Behind the blueprints
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!
EdgeRank is the denoted name of the Algorithm that is used by Facebook. We don’t tend to notice that it’s there, but our posts and pictures would be lost without it. The Algorithm is how Facebook decides and filters which stories appear in each users’ daily news feed. The algorithm’s sole purpose is to basically hide “boring” or uninteresting stories and posts, and only publish the ones that will be entertaining to Facebook’s viewers. When you sign onto the website, the first thing you see is what people have posted, and it’s not always in chronological order.
On January 11th, Facebook declared that they would be switching over their algorithm so that the posts you see on your news feed will be viewed in a new order. By using filtered technology, your family members and friend’s posts will tend to show up first instead of advertisements and posts from companies or pages that you “Follow” or “Like”. This change has become very well liked to most individuals that use Facebook for personal reasons, but for those that use it for publishing and business reasons, they’re the ones that are starting to become a little frantic.
In the eyes of businesses that use Facebook as a primary outlet for connecting to the public, this change is a bit concerning because it’s taking away one of the main roads that lead them to their consumers. Facebook's mobile user statistics show us that 1.32 billion users solely use Facebook on their cellular devices, that’s roughly 32%. For a company that started out as a PC based networking site in only 2004, the growth rate is impeccable. When you open up your phone, it’s normally a constant scrolling of your thumb up and down the news feed, and you only “Like” or “Comment” on things that appear of interest to you. Since Facebook in the past has built strong relationships with publishers and advertisers, the site was a safe haven for them because it was getting them constantly exposed and able to grow their consumer’s knowledge base more rapidly. Unfortunately because of this, it has now just turned into a site where users passively scroll up and down, not really engaging in what is being shared. Bad news is, the time that users would take out of their day to spend on Facebook is losing a lot of its kick that makes it special. Make note of the fact that advertisements aren’t cheap whatsoever, so technically, it’s becoming a lose-lose situation. With the decision to flip the switch and make Facebook more personable to each individual that holds an account, it’ll make your time that you spend on your phone, or laptop, on Facebook; more valuable. You’ll see more of what you really care about and what you want to see based off your interests. Not just advertisements that you’ll scroll through anyway and not pay any attention to.
Essentially in the long run, this new twist on Facebook will benefit the advertisers and publishers just as much as it will benefit the individuals that use the site for pure communication and leisure. There are high hopes that this will be a more cost effective route for those posting things for business accounts, therefore they’ll cut back on their advertising budget and can exert their funds into other resources. Best case scenario is that the companies that do well as far as reaching their consumers and gaining loyal customers, will be able to branch their content distribution outside of the Facebook platform. This way if you know you like a brand, product, or company, you’ll be looking for them more rapidly and seeking the information out yourself. The people that are going to be in charge of doing this for the company will be the ones that really have the drive to want to go out and reach everyone, so that they can make the most user friendly and exciting experience for the customers as possible. As someone who just recently created a brand new, and fresh Facebook account- I have already noticed how there is no more busy body traffic from things that I could frankly care less about. I see the important posts and pictures from my loved ones, and anything they might share that can range from a cooking video or to exquisite travel destinations. Bottom line, I am no longer getting bombarded by advertisements that have no relevance to what I am interested in and I am a HUGE fan. I think this whole experience with switching over the algorithm has been both a little bit of give and a little bit of take. There is just the right mix of the two different ways your news feed is getting filtered, nothing less and nothing more. Although Facebook is already as booming of a company as is, this tweak to their news feed will eventually sweep the nation and have an incredibly big impact on the value of people’s time. In order for a company to grow, things have to start to develop along the way- even if it’s years later.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” –G. Bernard Shaw
Intern & Mini Badass in Training
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