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Meet Sunghee Shin of YOLO Foot Spa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sunghee Shin.

Sunghee, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I used to be an illegal immigrant. Came to the United States when I was a little past one years old with my parents and my sister. I never envisioned that I would ever open a massage parlor, but I just knew that I wanted something of my own, my own business one day.

I started having interests in opening a massage parlor maybe two years ago. I went with a friend to get my first ever massage, and I realized how much better I felt, more refreshed and even more optimistic. As I started going to other massage parlors, I’ve decided that I want this as my own eventually.

I worked at different places (restaurants and retails) to save money to open my own business one day when the opportunity arises. And when it did, that’s when I’ve decided to open YOLO Foot Spa.

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?
This is my first business, so it was definitely not smooth. The biggest struggle was finding the right masseuses. We’ve had some major turnovers in the beginning. I always thought if anyone chooses as a therapist as a career, they’ll be good at what they do. Not true.

I’ve heard some complaints from customers so early on of the grand opening. It was shocking, and it really hurt to hear bad reviews especially if you’re a new business. So now we test the new masseuses.

Once they pass the test, then we know for a fact that the masseuse will actually satisfy the customers. Another struggle was getting used to the environment. We have to quiet and zen all day.

I’m used to working at restaurants and other retail where you can use a NORMAL tone of voice. But now I adapted.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We specialize in foot reflexology, body massages, and combination massages (foot and body together). I think the interior of the store gives out good vibes and so far, I’ve heard many compliments of the look of the store.

And we’re most proud of our masseuses on staff. They truly care about the service they provide to the customers. Not only do we test them, but each of them asks us if the customer was happy with their massages. They care about their jobs and their skills.

While I’m there pretty much all day, I notice how each masseuse exchange ideas with each other on how to grow and get better. To me, it’s admirable how they care. And since they care, I believe we all have the same thought and picture for YOLO. We look at ourselves as a team.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up with low esteem for the most part. My parents, especially my dad, would say that women are weaker in every aspect than men. And my mom somehow got brainwashed into thinking that too. My dad wasn’t exactly the best father figure obviously.

Luckily I have my older sister who took the responsibility to encourage me and advise me on the tough road ahead as an illegal. She’s the one that told me I’m illegal. She’s the one that told me that nothing is easy, but it can be achieved. She’s the one that gave me tough love when I screw up or beat myself too much. She cussed me out every time I was being pathetic which all came low self-esteem.

She was blunt, but that’s her looking out for me. If it wasn’t for her, I think I would be very sheltered, insecure, and uncertain about everything even though no one is every certain but at least be confident. My interests weren’t very vast. I guess I enjoyed art growing up, but that didn’t last long.

Once I started my first job at 18, I realized I liked working. I just enjoy being in a different environment away from home. And when I got my first compliment as having a good work ethic, I think that’s when I decided education isn’t for me and I enjoy working and feeling valued in an establishment I respect and working with people I respect.

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