We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennalee Dahlen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennalee, what role has risk played in your life or career?
We only get one vessel in life and I believe why not go out on a limb, take a risk and believe as I watch the magic unfold. At the end of the day I do not want to look back and think, “but what if I had just..” I have lived this model through not only my personal life, but as an entrepreneur and small business owner as well. Sometimes the risk I take might not work out as I planned, but it created a new path professionally to an avenue I was not expecting and the ripple effect continued from there. The risk may not have worked, but there is no failure in that, there is success if I am willing to be open to the lesson learned and the opportunity created as a result. One of the biggest risks I ever took was deciding to leave my corporate career in San Francisco as a buyer and go back to school for esthetics while I had a one year old daughter at home. I took a chance on myself and ended up finding my passion and soul mate in a career. Eventually I decided to take another risk, with my second daughter, a new born, one week out of the hospital I signed a lease to open the doors to my own business as a stand alone esthetician. Fast forward nearly 10 years from the beginning of my big industry leap and three little girls later, I found that I LOVE taking a RISK! It is a personal challenge to keep myself growing and be a role model for my children showing them that you can do anything you put your mind too and follow your passion. Yoso Wellness Spa has now grown into a 2,000 sq ft full service eco-friendly green spa with 12 team members. NONE of that would have happened if I did not take a risk. When the pandemic hit our country and Yoso Wellness Spa was temporarily closed 4 times, only open 18 weeks in the year, I took another risk, opened a new brick and mortar business, Yoso the Annex and launched an ecommerce website. The Annex is a lifestyle wellness shop, welcome for all, focused on treasured self care, intentional living and earthy goods for a sustainable lifestyle so our clients could bring Yoso home with them. This may have been a crazy risk to take, but again we only have one vessel in life and I am following my passion for our community to experience true care in everyday wellness so they can feel whole from skin to soul. I often say I am flying down the rainbow full speed ahead, getting all kinds of shrapnel and splinters, but when I reach the bottom each time I am a whole other level of bright and sparkly like never seen before. My advice… Take a risk! You never know what journey will unfold. Jennalee Dahlen – Yoso Wellness Spa & Yoso the Annex
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
What makes Yoso Wellness Spa unique from other spas is our green business certifications along with our holistic integrative approach to each clients wellness needs. When you visit our wellness spa, our team will gently guide you to optimal healing creating a custom blueprint based on your goals, concerns and needs so you can experience renewal from the inside out and the outside in. Through this we make sure that any products used on you as well as sent home, you feel confident in the ingredient base, how it will truly benefit you and your skin or body as well as how to use them most effectively. We believe in a kindred connection from the client journey, as well as outside of the spa with our community connection. What this means to us is that we genuinely care and want to aide our clients ability to take care of themselves with true care creating customized rituals and routines and welcome all in as part of our Yoso family. Each client is more then just an appt, the moment you call, to even a weeks after your service we pride ourselves in individualized connection with follow ups on how your skin and body is feeling along with checking in on product usage to make sure your ritual and regimen are achievable for you on a consistent basis. As part of our ongoing love for our community near and far we remain involved in event participation, community collaborations, donations to non-profits, community support. When different environmental or societal impacts are happening within the community we jump in to volunteer and support with outreach, donations and personal time in anyway possible. Some of our greatest accomplishments with community engagement are receiving a “Be The Difference” Award from Santa Cruz for organizing multiple river clean ups and collecting over 500lbs of trash. We have also received accolades such as “Most Compassionate Business” and two “Visionary” Awards from Mindbody Online as well as Entrepreneur of the Year in Santa Cruz due to our business values and model merged with our community engagement. Ultimately we feel that community engagement is essential to Yoso. Why? Because without our community believing in Yoso and coming to the spa and Annex, we would not be here with open doors today, so it is equally important to immerse ourselves, participate and give back.
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?
We LOVE when friends, family and new people come for a visit, in fact so much that we have put a “Be Local” page on our website to not only support other local small businesses, but let you know of some of the places we think are a ,thumbs up- worth the visit, in Santa Cruz. If you come to Santa Cruz we would recommend staying at Hotel Paradox where you are in a centrally located space and can soak in the hot tub before heading to Yoso Wellness Spa downtown. After your spa visit, pop by a few other shops downtown such as Yoso the Annex our Wellness Lifestyle Shop with an expanded offering of treasured self care, clean beauty, intentional living and earthy goods for your at home sustainability and wellness. There is also Pacific Trading for clothing, Leaf & Vine an Urban Plant shop for your plant babies, or Bookshop Santa Cruz for some nice reads while you relax on your getaway. We also would recommend enjoying a sit down meal or take out from both Oswalds and Barceloneta. If you want to go for a lovely stroll downtown, or down by the beach we recommend visiting Cat & Cloud Coffee at one of there four locations through Santa Cruz before your walk. Or if you want something cool and refreshing instead, grab a scoop of Ice Cream at The Penny Ice Creamery at one of their three locations in Santa Cruz. Next stop if you have a little extra time and already visited the beaches we always encourage a walk in Henry Cowell State Park in Scotts Valley and Felton or Nisiene Marks in Aptos. Or a stand up paddle board experience with SUP Shack. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have to give a shoutout to my three little girls, iylee, Marley and Braysen. They have inspired me to be my best self and go after what I believe in. They are my teachers through there honesty and spirit. they are my future, our future, everybody’s future. A shoutout to Mindbody Online for creating a space for my business to flourish, creating a community of other wellness experts for us to lean on one another for support. I thank Laura Munkholm, Kate Nelson and Monica Karst over the years being a cheerleader and friend personally and professionally encouraging me always to continue to shine bright, even when my light is dim. Of course a shoutout to my team, for believing in Yoso, our vision, our why, our what and our values and providing a beautiful client journey. One of the biggest shoutouts though goes to our community, Santa Cruz, Ca and beyond all the way to our clients and customers across the Country. Without our community believing in Yoso, we would not be what we have grown to become and here today. We are who and what we are because of you, so thank you, I am honored you believe in us.
Ann Githinji deserves a special shoutout. When I dial in the reel and look closely at what really helped save Yoso through the pandemic it has been this superstar woman. She was there to help hold me up so I didn’t feel alone in brainstorming ideas, in implementing projects, in packing products for clients.
Ann was there in a time that was so incredibly isolating on a personal level as I went through life changes, and isolating on a professional level as I laid off our staff four times due to closures from COVID and sat in a 2,000 sq ft spa unable to use it how it was intended. I could not have gotten through COVID with my business without her.
For the Headshot and team photo Onda Foto For all other photos Waipa Studio