We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Kenyon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I 100% disagree with the bit of antiquated advice, “Hard Work Is the Key to Success”. For me, the three main keys to success are: doing something that you are passionate about, collaborating with like spirited people and cultivating a feeling of ease and joy around whatever it is that you are doing. I found a passion for massage at the age of 10 when I began giving massages to family members and friends. After college I began working as an Assistant Director on on film sets which led me down a soul-sucking path. Eventually, I found the practices of Tibetan Buddhism, Sweat Lodges and the Art of Living which allowed me to clearly see that I needed to change my course. When I aligned with my highest self, I learned that I wanted to promote relaxation and to let go of the stressful lifestyle of working on film sets for 16 to 20 hours a day. That was when I reconnected with my passion of bodywork. I began attending networking groups and chamber of commerce meetings to get a better grasp on how Los Angeles, outside of the film industry, worked. I started collaborating with people who were business minded & people who were spiritually centered which allowed me to lay solid groundwork for UNWIND. After creating a strong foundation I focused on generating a client base with the focus of ease & joy which has allowed me to feel happy, joyous and free rather than bogged down with hard work. If I feel that something is being difficult, I practice letting go of it and cultivating the feeling of it working as it is meant to be (not as I want it to be) and then everything becomes easy and it works out really well. I appreciate growing up with the belief that hard work is the only way to succeed and am beyond grateful that I have learned a new way that works better for me, my family & our life-style.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
Two things really set us apart from all of the other mobile spa service providers: 1. I personally connect with each and every client and do my best to match them with the correct spa specialist for their needs and 2. I started out as a bodyworker & grew into being a business woman so I actually know what it is like to be out in the field with clients. I am extremely grateful for having this insight as it has allowed me to connect with spiritually fit spa specialists who truly enjoy what they do and want what is best for the person whom they are working with.
I had been working as an Assistant Director on feature films, commercials, and music videos for 10 years when I began taking classes at the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB) in Culver City. My plan was to complete school, become a licensed massage therapist and start a mobile massage business that catered to film and television productions. In 2003 I founded Unwind Mobile Massage & Spa and expanded services beyond massage to promote healing on a larger scale and to a larger audience. To me, healing happens with facials, yoga, mani/pedis, guided meditation, joyous dance, psychic readings or even henna art so expanding the service menu made sense.
Starting a new career with zero experience in the industry was a challenge. I am grateful for having the skills of an AD as I knew how to manage a team, problem solve, communicate with people and be persistent. For me, the most difficult part of building a business from the ground up has been getting out of my own way. I thought that I had a built in clientele because I planned to cater to film and television productions and I’d been working in that world for 10 years so I knew producers & production coordinators who would want these services for their crews. I quickly learned that my plan was not in alignment with he Universes plan for me when I was turned down be every producer and coordinator that I contacted. When I became truly willing to let go of the film industry and all that came with it, everything clicked and fell into place. Since then, I have had the honor of working with hospitals, boutique hotels, human resource directors, wedding coordinators, PTA groups, large corporations, small startups and event planners. I put together a first-class team of spa specialists and opened myself up to receive abundance from the Universe.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned many lessons along my journey and the one that has been most helpful is that life and business are both about being flexible. Being able to take action in one direction and having the willingness to see the unexpected opportunities that arise as gifts and new learning experiences.
UNWIND is an out-call spa service committed to helping people feel good. We are composed of an incredible team of licensed and insured spa specialists who provide mobile healing services to many communities throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. Over the past 17 years, our clients have included A-List celebrities, teachers, professional athletes, Doctors, high-powered executives, individuals in comas, the elderly, children and cancer patients. We create unique spa parties & private sessions focused on Physical & Spiritual Balance. Our In-Home & Office Spa Services will have you, guests, loved ones or co-workers feeling better than they thought possible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Life has changed for me to the point that going out and being in crowds is just not my cup of tea any more. If my best friend were visiting, we would definitely spend time at the beach generating the positive vibes from the ocean. Go out to dinner for sushi at Uzumaki in Culver City and for Korean BBQ at Genwa in Beverly Hills. For a little play time we might play paddle-tennis and a round of golf. I would 100% have a spa day at my house with massages, mani/pedis, facials and probably a sound-bath as I absolutely LOVE sound-baths. Mainly, we would want to enjoy some quality time together.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to start off by giving a big shoutout to my parents, Bill & Anita Kenyon, who brought home a massage table from a yard sale when I was 10 years old & to my bother, Chad Kenyon, for allowing me to give him tons of massages when I had no real idea of what I was doing. Later, while working on “Dodgeball”, I had the realization that being an AD was sucking my soul dry and that I needed a more fulfilling career. I had no idea what to do but I was sharing with a woman from the wardrobe department (Fran Allgood) about making this change and she encouraged me to take some time off and go to massage school. At the time I didn’t think that I could afford to go to school but I talked it out with my then partner, Melissa McNees, and she encouraged me to do what felt right and to listen to my inner-voice. I did just that and began taking classes at the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB) in Culver City where I completed over one thousand hours of education. IPSB was an amazing experience as they had an incredible balance of physical bodywork, spiritual well being and business ethics for bodyworkers in their course load. Honestly, working with the right spa specialists makes all the difference in the world. I have truly been blessed with massage therapists, nail specialists, estheticians, yoga instructors, meditations guides, henna artists and psychic readers who love to share their amazing gifts with UNWIND Mobile Massage & Spa clients. Having such an incredible group of individuals to work with has given me an abundance of love and appreciation for all the spa specialists of the world. I also want to give a big shoutout to all of the long-term clients who consistently book services for themselves and their loved-ones, to the PTA groups that book services for their teachers, to all of the wedding coordinators who book bachelorette parties for the bride and her friends and to all of the assistants and concierge who book services for the VIP people in their lives. My wife, Sonia Ulrich, and my son, Kenyon Ertefai, are complete angels as they have given me the time and space to cultivate a successful business and balance a successful home life. All of these people have absolutely made it possible for me to grow UNWIND into the business that it is today.
Photos were taken by Monica Kenyon and by Chad Kenyon