Crystal Carlson did not let anything deter her from building Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna. She had no knowledge or experience whatsoever in constructing and managing a business like it, but she was determined to pull it off. First, she had to figure out the information she needed to understand the kind of business industry she was getting into so she crafted her questions, looked around for mentors and learned from them. “The learning curve was phenomenal,” she said. All worth it, however, acquiring funding was a challenge as well. She had presented her idea to three commercial banks and not a single one granted her a loan. But, one banker did mention to her Business Impact NW (Community Capital Development then) which, as the banker had explained, lends to women in minorities. So she brought her business plan to Business Impact NW (BINW) and after some time, she was given $250,000 worth of loan. “I just had to find the right people who believed in me and believe that my numbers were correct. Working with BINW was not difficult because they gave me a list of documents that I needed,” Crystal said. The loan helped get her business off the ground. Without it, her business would not be where it is today.
Crystal has always loved giving herself some me time in a spa and sauna establishment but there wasn’t one in her neighborhood, she had to travel up north for her relaxation hours. “Somebody should really build one of these in my neighborhood,” she had thought when she was sitting in the sauna one day. Then an inner voice said, “If others can do it, you can do it.” If others can open and run a business, so can she. She definitely listened.
She chose a central location in Greenwood (where she resides) to build Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna. It is near bus stops and the freeway, easily accessible to anyone. Since opening its doors February 2013, Crystal and the rest of her team have been providing a rejuvenating and healing experience to their customers. She describes it as a safe space exclusively made for women. When they’re there, they can give themselves a break from their tasks and duties and just breathe and relax. They are not only taking care of their bodies, but their souls too, when they give themselves time in the spa and sauna, Crystal believes. And women do enjoy going there. Three Sundays in a row last January, Crystal and her staff had to start a waiting list with their packed weekend schedule.
Crystal is incredibly satisfied and happy with her business that talk of future plans is not yet in sight. “I’m just happy that we’re a success story right now,” she said. She conquered many challenges in the beginning; she worked hard; and she believed in her own strengths and capabilities—because of these her business is flourishing today. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? “If someone else is doing it, you can do it. It can be done. You need to figure out what you don’t know, what your questions are, and then figure out who can help you do that.”
Photos from Ladywell’s Vitality Spa and Sauna.
About the author
Carolina is responsible for leading the Marketing and Communications department. She has a vast professional experience in marketing, market research and consulting, working with clients and organizations across many industries and in multiple Latin American countries. She earned her B.A. in Business Administration from Universidad Austral de Chile, a Master of Finance from Universidad de Chile, and a Certificate in Marketing from UC Berkeley. Outside of work she enjoys hiking, watching documentaries and volunteering.