Some of you may or may not know this, I sold my second business, QUA, The SPA at SOMA GRAND…and… I sold it in 2016! I know, I haven’t told many people on social media, or even some of my friends. This morning, on my hike, someone asked me about it, so I figure it’s about time I tell anyone who reads this blog. Also, mainly because I didn’t want people to only support QUA because I owned it, but for those who did come because of me, thank you for your support!!!!!
I owned it from 2012 – 2016 and I’ll tell you the reasons why I started it, why I sold it and if I miss it.
Sometimes, I can’t believe I owned a spa. Seriously, a brick and mortar. An establishment that was open 7 days a week. Over the course of 4 years, I had over 50 employees, met many wonderful clients, turned friends. I loved walking into QUA and knowing the employees were feeding their families. It’s really a rewarding experience.
Heartfelt thank you’s to the following friends, spa owners who helped me so much during my time as a spa owner. In no particular order (and these are the ones who comes into mind at the moment):
- Mom & Dad – for everything.
- Rachel – (Zaza Nail Spa) for sharing your knowledge and being a good friend!
- Ronald – aka. horseypoo – Thank you SO MUCH for all the lighting efforts you put into QUA. I appreciate you so much and sorry if I don’t show it enough.
- Shelly — Lil Sis, Thank you for helping me build the nail business. You are so sweet, I’ll always remember the late nights!
- Christina aka – Bui – You’re the best part of EYC and QUA. My life wouldn’t have been organized without you. I’ll always be grateful for you. Miss you!
- The Laus Brothers & Steve – Your support during the hardest times.
- J. Young — Because you are THE WOMAN!
- DL – My rock. I know I can do (anything) because you believe in me. thank you a million times for always being there!
- Keith – Big Bro, thank you for the confidence and 24/7 support! I am the Luckiest Lil Sis Ever!
- Dave – CTO and even learned SpaBooker at one point to help me. Can’t write all of this without saying thank you.
Why I built it.
If you ask me if I’d do it all over again solo…. (hell to the no). No way. Not without a partner (or a life partner). But I built it because in 2012, I thought I wasn’t busy enough. I am going to insert a LOL right here. I was 8 years into Especially Yours Chivari Chairs & Linens and thought I could do it all with 2 careers and a relationship. Friends, if you want to keep the relationship part, I’d recommend not to do so much at once.
But why did I start a brick and mortar. Because I loved the spa world and I really thought I could… and I did and also, because, no one told me, “No, don’t do it“. I love foot massages and I love tea, so I combined the 2 :). I hired architects IwamotoScott Architecture, a San Francisco-based practice led by Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott that is recognized both nationally and internationally for its design work. They did an AMAZING job with the installation and we custom built everything (see rendering photos below). After purchasing TruSpa’s assets at the end of 2013, I did another renovation and added Facials and Nails to QUA.
Renderings from IWAMOTOSCOTT
So, the original concept of QUA, was a foot spa, but here’s what I did wrong. (Mistake #1). I made it too damm nice. LOL. No, I didn’t have a vision of a cheesy chinese foot massage spa, but people don’t expect #footmassage spa’s to be this nice… I mean, have you ever walked into a fancy foot spa with ceiling installations? Opps. Yikes. Need to change the concept asap… This no longer be a “foot” spa, so I dropped the foot part of the business.. On a serious note, people would call and ask “What is a foot massage? Do you massage the body too?” Yes and yes we do. It was also really hard to hire massage therapists who only massasged “foot only”, so the concept on “Foot Spa” ended after the merge of Tru Spa’s assets. I’m very grateful that happened because I hired the most amazing Spa Manager consultant, Audrey L. Vargas, who is now a senior director Beautycounter. Audrey taught me so much of the spa business, helped me with new hires and showed me the way how to run a spa. THANK YOU, Audrey!!
2nd photo credit: Evonne & Darren Wong Photography.
Why I sold it?
After four years, I was ready to say goodbye. I had a buyer and handed over the keys. I wish the new owners all the best! I know this is a short answer, but I don’t have anything much more to add to that.
Do I miss it?
I mean….. I love love love getting massages, facial and getting my nails done all the time 🙂 I definitely miss the perks of being a spa owner. Going to spa conferences, shopping for the spa, interviewing potential new hires and getting to know clients on a personal level.
Well friends, It’s been almost 2 years since I sold QUA. Again, my apologies for telling you so late. I’ve moved on to new projects that I’ll share when I’m ready. In the mean time, I’ve been approached to be a #spaconsultant to other #spaowners and always happy to answer any questions on my journey to #entrepreneurship.
Here’s my Top 10 things I’ve learned while owning a Spa:
10) Hire an amazing architect, like I did 🙂 IWAMOTOSCOTT is the BEST!
9) LOCATION is everything! QUA is located in a luxury condo, our majority of our clients was from the building.
8) I used google voice as our primary phone number!! You can text and call your clients from your cell phone… genius!
7) Being a solo owner was great, but it also meant you have to do everything on your own. If you’re ready for this solo journey, do it.
6) There will be good days and bad days. There will be days when you’re sold out and some where you’ll have one or no clients. Yep, it does happen.
5) Use a commercial realtor when negotiating your lease! That lease is golden. Tim Tran was great! He’s been my realtor several times.
4) Hire an amazing front desk staff who will take a care of business when you’re gone.
3) Install cameras. (Duh… you really need to these days).
2) Sell retail goods! Why not? Make use of those empty shelves and offer commission to your staff for selling anything.
- ENJOY your success. Go on vacations. Take a Day off. You’re a 100% business owner, but also 100% human….Live a Little 🙂 I did 🙂