Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Haase.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I had been working in marketing for nearly a decade, when suddenly in early December 2008 my company had a large layoff. I had always loved many aspects of my job, but after being raised in a home where my parents ran their own business, always struggled with the “9-5, do what I tell you” aspect of being an employee. I was honestly tired of the level of stress that came from the non-rewarding task of “selling widgets” and felt that my day-to-day work lacked a real purpose, and I had been searching for a way out for a while; it didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a gift. I remember distinctly that New Year’s Eve, telling my then-finance that I couldn’t imagine being stuck in another cube at my next job…and her response was an amazingly supportive “Well then, don’t! Do something you’ll love.” It was then that I began investigating massage schools in the area, and came across a school literally within walking distance to my home.
I fell in love with the work immediately and sailed through school…until completely out of the blue the school shut its doors. With no warning, no time given to come up with a Plan B, I felt defeated and began considering going back to marketing…but then decided this was absolutely not the answer. I ended up finding Cortiva in Watertown, and even though the commute made it a long nine months, it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The new school was alive with fantastic students from many walks of life, and compassionate, smart teachers excited to teach. I graduated in April 2010 and immediately began to build my little practice…and seven years now, here I am!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As I mentioned prior, the sudden shuttering of my first school was a real fork in the road for me. I am, by nature, a person who thrives upon the comforts of what is known (my parents nicknamed me “Bird” years ago because I am most happy when settled in my familiar nest 🙂 , and my knee-jerk response was to give up on this new plan and brush up the marketing resume. Looking back, I almost surprise myself with the decision to head to a new school and finish what I started! Now, of course, I am so thankful that I did choose to take the road less mapped out; my business has led me to so many amazing experiences, provides me with a tremendous sense of accomplishment, and allows me to maintain a great work/life balance alongside my spouse (who also happens to work in a non-9-5 field.).
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Shanti Bodywork – what should we know?
Shanti Bodywork offers therapeutic massage and reflexology services on the north shore, in Beverly, Additionally, I teach infant massage to parents and caregivers.
Shanti Bodywork is a sole propriety; when clients book a session, they are always booking with me. My clients value the fact that we build a relationship over the time during which we work together; I have been with some clients for seven+ years of life experiences (the good, the bad and everything in between), and I have been told that this means a lot to them. As the years go on, clients send in their siblings, their children, their friends; it is so amazing to be in a position to bring wellness sometimes to an entire family as it changes and grows through life.
As far as specializing, I do have a few specific areas. I work with a good number of rather intense athletes (runners, cyclists, triathletes), some who are considered “pros” in their field, and this population is a large part of my practice. I love this work, as these clients present many pieces to the puzzle that is their body – and expect a lot from it! – And I enjoy figuring out what is going on and how to best address their concerns and help them excel.
Prenatal massage is also an area that I truly adore working in, and to be part of that experience (sometimes over the course of several pregnancies for the same family) is really special. I have had many pregnant women (and spouses, for that matter) call and interview me before booking a session, as this is very specific work and it is so important that the therapist carrying it out knows what they’re doing. It makes me proud to spend 10 minutes on the phone with a nervous new almost-mom and help her relax and get her truly excited about coming in and helping her feel her best.
Recently, I’ve had a growing number of post-injury clients in the office, and this too is fascinating, if not challenging work. Working in tandem with their other practitioners (Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, etc) is always fun for me, and creating treatment plans and observing progress is highly rewarding.
As far as what makes me proud? I suppose one thing that makes me proud is that I’ve created an environment where everyone feels comfortable. I’ve had so many people come in, often referred to me, who are nervous about massage for any one of many reasons. By working compassionately and at each person’s pace, I am able to show them the benefits of the work, and this is beyond rewarding for me. For example, I had a client come in who had awful back pain, but was afraid of massage because they were afraid to have to take off their clothes. I happily explained that we can absolutely work within their comfort levels, and provided them with massage while they were fully clothed – and their pain dropped significantly! Seeing the elation on this person’s face reminded me of why I chose to do what I do. I offer my clients a warm, completely non-judgmental space to heal, and I am so proud to be able to do so.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
This question is easy: my parents and my wife.
When I was young, maybe eight or so, my father was laid off, and my parents took the plunge and opened their own business, a small sign installation and maintenance company (think hotels and car dealerships), All-Pro was my childhood small business bootcamp. My father did all of the physical work, while my mother ran the entire office all day…not to mention juggled two kids and a dog. When I was 12, my mother was stuck in bed for a week with a back injury, so I was recruited to type (yes, on a typewriter, this was way back in the early 90’s) up the week’s invoices and send them off to the clients. A true family business (my little brother even got in on the act in his teenage years, helping out on jobs), and one that carried my parents to retirement a few years ago! They taught me to work my tail off, to always be hungry, and that reputation is everything.
My wife and I have been together for many years, and she has always been my #1 supporter and cheerleader. She has believed in me, even in the times that I didn’t believe in myself along the way, and I am forever grateful. It was actually her idea that I go to massage school in the first place, noting that I always seemed to enjoy giving shoulder rubs. Now she sadly has to battle the masses for some time on my table! She is an extremely hard worker herself, and her dedication to helping others feel better as a physician has always been an inspiration to me.
- 120 Minute Bodywork Session: $160.
- 90 Minute Bodywork Session: $115.
- 60 Minute Bodywork Session: $80.
- 30 Minute Bodywork Session: $50.
- Infant Massage Education Private Instruction: $125.
- Address: 100 Cummings Center
Beverly, MA 01915
- Website: www.shantibodywork.com
- Phone: 978.882.1602
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shantibodywork/
- Twitter: @shantibodywork
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/shanti-bodywork-beverly-3?uid=lUAw59YFd71LqsOGzBKZvg&utm_campaign=www_business_share_popup&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=(direct)
All photos by Photographer Lisa Pelonzi