Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday's Woman-Tara, founder of Tara Spa Therapy

Early in my career I studied aromatherapy, and its been of great interest to me and often go to source for healing - in fact, aromatherapy is one of the treatments I use to help me get my sense of smell and taste recovered since my concussion post accident. I use aromatherapy for bathing, and prepare the face for cleansing, there are many oils that would benefit various ailments and often used them when massaging my sons before bed time when they were toddlers and even now when they request a massage.
It was during one of opening Kiva Spa in Chicago that I first met Tara from Tara Spa Therapy, I relied on her excellence in products but also her knowledge and partnership for creating unique spa treatments for world class spas. Tara has touched many in the spa world by leading the industry with her innovative treatments and regional specialties designed for destination spas across the globe.

She is a pioneer in a market where there are many "me too or copy cat brands" often calling themselves natural but in fact are far from it. I appreciate her staying true to her mission and being authentic.

I was able to interview Tara recently before she left for a trip to Paris and I hope you enjoy getting to know this wonderful woman, her company & unique products.
One of the missions I have for the blog is to highlight unique business women and share their stories...

Tara Grodjesk, Founder Tara Spa Therapy
BC: What is your background and tell me about your career path? 
TG: Honors Degree in psychology from University of Michigan. Studied Humanistic Psychology and Human Potential- How we lead a fulfilling life full of peak and transformative experiences. Stumbled into massage school at the age of 21 never having had a massage before in my life. Trained as a structural bodyworker and was certified as a holistic health educator. Went on to study ayurvedic medicine in a 3 year medical program with clinical practice. Opened my own clinic in NYC and NJ: Bodywise, the Center for Relaxation and Rejuventation where I did structural bodywork sessions and yoga therapy and ayurvedic consultations. I started training massage therapists and spa professional in the spa industry beginning in 1987 Founded the TARA brand in 1996.

BC: How did you first come to create your brand Tara Spa Therapy? 

TG: I was representing different companies and realized that I was helping put everyone else on the map with their brands and it was time for me to put myself on the map. I had been developing treatment programs and creating signature treatments and regional specialities for spa consultants and spa directors. I started two divisions of my company: spa products and spa consulting.

BC: As a business woman, what's been really gratifying? 

TG: To realize that through my products I have touched hundreds of thousands of individuals. And that I've maintained my integrity and authenticity despite the corruption in the business world today..

BC: What are the lessons that have been challenging in growing your brand?

TG: Being under-capitalized is really challenging. I didn't have a business plan, I had a vision and inspiration and used the bootstrap method. It's a hard way to go and takes a lot of dedication and a ton of passion for your mission. Funding is key to being able to grow to the next level. 

BC: Companies like life have cycles of development from infancy where there are no limits just enthusiasm and strong creative energy to teenage years where some constraints are then put in place as a company grows, where are you in your business life cycle and what are your hopes for the future of Tara Spa Therapy? 

TG: I have watched the different cycles and realize we are in a place where the entrepreneurial phase has run its course; its really time for a business executive and business development experts to take it to the next level. I am still wanting to stay involved and help to impart the vision and philosophy of the brand, but it needs more strategic expertise than I can give it on my own. The other interesting note is to see if you stick around long enough, customers cycle back and you stay in the game. its' so odd to watch that happen, and some of my first customers are still buying my products since 1989!

BC: what has inspired you in helping others achieve wellness?
TG: Its been a vision of mine since I went to the holistic health institute. I wanted to help others live a healthy happy vital life so that we can all be and do better in the world and ultimately impact social change and really make a difference in the world, for the better.
BC: You travel extensively both domestically and internationally and I think you can relate to this next question & I am curious how you care for yourself while on the road, perhaps there are some tips you feel would be beneficial - with today's lifestyle being plugged in 24/7, I worry about how we model healthy behavior for ourselves and our children, are their rituals that make sense to do daily that help manage stress that you have found supports a busy lifestyle? 
TG: I know it sounds cliché but the following is what helps to keep me balanced in the day to day: meditation, breath awareness, physical exercise- I love yoga especially. And right eating.
BC: I find your seasonal product for achieving wellness so practical, how did you come up with this concept(what's this based on) and do you have a subscription program for folks that want to sign up for this on your website?
TG: Staying Healthy Through the Seasons is based on the Ayurvedic philosophy that our bodies need different things at different times of year. And if we attune to the natural rhythms of nature we can help maintain our own sense of balance and well-being. I love this program because it reminds us that our needs change as the seasons change. Winter is a time to boost immunity and to warm the bones.  Spring is a time to cleanse and detox; Summer is a time to chill out and refresh; Autumn is a time for Balancing. Now of course we can use all of this all year round, but these season are best for those wellness practices.I don't have a subscription program yet, but I hope to soon. Yet all of the staying healthy through the seasons products are available on my website

BC: What products do you always take with you?
TG: I never leave home without 3 bottles of bath and diffuser oil and some unscented lotion. I can use the concentrated essential oil blend such as detoxifying or revitalizing in the bath- which is the first thing I try to do when I travel to get grounded and re-align; take a bath. And I can also use the blend mixed with unscented lotion after I shower for an aromatherapy treatment on my skin. I can use the blend as a natural perfume. Very

BC: Some of my favorite products include the bath salts, I love to have a great soak at night before bed and the restful sleep collection is perfect to help me relax into a deep slumber.

(I was once talking to someone who said they never take a bath! seriously? I was shocked but maybe we need a quick survey! (Leave a comment below as to whether you prefer bath, showers or like me do both ...shower in the am and soak at night...lots of "good" thinking gets done in the soak)

Tara Bath Salt Collections -there is even one for PMS, (just saying you don't have to struggle with it!)

This is an excellent aromatherapy for adding a few drops to your children's bath or adding a few drops to Tara Unscented Lotion and customizing a after bath massage for your children, its relaxing for the children, creates a ritual and bonding experience & truly helps to reduce stress.

BC: Tara, thank you for taking the time to share more about you and your company, on behalf of my readers, its been a great pleasure!

Readers, I hope you are enjoying the Wednesday's Woman feature.