We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Savala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Since I graduated high school I have always worked in the healthcare field in some aspect. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life managing a psychological office. About 5 years ago I wanted to do more for the mental health community then just scheduling appointments and billing claims. That’s when I learned about the benefits massage had on the central nervous system and how it aids in reducing stress. I started out at a high end spa, but knew that to do what I wanted to do I needed a different structure, so I ventured out on my own.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a certified Massage Therapist in Uptown Whittier. My focus is on stress management & educating on the ways stress affects the body. I am also a certified Yomassage Therapist and conduct relaxation classes that combine gentle stretch, mindfulness and therapeutic touch. I also conduct self-care/self-massage classes. Unfortunately, I signed the lease on my massage studio 1 month before the pandemic lock down. Not being a business in 2019 made me ineligible for any relief funds and I was forced to spend all my savings to pay the rent. Not knowing when locked down would be over, I was determined to be ready for when we got the green light to open back up again. We had 2 short-lived re-openings, but got the permanent green light in January. As if being the new kid on the block wasn’t hard enough I was trying to market massage therapy in a world where nobody wanted to be touched, but by the end of 2020 a lot of stress out, touch deprived individuals found me and reached out for my services. I think all the self-isolations helped people realize the importance of touch and self-care and I’m grateful that I was able to keep my doors open and be of service when people were ready to be touched again.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well of course she would start her visit off with me relaxing on my massage table and then we’d head next door for margaritas, ceviche and to split a molcajete at Kalaveras. The next day would be shopping for vintage favorites at Melrose Vintage or for cultural art at Casita Del Pueblo, pampering ourselves at The Powder Room by Joanne, and end the night eating, drinking and listening to 80s & 90s music at Flashbackz Lounge & Grill. The next day could be used for getting coffee at Lift Coffee Roasters or at Local Fixture and then simply taking in the historic sites of Uptown Whittier by visiting the Whittier Museum, strolling down the Greenway Trail, hiking the hellman trail, doing yoga in the park with Audrey Rey Espinosa, and picnicking at Central Park or Penn Park with food from Masataco. And we can’t miss hitting the Uptown Whittier Farmers Market or my favorite restaurant The Rusty Monk.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My biggest fans and most demanding clients are my kids. Their support and rolling with the punches with all the changes we’ve gone through mean the most to me. Without the encouragement and support from my husband, sisters, brother-in-law and friends I might not have ventured out on my own. The camaraderie, mentorship and support that I have found in other mom’s in business like Laura Castillo of The Momtrepreneur Planner, Genice Gonzales of Amora J Studios, Evelyn Fuerte of Open Social Events and Becky Chavez of Birth to Latch have given me the courage to not just step out of my comfort zone, but to do it smartly and confidently.