As a vegan business owner, I aim to provide a luxurious spa-like experience to enable complete relaxation of the mind, body and spirit at Tranquilla Rosa, my holistic therapy business based in Cornwall. As well as aromatherapy massage, reflexology and organic facials, I also offer a range of spa treatments that I designed myself in order to create a unique and holistic approach to skincare.
How I discovered holistic therapies
My journey into the world of health and wellness began in my teens. I studied for a qualification in beauty consultancy alongside my GCSEs, before going on to train in beauty therapy at college. I quickly discovered a hatred for waxing and nail painting, but a passion for the more relaxing treatments such as facials and massage, and so I decided to stay on at the college to train in complementary health therapies. I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life and I thought it would be a great idea to help others feel calmer and more relaxed through the use of massage and other therapies.
As well as enabling me to gain qualifications in aromatherapy, reflexology, business, anatomy, physiology and pathology, the course also covered topics such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, nutrition and psychology. I became fascinated by natural health and how we should be treating the cause of illness, rather than just the symptoms. I developed a particular passion for aromatherapy – the therapeutic use of essential oils – partly because I loved how relaxing the aromas made me feel, and partly because I found it amazing how each oil has its own unique chemical make up and effect on the mind and body.
Why I decided to start my own business
While studying, I had no idea what I wanted to do after finishing the course. I preferred the idea of working in a relaxing spa over a clinical setting, but I didn’t like the thought of having to work for someone who would inevitably make me do beauty treatments (the thought of having to do waxing again filled me with dread!). The clinical setting, however, would almost certainly mean becoming self-employed, and I wasn’t sure that was for me either. It seemed such a big, scary thing to start your own business, especially at such a young age. It wasn’t until towards the end of the course when I spoke to other therapists that I discovered how working for yourself could be extremely rewarding, and not as hard as it seems.
After I qualified, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own business, having found a room to rent in a local therapy centre. It was exciting but daunting at the same time! Choosing a name for my business was one of the hardest parts as I wanted something unique. After playing around with different words and languages, I eventually settled on Tranquilla Rosa – Latin for Tranquil Rose. I chose tranquil because that’s the feeling I wanted to instil in my clients; rose because I wanted to include my passion for aromatherapy; and Latin because I had always been interested in the language and it is used for the botanical names of plants and essential oils.
Going to spas can be so relaxing and luxurious, but more often than not you end up paying a small fortune for a treatment that sadly isn’t that great. Conversely, visiting a complementary or holistic therapist will usually mean you get a really effective treatment, however, the environment can often be quite clinical which is not always relaxing. I wanted to offer the best of both worlds and so my aim is to combine the effectiveness of complementary therapies with the luxury of spa treatments to create a unique and bespoke experience.
The ethics behind my business
I knew from the start that my business would be cruelty-free. I had been vegetarian for a few years and was slowly progressing towards veganism, and I had recently started blogging about cruelty-free beauty. I did a lot of research and found some vegan products that I could use in my treatments. I signed a pledge with Cruelty Free International to only use Leaping Bunny certified products, something I was already doing at home.
I personally only use products that are as natural as possible, and I will only use such products on my clients as well. I will never use or promote a company or product that I would not use myself. It is extremely important to me to build a brand that reflects my beliefs, and one that stays as true to those beliefs as possible. I have had to change my product ranges on a couple of occasions, since I found out the companies were no longer Leaping Bunny certified. I now use SKN-RG organic products in my facial treatments and they are a dream to work with. For my spa treatments I use SpaRitual, and all my carrier and essential oils are from Quinessence, a professional aromatherapy company.
I am all about ethical luxury; being green needn’t mean basic, and wanting luxury doesn’t mean you can’t be eco-friendly. As my personal ethical values have grown and developed over the last few years, so have those of my business. I care deeply about the environment, and strive to be as eco-friendly as I can in all aspects of my life. In addition to only using vegan, cruelty-free and natural products, I also use re-chargeable LED tea lights and soy candles, use organic cotton wool and tissues where possible, and I try to recycle as much as I can. I am always looking for more ways to reduce my impact on the environment in both my personal and professional life.
How my business has grown
Running a business isn’t always easy and it is hard work, but it really is so rewarding. I absolutely love being my own boss and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As well as the freedom and flexibility it brings, I love the fact that I get to do everything the way I want to do it. I get to use my creative side to design my own treatments and spa rituals, one of my favourite things to do. Although I didn’t really know much about running a business when I started, I have built on my knowledge and experience and now know which forms of marketing work best for me, who my clients are and how to let them know that I can help them. I have established a loyal clientele and it’s so rewarding when you get amazing reviews and feedback from people, and when they recommend you to their friends.
I really enjoy the marketing side of things, and it’s something that I’m always learning more about and keeping up to date with. I think marketing is so important in any business and it’s something that most therapists sadly aren’t taught during their training.
I have also just become the UK’s first retailer of Aroma Couture™ diffuser jewellery. The range is PETA-approved vegan, and each piece is carefully handcrafted in the USA from eco-friendly materials. The jewellery allows you to wear your favourite essential oils as a perfume and to benefit from their therapeutic properties. I was searching for a high quality range of aromatherapy jewellery that I could sell and was so excited when I discovered Aroma Couture™ since they share the same values as Tranquilla Rosa. It’s been really popular with my clients and it’s been so hard not to keep everything for myself!
What a typical day looks like
There is no typical working day for me; every day is different and that helps to keep things interesting. As well as treating clients, I will usually do some admin or marketing, whether that’s planning, creating and scheduling social media content, writing blog posts and newsletters, updating my website, researching industry news or doing bookkeeping and accounts. I will usually have a few different treatments to do each day, but even if I have a full day of massages, each client will be given a bespoke experience. For example, I could see two clients with back pain but I would use different essential oils for each of them depending on their individual needs and other health and wellbeing concerns. That’s where the holistic approach – to treat someone as a whole and not just their symptoms – comes in. I might also make an oil blend that the client can use at home to maintain the effects of their treatment in between appointments.
Who I help
Although most of my clients are busy women who suffer from stress-related issues, I also treat men, children and the elderly. My youngest client was an eight-year-old boy who was suffering from post-viral fatigue and was missing a lot of school. I gave him an aromatherapy massage and reflexology and his mum cried happy tears as he was so peaceful and relaxed during the session. His health improved greatly after just one session and he was able to return to school shortly after. My eldest client is a remarkable lady in her eighties who loves coming to visit me every few weeks for her back massage.
I help a lot of people with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia – they find aromatherapy massage beneficial for managing their muscle pain, fatigue and other symptoms. It’s so rewarding when clients tell me how much my treatments have helped them, whether that’s reducing their aches and pains, allowing them to walk better, managing stress, anxiety and depression, or easing digestive issues and sinus problems. Not all of my clients have specific issues though; many just enjoy being able to escape to a peaceful haven to relax and recharge. This is so important as it helps to boost your wellbeing and prevent a build up of stress, which can lead to illness if not dealt with. So many people feel guilty for having me time or for spending money on themselves, but really it should be seen as an essential part of self-care.
I would love to train in some new treatments such as hot stone massage, Thai foot massage and crystal therapy. One of my biggest goals is to become a published author, so writing books is definitely on the cards. I currently have several ideas floating around in my head, and I’m deciding which one to go for first! I’d love to create some online courses too, so that I can teach people more about natural health and beauty and how important it is to look after yourself.