Interview with Sharon Wright, Wendy Wright and Misty Clark of Massage Envy
Tell us about your company, it’s purpose, mission, target audience, goals, what makes it unique.
My mom and I are franchise owners of Massage Envy located off highway 360 in the South Grand Prairie/Mansfield area. Our clinic offers different types of massages ranging from deep tissue to Swedish to hot stone and we even have couple massages. Unlike your typical spa, we don’t try to cater only to the wealthy. We believe massage therapy should be convenient and affordable for everyone—which is why we offer a $39, hour-long massage session and are open seven days a week with hours that actually work for working people. That’s what makes Massage Envy so special, in my opinion. You’re getting a quality massage just like you would at a fancy spa, but you’re getting it for a reasonable price. That’s something we all could use these days.
How did you come to work together in the first place?
I’ve always wanted to own my own business, but I never had a clear picture of what I wanted to do. While working as a lawyer in Houston, a friend introduced me to a Massage Envy clinic near there, and I tried it out. I had such a great experience there and found that I could actually afford to go more often, so I did. I was really intrigued by the business model, too. Applying the membership system to a massage clinic to ensure affordable prices seemed like such an innovative idea. I looked into further and got excited thinking, “I could really do this.” But I knew I didn’t want to do this alone. I talked to my mom and dad about it because my parents have always been my biggest supporters. My mom, who is a school teacher approaching retirement, was super excited and wanted to be a part of it. We decided to go into the business together as partners to build a business we already enjoyed and could both rely on for our futures.
Please describe your respective roles in the company.
While we are co-owners of the clinic, we share very different roles in the business right now. For me, Massage Envy is my career and so my entire focus is on making it successful. I primarily run the business, making behind-the-scenes decisions and trying to promote our clinic to the public. My mom has a full-time job as a first grade teacher, so she can’t be at the clinic all the time. Eventually after she retires, she wants to take a more active role, but it’s just not an option right now. One of the decisions mom and I made together early on was to hire my older sister to work as our clinic administrator and manage the day-to-day operations. She has wholeheartedly stepped in to make this her full-time career. We really are family-owned and operated now.
How has working together affected your relationship outside the “office.” In other words how do you keep family matters separate from work related issues?
Because my mom is still a full-time teacher, she has chosen a less active role. She leaves most business decisions up to me, so it has not been difficult to keep work issues separate from family issues when it comes to her. She still wants to be a part of making our business successful, so I do come to her with decisions we can make together. Sometimes, when we clash about a decision, we have to take a step back and look at how we would approach this situation if she wasn’t my mother or if I wasn’t her daughter. She’s very easygoing, so we don’t have too many problems. We do spend a lot of time together outside of Massage Envy with our family. It’s important to not let the business interfere with our relationship. My first priority will always be my family.
What are some of the challenges you have faced working together?
Because mom isn’t involved as much with the day-to-day part of the business and my sister is as our clinic administrator, I think for me it has been somewhat challenging learning how to translate my role as a sister to my role as a boss and having my big sister work for me. With my mom I’m a little more respectful, but my sister is my sister! We’re going to have differences of opinion sometimes. But no matter what, I am truly thankful and proud that my sister has very graciously accepted these roles, and, even when I might have wished I handled a difficult situation or conversation with her better, she has been so understanding and continues to impress me with her dedication to our business.
My mom and I both are so proud to be women who are first time business owners. Opening the clinic alone has been a huge accomplishment for us. Since our opening, we have seen more and more people come in each week and are excited to see new clients become regulars. We’ve had a lot of people tell us how great their Massage Envy experience was and that they’ll recommend us to their friends, so that has been a triumph. My mom and I are just so happy and excited to be on this journey together that even the little things excite us. This weekend my family is going to the Mansfield movie theater to see the Massage Envy ad we bought to be shown before movies. I imagine we’ll be pretty proud when we see it on the big screen!
What do you like best about working together? Least?
The best thing about working together is being a team. We are first time women business owners and we only accomplished that because we did it together. There is no question that when one of us needs support or an extra hand, the other will step up to the task. I don’t know that I could say that about anyone else, but my mom and sister.
What, if any big challenges or little annoyances have occurred as a result of working together and how have you managed to overcome them?
I think it can be hard to allocate responsibility between us since we have such different roles in the business. Although there are positives to being able to make the decisions for our business on my own, it also made it hard for me to handle the stress that goes along with that. There were times when I felt really overwhelmed and I regret that I sometimes took my frustrations out on mom by being impatient or angry at her (hard to believe, right mom?). Luckily mom is very forgiving, and we both knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Since finally opening our doors two months ago after a year of waiting, things are a little less stressful. Mom, my sister and I have eased into our respective roles quite well and we each step in to help when we are needed.
What tips would you share with our readers for working with a member of the family?
I think working with a member of the family is fantastic because there are so few people you can trust wholeheartedly; however, it helps to be thick skinned and try to put aside your relationship as family members and focus on your relationship as business partners. It also helps to spend some personal time together outside of work doing something you both enjoy and not discussing the business.
What’s been the most exciting thing that has happened as a result of working together?
The most exciting thing about working with my mom and sister has been feeling that I have had a part in bringing them happiness and success. My mom and dad both worked hard and sacrificed so much for their kids and I am thrilled to be able to give back to them.
What’s next for this mother daughter team?
Mom and I don’t plan to stop with one Massage Envy clinic. In the near future, we look forward to opening more businesses together and continuing the tradition we started as a successful mother/daughter team. A vacation would be nice, too!
To learn more about Massage Envy go to www.massageenvy.com
This article can be read in the Spring/Summer Issue of WE Magazine for Women