Acclaimed poet and author Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” The challenge is --- how can we do better with so little time and resources to take care of ourselves?
Women are a significant economic force in the United States. We continue to shatter the glass ceiling in our careers while simultaneously taking care of family and loved ones. It is a fact of life that the pressures of professional and personal life take a toll on our health and well-being.
The impact is particularly acute for Black women. Author Zahra Barnes compiled research on health outcomes and concluded that Black women “are often plagued with disproportionately high incidences or mortality rates for various health conditions, like heart disease, breast cancer, and more,” including diabetes and stroke. The challenge is not limited to physical health. “Black women are especially vulnerable to wrestling with their mental health, consistently reporting higher feelings of sadness, hopelessness, [and] worthlessness,” according to Barnes.
Increasingly, medical, health and lifestyle experts are pointing to self-care as a critical part of the solution. Dr. Adrienne Phillips, oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York Presbyterian Hospital, states: “Black women are frequently the pillars of our community, taking care of everyone’s health but our own. It is very important for women to practice self-care and not forget about themselves when trying to be so strong.”
The mission of Body, Soul and Spirit Spa is to educate and provide resources and support to help people, and particularly women, "do better" in the words of Maya Angelou. Through coordinated and targeted products and services, we aim to support the physical, mental, spiritual and financial renewal of our clients, who give so much of themselves to others. Our ultimate goal is to engage and enhance the health of our clients holistically – body, soul and spirit.
The Heart of the Business
Over the past two years, after conducting research, surveys and focus groups on the health and wellness issues impacting my community, I have identified a set of common challenges that prevent people in my community from embracing a holistic approach to wellness:
- Access to education and resources designed to reduce stress and improve the quality of life is limited, particularly among budget conscious individuals.
- Services that provide needed physical and mental health interventions can be difficult to access using the traditional health insurance system. Many of the individuals I have come across are either uninsured or underinsured – their health plans do not cover the dynamic, culturally relevant and community-based health and wellness solutions that the community craves.
- Safe spaces and welcoming environments to share common experiences, obtain resources and receive support are often hard to find and not designed with the modern woman in mind.
Our solution is to develop a spa and wellness center with an intentional design and meaningful purpose to support all aspects of our well-being that is affordable and accessible to all.
Our motivation for Body, Soul and Spirit Spa comes from a deep desire to help people benefit from taking care of themselves in a space that is meaningful, intentional and affordable. Body, Soul and Spirit Spa will offer traditional spa services - massages, pedicures, manicures and facials. What makes our spa concept special is that we will also offer a unique and comprehensive approach to overall well-being through educational workshops, product offerings and social gatherings. Our comprehensive plan includes heat and water therapy services made available through use of our sauna and whirlpool, a state of the art multipurpose room for exercise classes, nutrition and cooking classes and a host of other wellness and lifestyle workshops. We will offer special opportunities for women in shelters, victims of domestic and sexual violence, and women who are returning citizens. We will only use or offer natural and organic products and keep our client’s overall well-being and budget in mind.
Using Our Talents for Something Greater
My name Charmayne Thompson and I am the CEO and owner of Body, Soul & Spirit Spa. For me, this issue is personal. As a professional Black woman and single mother myself, I relate to all the reasons why we as women put ourselves on the "back burner" and set aside so little time and energy for ourselves. My most important life lesson has been that I could only be better for my children, profession and community when I was my best self spiritually, physically, mentally and financially.
I originally wrote this business plan over 20 years ago and was inspired while serving in my ministry, raising three young children, working full-time in corporate America and volunteering to support science education in my school district. I am an engineer, educator, project manager and business consultant with a heart for people and service. I'm now retired with 30 years of business experience and am excited about being able to serve my community in this next chapter of my life. My daughter, Jasmin Thompson-Holston with be at my right side to oversee marketing and finances. Julie Calianno, who has over 20 years of experience, will be our salon manager.
Why Crowd Funding?
Over the past two years, we have developed a comprehensive plan for the launch of the spa, including the identification of an extraordinary space just outside of Philadelphia in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. Funds from this campaign will be used to ensure we have the funds needed to offer a complete set of service and product offerings during the initial startup phase. Donations will also be used to pursue opportunities for staff hiring and professional development. We expect to break ground to begin construction on the new site in the coming months and look forward to inviting you to the grand opening!
We appreciate your consideration and support of our venture.
Thank you and be well – Body, Soul & Spirit!
Enjoy a free download of 101 Self Care Tips for Black Women at our website www.bodysoulandspiritspa.com.