This weeks 5 mins with is from Ronnie Burgess who runs On Cloud Nine Treatments – an exclusive and luxurious beauty and massage retreat in Godalming, Surrey, offering treatments and bespoke products to both women and men. Here is why she started her business up.
I ran a mobile massage and beauty business for over 15 years then one day a conversation with a friend who is an osteopath suggested I may want to open my own salon. I’d thought about it over the years but never felt ready: until that day my friend and I spoke. Something clicked! Of course I was ready, and the rest as they say, is history!
Everything about On Cloud Nine Treatments is tailored towards creating a friendly, spa-like atmosphere. Unlike some salons, we have a vast range of holistic therapies plus over 30 different massages; not simply the standard beauty treatments, which I think makes the retreat more appealing and approachable to the older demographic too. People often pop in for a quick chat, and we’re always getting a lot of walk ins who after just one visit turn into regulars.
When I was a mobile therapist I noticed a very definite niche in the market…I never wanted my retreat to be like others; I dreamed of it being a laid-back retreat where we care about our clients and take the time to get to know them and their lives. I think I can safely say after less than one year of being open, I have fulfilled a dream…but we never rest on our laurels…
In this business the aspect I love about it the most is there is no ‘typical’ week. Each day changes from one hour to the next…nothing can be predicted. Apart from the obvious (pampering clients) my week has to incorporate sooo much! Most weeks I don’t get a day off…you have to be a workaholic to do this! There’s advertising and promotions to arrange. Accounts and salaries to sort; emails to answer; blogs and newsletters to keep on top of and stock to buy. One minute you can be treating a client to a relaxing massage, the next cleaning a wax pot and sterilizing manicure equipment and making sure your staff know what a new promotion entails. It never ends…and I love it!
What are your ambitions for the business?
I am always looking for new treatments we can bring onboard and train in. At the moment all our new staff are training in all aspects of the business so that we can all do everything; which is so important as we are getting busier.
Short term my goals are to grow the business and become the number one beauty salon in our area.
Long term we have plans to take OC9T to another level; expanding to become a day spa (mansion house style!) with relaxation rooms where after a treatment the client can lie in a twinkly room and chill before entering into the real world once more. Where you are treated to every therapy you can think of at reasonable prices; i also think it important never to lose sight of who is the most vital person in any business: the client. I will, however big we get, never forget why i started On Cloud Nine Treatments – to provide pampering that is out of this world!
What are the best and worst aspects of the job?
This is a quick answer: worst is definitely firing staff. It’s never undertaken for no good reason but it’s still sad.
As for the best aspect; that’s the interaction with some lovely and amazing clients and therapists, who after so many years in this industry, still make you realize there is no better job than this one. Seeing and hearing someone feel relaxed and beautiful and special is a wonderful feeling and to know it’s because of you or your team is incredible.
If you could have any famous person as a client who would you like to have?
Odd one I know, but it has to be Queen Victoria. She was a strong, intelligent lady who had a solitary upbringing; married her soul mate and stood her ground as the longest reigning monarch of Britain. I admire her and think she’d impart some very useful advice and knowledge. Maybe she’d like a spray tan!
Have you had any “Eureka” moments in your business or any moments when you realise exactly why this is what you should be doing as a job?
Gosh these happen a fair bit (I realize that sounds cocky and I don’t mean it to) like when a lady brings her newborn baby in to see us after we’ve used reflexology to encourage her labour to begin. But one moment that always springs to mind…a lady came in a few months after we had opened and bought me a huge, expensive bunch of flowers and a lovely card. She hugged me and thanked me for a shiatsu massage I had given her on our opening day months before. I remembered her while she was explaining that after her taster treatment she had managed to come off all painkillers for the bad neck and back problem she had. Her doctor was very happy and told her to thank me; which was lovely too. She comes in now for manicures and I’m happy to report her back and neck are still pain free.
What would your one bit of advice be for anyone starting up a small business?
Difficult to narrow it down to only one bit of advice; but I think up there would be spend wisely when setting up your new venture and get as much money as you can beforehand because it costs much more than you ever think. It doesn’t matter how good the business plan is or your accounts and financial forecasts are it’ll cost more as little things come up that you need to spend your hard-earned money on. As I always say; it takes money to make money!
For more info please visit Ronnie’s website – On Cloud Nine Treatments