Leanne Sedlak, Chief Visionary Officer of SkinCatering
Leanne Sedlak is a Licensed Massage Therapist who works out of Springfield, MA and is the Chief Visionary Officer of the company SkinCatering. In 2010 she began massage school and during her first quarter unfortunately lost her full time job. Instead of taking this as a major setback Leanne used this as a motivator. While continuing her studies she did so with the mindset that she would work for herself and build a company founded in wellness. The event of getting fired from her job was actually such a turning point in her career, because it was then that she realized she could successfully own and operate her own business. She began to take her education very seriously in massage school and really started to connect with the information being taught by her Anatomy and Physiology professor. This course included a deep understanding about how the body worked as a whole and applied it to her practice and then later down the road, towards her own skin care line. Her most important take away from her schooling was in a course that talked about developing their own personal practice, this could be a stand-alone business or a massage practice within someone else’s company. We sat down with Leanne and got her take on what it’s like to be a women business owner here in Massachusetts.
Why did you want to become a business owner?
I have always been ambitious, held leadership roles and was entrepreneurial growing up so the thought of becoming a business owner seemed second nature to me. The challenge of bringing my visions to life was exhilarating and seeing my creative theories work (and sometimes occasionally fail) is always very satisfying. In order to get myself and the business to where it currently is, it was important for me to be viewed as the person that was the expert in my own field. I wanted to be viewed as THE one that any and every one could go to when they were stressed or if their body needed work. A lot of networking, socializing, constant top of the mind awareness stuff, and volunteering all took place. I didn’t just want to introduce my brand to consumers, I wanted to BECOME the brand, by having my face out there and talking to people was when the company really got on the map. I have now developed a skilled team that works with me consistently, that carry on the reputation for quality and expertise when I don’t have enough time to constantly be in the massage room.
What does the motto “Cater to Your Spirit” mean?
The motto of the company is “Cater To Your Spirit®”, it specifically means that “taking care of yourself beyond the daily routine things like brushing your teeth; do something that brings you joy! I’m passionate about this because it brings us closer together as a community when we do meaningful things in our lives. Humans are kind to other humans, we take care of each other. Today, catering to your spirit might mean getting a massage. Tomorrow it may mean volunteering at the Food Bank.” Down the line, I envision people seeing SkinCatering not only as a trusted brand but as a leader in the industry. We are extreme advocates for wellness and empowerment which can branch beyond a fancy spa or skin care line.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Since creating the company, I have viewed my biggest challenge as being in the “teen” stage of growth in business. We are currently in our 8th year of business now and we’re too big of a company for me to manage everything myself, but unfortunately not big enough (yet) for us to be able to hire a full-time support staff. This has become our toughest gap to bridge, as we are in a “make-it-or-break it stage – your reputation is at stake and it could all come crumbling down if we drop the ball by not having the right people in place.” This is when protocols and policies become more important and making the processes are streamlined. Although I do not have enough staff to be able to hold every single role that needs to be filled, I am very fortunate to have the team members that I do have that are flexible with their schedules and who can take on multiple roles at once. My biggest success thus far is having a skin care line that is ready to compete into the professional beauty industry. In May 2017 we launched our advanced line and are SO excited to take it to the Indy Beauty Expo into NYC this year in August of 2018.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give others looking to start a business?
“Have integrity in the plan, be fluid in the approach.” This means, create your mission and use it to guide your decisions as business grows. Opportunities will fall in your lap that you didn’t even dream of! Not all of them will be a fit for your brand. When in doubt, refer back to your mission and see how it holds up. Your reputation is your brand!
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