I'm pleased to bring you the first installment in my new interview series. There's no one better to kick it off than the fantastic Michelle of Absolute Bliss Massage Therapy and the Be Blissed Etsy Shop. I first met Michelle through a local mother's club. She's super friendly, energetic and positive. I'm so inspired by how she's recently taken the plunge and focused her career full-time on her massage therapy business. I've been curious about how she manages her business and her family and a new Etsy shop (and makes it all look so easy!) so I roped her into being the first interview in my new series.
I'm a pretty busy single mom these days. I have two sons: Gabriel and David. I have lived in this little town for pretty much all of my life. I like to blog, take pictures of my food and the littles. I have a pretty full DVR, I like vanilla lattes, purses and people-watching.
Describe a typical day at your house.
A typical day at my little nest, which is what I call our home, is pretty busy. The boys wake up around 6 am. Rain or shine, Monday-Sunday. During the week I'm busy packing snacks and doing the breakfast routine. Then we are out the door for drop offs to school. Three days a week the boys are both in school. This allows me time to take sessions either from the studio or sometimes at home, for clients I have known for a while. After morning sessions, if I have time, I will run errands or start the dreaded chore of laundry--my arch enemy. It's funny I choose a career that actually creates more laundry for my always-full basket. The afternoon consists of picking the boys up, heading home to play and do homework. We have and early 5 pm dinner and the boys are usually in bed by 7:30. Then I get some downtime. Most of the day massage-related work is sprinkled in: booking sessions, looking up stretches for a client, working on my website, sending out intake forms for the following week, and of course, washing and folding sheets.
What do you like to do with your kids?
The boys and I, since they were very, very young, are living room dancers. After a long day (or morning) depending on what's happening with them and what little fire I need to put out, I put on a favorite playlist and we just dance and dance around the house. It's our thing. I often get requests for songs and Gabriel will bust out a new dance move. We also like cooking together and trying out new things--like playing with our juicer. They pick the fruit; I juice it. My sons and I are very close. We do just about everything together. We go for walks, we watch The Food Network together and we chit-chat in the mornings while I'm putting on mascara and lip gloss. We discuss major issues. Like Jedi politics and new things they want to try on cupcakes.
How did you get your start in massage therapy?
I got my start in massage therapy over 10 years ago. I attended a school that's pretty popular in the Bay Area, The National Holistic Institute in Emeryville. Although I have been practicing massage for many years I have always put off doing the full-scale massage practice thing until recently. I came to a point where I thought, "I have this great skill I want to share and help people with. It's time to take it to the next level--there is not much holding me back."
What do you like about your job?
There are so many things I like about my job. I love being able to make my own schedule. It allows me more time with my littles which is something I have missed out on in a previous life. Another fabulous thing about my work is that I get to meet with and help so many different people. Whether they are in the studio for an ongoing issue or just to relax, people are very grateful that you are there to help them achieve that goal. I have always been a people person. People find it easy to talk to me about their day, their back pain and sometimes more. I find it totally fascinating the things people will share with me in an hours' time while they are on a massage table. They talk about their crummy job, the great love of their life they lost, or just some cute shoes they picked up at the mall. Everyone is different. I love learning about people. It's the busybody in me.
What motivates you in your work?
I really like helping people. Massage and wellness are my passions. I often go above and beyond the call of duty and stay up late emailing clients stretches that can help them with a tight hip, pulled knee or strained back. I enjoy getting feedback in followup sessions. When someone tells me, "that stretch you gave me to do, or the essential oil you recommended for a warm bath really did the trick." It makes me happy. Then when they are on the table and I can see a change in their range of motion and how they are feeling in their body it makes me proud. I love seeing people tag me in Facebook posts and telling their friends about their recent session. I think it rocks! I walked into Starbucks with my son, David, a couple weeks ago. There was a client I had seen the day before for the first time. He greeted me very kindly and told his friends how blissful his session was and how fantastic his low back was feeling that morning. We made a few jokes about his falling asleep on the table and snoring. It really made my day to get such appreciation from someone I had a session with. It's honestly a great feeling and it's something I had not really experienced before in previous jobs--such thanks for a job well done. That keeps me very motivated.
Helping others relax must be exhausting. How do you relax?
Massage is hard work. I'm using my body constantly. A good, proper soak in a very hot bubble bath is my therapy and was, up until recently, my ritual on Sunday nights. But all the great Sunday night television has stolen me from my bubble baths. I need to start doing that again. Life is too short to not take bubble baths. When I have time and I'm not completely worn out, I read a good book or veg out on Pinterest. I also love updating my blog and writing in my journal. Writing really helps me clear my head. When I can sneak out on my own (which is not very often) I catch a yoga class or go for a walk and sing whatever song is on my iPhone loudly.
Tell us about your Etsy shop. How do you come up with your scrub recipes?
I have had a serious crush on Etsy, for like, ever. I'm not super crafty. I kinda wish I was. I used to spend a lot of time cruising Etsy checking out odds and ends thinking, "Geesh, I wish I could have my own little shop." One day a few months back I was drafting up a blog tutorial on how to make a body scrub using essential oils. I thought, "Duh, I can open a body scrub/bath essentials shop." I learned all about aromatherapy, salt glows and other healing remedies of botanicals in massage school. It seemed an easy marriage of the two ideas. Voila, Be Blissed was born. I have a large knowledge of essential oils floating in my head from school and my practice. I know off the top of my head what two scents compliment one another, how lavender can help to induce relaxation and sleep. That tea tree essential oil and peppermint essential oil make a delicious foot scrub for tired, achy feet, keeping your toes cool as well as fresh with tea tree's anti-fungal properties. I blend and mix ingredients that tickle your nose and your skin. Items I use in everyday cooking too. If you can eat it, you can nourish your skin with it.