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Community Highlights: Meet Rachel Bussell of Breathe Spa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Bussell. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
It was September of 2017. I was sitting in my therapists’ office complaining about how tired I was of the massage industry. The quality of the massages never seemed to matter to business owners. As a result, my colleges and I were often overworked, undervalued, and underpaid and clients were always complaining about the poor quality of their massages. Over the ten years of my career, I worked for every type of massage company out there, from corporate chains and high-end day spas to small local spas. Yet, no matter where I worked or who the owner was, the same theme was staring me in the face; The quality of the massage itself was never a top priority. 

In this fateful session, my therapist encouraged me to go out and work for myself. I had tried several times to do something on my terms but couldn’t seem to get it right. Terrified of opening my own business and struggling with an autoimmune condition known as Lupus, I didn’t think I was qualified for the job. Regardless of my initial feelings, she continued to push me to fly, sending me link after link of potential places to rent out. I was irritated and resistant at first, and then I saw it, the unit that would become the future of Breathe Spa. A place where I could try out my ideas and create a massage-centric, healthy work environment not just for myself but for other therapists. 

Three months, a business plan, and a $10,00 loan later, Breathe Spa was opened on December 16th, 2017. And after four long years, several mistakes, and a global pandemic, the Breathe Experience has finally been created and I have one happy employee, 700+ satisfied customers, and a hunger to grow. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The last four years have been anything but smooth. There were many mistakes and lessons to be learned along the way. I knew very little about running a business when I started, but if I didn’t try, fail and learn from those failures, I would never get to see the vision come to life. 

My most significant and crucial challenge was paying my employees fairly while still covering the bills. I was overzealous at first, paying more than the business could afford to cover, and I nearly lost it from lack of funds. Thankfully I gained a wonderful mentor who guided me to the right resources that would help me find that sweet balance. It took three years and five employees to get it right, and it was worth all of the stress and struggle it took to get here. 

The second most challenging part was controlling the quality of the massages without overreaching and micromanaging my therapists. It seemed nearly impossible to ensure that every client got the best massage every time without creating a toxic work environment. I wanted to let my therapists’ talents shine through while still giving them the tools and teaching them the techniques I had found to ensure every massage was the best they could provide. I knew what I was doing was working; the feedback from the hundreds of clients that followed me told me as much. How was I supposed to share my gift in a way that could benefit not only my therapists but the clients who went to see them? 

The Breathe Experience was born over the summer of 2021 after much thought, research, and feedback. I finally put together a formula that my therapists could utilize in each session that still allowed their uniqueness to shine through. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Breathe Spa?
We specialize in massage therapy, both therapeutic and relaxing. We believe you cannot have one without the other. Therefore, each session has been designed to incorporate both aspects of massage to give you the best experience. 

We are most known for our hot stones. The stones are included in every massage and used to their fullest potential. Hot stones not only keep you warm and relax extremely tight muscles but can dive deep into the tissue to relieve extra stubborn knots. In addition, the heat from the stones is an excellent source of pain relief. Drawing blood to the area in pain allows the muscle to relax and begin the healing process faster than simply manipulating the tissue. 

Another thing that sets us apart is the types of services we offer. We pride ourselves in only offering effective therapies that have been scientifically shown to produce results. Our most sought-after add-on is the CBD massage. We were one of the first spas in the area to offer CBD to our clientele, even though people questioned how it might make us look. Regardless of the resistance, the science showed actual results when CBD was used topically for inflammation and muscle pain; something massage therapists see every day. 

We experimented with a multitude of CBD companies before finding Susan’s CBD. Susan’s boasts of the highest CBD content per ounce in the industry, all for a very affordable price which allows us to keep our prices lower than average. The oils and creams we use from them have a guaranteed 150 milligrams per ounce, as studies have shown that topical CBD works best in higher doses. 

Our final bragging rights lie within our services times. So many massage companies will say that you’re getting an hour when in fact, you’re only getting 50 minutes. At Breathe Spa, you get the time you pay for, and your massage therapist has plenty of time in between their appointments, so they are not forced to rush through their work and can truly take the time to take care of you. 

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Finding a good mentor is not easy. I am lucky that my mentor is an old friend who also opened his own business and tracked me down to help when he heard about mine. I didn’t find my mentor, my mentor found me. Even though our businesses are entirely different, I can bounce around ideas with him and ask for advice when needed. 

I recommend you go with the flow and find someone who has a personality compatible with yours that you can communicate ideas with. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry, they simply have to be enthusiastic about entrepreneurship and helping others. 

Don’t worry if you don’t have one yet, seek out networking groups and talk to other business owners until you find the right fit for you. 

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