As their children flew the coop and moved out of their family home in Chicago, Hugh and Shauna realized they were ready for the next phase of their life. Both originally from the West, Hugh from California and Shauna from Utah, they decided to get back to their roots and followed their kids with a move to Utah. A 20-year business manager for a law firm with an MBA and computer science degree, Hugh always had a passion for business. Shauna, also an entrepreneur at heart, owned and ran a window treatment business in the Chicago area with a degree in clothing and textiles. Business was in their blood, and it was time for a new venture out west.
They began looking at businesses of all kinds, both franchise and otherwise. They dug into their passions and realized that they had both become faithful believers in massage. Hugh had suffered from chronic back pain and Shauna an auto-immune disease, and both found incredible relief through massage therapy. As they continued their research, they came across Elements Massage® (“Elements”) and were immediately drawn to the single focus on massage and simple business model. They loved the health benefits that massage offers and the Elements approach to massage.
As they continued down the education path with Elements, everything along the way presented itself as a great opportunity. Hugh and Shauna researched several direct competitors to Elements Massage® and they just weren’t as impressed. Other brands also focused on products and spa services, while Elements just focused on world-class massage and the benefits of it.
“We felt that it was a lot simpler not to have to carry inventory, deal with sales tax and all that comes with product sales. We wanted to do one thing really well, instead of trying to do a lot of things just so-so,” Hugh said.
They dove into Elements, head first. With the process and tools that were presented, they learned everything they needed to know about massage, and running and marketing their businesses. As the first Elements in Utah, they broke new ground and thus, really had to take a deep dive into their consumer. Not without some initial struggle, they quickly realized the importance of educating their guests on the benefits of massage, eventually growing their business to an award-winning one*.
“We just started to grow and have been growing rapidly ever since,” says Hugh. “We swear by the service path that Elements has provided and appreciate that we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. It has been critical to our continued growth.”
Currently looking to open a second Elements Massage location, they are planning for the future. They currently work on the business full-time, as Hugh and Shauna are passionate about being involved in its growth. As their second location opens and their businesses move into more of a maintenance mode, they will begin to bring on managers and spend less time on the business themselves.
To future franchise owners and candidates, Hugh and Shauna advise that you need to love business, and love people – the people drive the numbers; the numbers don’t drive the people. He says that franchise owners also need to realize that they can’t do everything themselves, and has really liked Elements approach to the franchisor/franchise owner relationship.
“You need to get your hands dirty, get in and learn everything from the Support Center and other owners. Be ready for a crazy but fun ride,” Hugh advises.
*Hugh and Shauna were presented the Rising Star award at the 2016 Elements Massage National Conference.