of offerings that we provided so we went for it.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No, it has not. We had to start from scratch in an area where no one had heard of us. We joined the Chamber of Commerce, did a lot of events for free and made some smart marketing choices (and really poor ones) along the way. Most people see massage as a luxury but in the Valley, you were either paying top dollar for a decent massage at a spa with water amenities or paying extremely little at a foot massage parlor from people who may not have had the proper training or certification. There were many days in the beginning where we were sitting by the phone waiting for someone to call.
People started getting therapeutic body work done by Michael and like it happened in the City of Brea and in Long Beach, he started getting work. People were getting relief from his therapeutic massages and because of their pain relief, they started referring people to us knowing that they could feel confident that we would do good work. We hired more like-minded therapists who understood our brand motto – Let us focus on you. We were there to help and people started to recognize what we had to offer So much so that we have ranked #1 for Therapeutic Massages on Yelp for the last 4 out of 5 years.
Still, this industry is known for flighty, flaky therapists and while we try to dispel that stereotype at our studio, we have had our share of challenges with staff. Even just recently. My baby came 5 weeks early a month ago and while we were making plans to hire someone to cover the front for me, we were thrown a curve when we started losing people. Almost half our staff. Some therapists gave plenty of notice such as our therapist who moved back to Pennsylvania with her new husband to be with family or another therapist that works full time as a teacher and can only work during summer and winter break. One got into a car accident and won’t be able to work until March. Two therapists had personal life challenges and ended up having to leave the place they were living without giving much notice at all. We feel for our therapists because we know that everyone has hard at times…..but when your business is based on providing services and you are short staffed, it hurts not only us as a business but all our clients who need our help as well.
We were warned by mentors and other successful owners in this field this would be the biggest problem in this industry. They were right. But we still don’t settle when hiring even though there are many out there who are certified therapists. We still do background checks, hold practicals, and ask technical questions during interviews. We would rather be short staffed than hire unqualified people. Our team deserves to be protected for all the hard work that they’ve done to make our place the go to place. We just have to keep pushing through and be patient and hopeful that the right people find their way to Take Care.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Take Care – A Therapeutic Massage Studio is committed to providing compassionate, intuitive and professional licensed therapeutic bodywork treatments.
Located in Woodland Hills California, our studio offers personalized treatments in a warm and relaxing environment where your comfort is our primary goal. Our experienced staff have a passion for their craft and are very sincere about helping others through touch therapy. We are open every day and will do our very best to schedule an appointment when it is most convenient for you.
Each room is furnished with luxury spa linens and blankets, warm towels, the highest quality specialized oils and lotions for your personalized treatment and other allied tools and equipment to help make your therapeutic massage deeply relaxing and restorative. Our lounge is comfortable, quiet and calming. We provide tea service, bottled water, and snacks while you wait. We also carry a variety of spa and massage products to enjoy at home.
Our intention is to provide exemplary, personalized service and to focus on you through therapeutic massage. We are a reaction to the emergence of low-quality massage parlors and big corporations that have devalued the craft of massage therapy. We take on a holistic approach, using transformative bodywork treatments to help your mind, body, and spirit achieve relaxation and rejuvenation. We offer these high-quality treatments at a fair and respectable price. For the healthy weekend warrior to those who are not able-bodied and everyone else in between, we will be here to help you.
At Take Care – A Therapeutic Massage Studio, let us focus on you.
We are most known for customized focus detailed work. We are also known for providing action plans to deal with physical issues that our clients may have. The clients that come here become family. We are there when people are celebrating birthdays, births, anniversaries, promotions. We are also there when people are going through their most painful moments. We offer a reprieve for people who want to get out of the minutiae of everyday life. And usually, we have therapists that are here for the long haul, waiting for you to come back and help you with the plan of action that we’ve created together to start to feel better,
What sets us apart from others are our experienced therapists that know more than just the perfunctory of modalities. An owner that is a massage therapist himself that can guide other therapists in helping others. Being able to work with people with special needs. This is what we specialize in and our holistic practitioners, doctors, and therapists that we network with have confidence that we will take care of their patients.
What were you like growing up?
There is the creative side to me that I really tried to nurture over the years – I love making pastries and definitely tried to pursue that dream. I became allergic to flour so I had to stop baking professionally as a result. I have degrees in Biology and Anthropology so the study of man was something of an interest for me. I fell into finance after doing the dot.com thing in the Bay Area. I liked the structure and the unbiased straightforward details of spreadsheets and numbers. It was nice to be able to start and finish projects and see an end result whether it was the end of a shift of line service at the restaurant, Sunday brunch or Quarterly and Year-end budgets.
I’ve always been a bit cerebral, I like to know the WHY things work aspect of things. But I am a people person, I like to know what makes people tick. It’s nice to be able to see people for who they are in this type of job. People open up so much – especially when we help them work on their pain.
I’ve always been an overachiever. Would never consider myself an entrepreneur but I like making things happen and I love a challenge. So even though I may not know the first thing about something….if I have an interest in it, I tend to go full throttle and immerse myself in it until I know what I am doing. I take pride in everything I do.
Friends and Family relationships are most important to me. Everything I do in some way or another usually has my friends and family in mind.
- Address: 20300 Ventura Blvd. Suite 110
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
- Website: http://www.takecaremassage.com/
- Phone: 818-277-6723
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Take.Care.Massage.Studio/
- Twitter: @takecaretms
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/take-care-a-therapeutic-massage-studio-woodland-hills-3