Small Business Spotlight on…Alexandra House Spa

If you need to relax and unwind (and honestly, who doesn’t?), this place is just the ticket!

Can you introduce your business in 10 words or less? 
A holistic health spa offering an escape from the world.
 
How long has your business been running, and what drove you to start it? 
The spa has been open for 14 years. I used to have a very busy job working in cancer research and was feeling disillusioned by the job. On a holiday to Bali, I felt inspired to open a spa. My heart told me it was the right thing to do even though I knew nothing about spas or running a business. It was the best decision I’ve ever made!
 
Where is your business based, and what led you to choose to be based there? 
The spa is in Birkby, Huddersfield. I am from Liversedge and wanted to be close to there. Eight years ago I bought the current premises which was a former mill owner’s house and had been owned by two surgeons and two GPs – I feel that there is healing in the walls so it’s a perfect choice. And the gardens are amazing too. A little oasis near Huddersfield town centre!

What are your most popular items/services? Why do you think this is popular with customers? 
Massage is the most popular treatment, closely followed by our beautiful Thermal Rooms. Lots of people carry tension in their backs and shoulders and a regular massage keeps that at bay. The power of touch is also key. The Thermal Rooms, which are heated relaxation rooms, are popular as we keep them purposely quiet and they are unique rooms that are perfect for soothing both your mind and your body.
 
Do you have any employees?  
Yes, we employ 15 people and we have a fantastic team who really care about what they do. They are expert in their jobs and strive to make sure that everyone receives the best treatment possible with great customer service.

What’s your favourite job/task that you do as part of your business, and why? 
I love meeting our customers and enabling them to have the best possible experience when they visit the spa. We’ve developed great relationships with our clients – it’s like an extended family with a sense of belonging, which is really heart-warming.
 
What impact has the pandemic/lockdown had on your business?  Would you carry on with any of your new ways of working even when things are back to normal? 
We’ve had to close the spa 3 times and have been closed for 7 months in total. It’s been tough to manage and difficult seeing clients who benefit from regular treatment struggling with physical tension and mental health issues. We’re not just a place for pampering, it’s deeper than that. I really missed seeing our clients. Our team were amazing during lockdown and really supported each other which was lovely to see. Now we are open again we are really busy – people are beginning to realise the benefits of regularly looking after their wellness.

As a relatively small spa, we haven’t had to make many changes to our ways of working. We have longer gaps between treatments which has actually benefited the staff (and in turn our clients) and we will continue this practice. We also have no overlap in the Thermal Rooms now which means clients have exclusive use of the rooms and we will carry on with this going forward.
 
Where do you see yourself/your business in 5 years? 
The business will continue to be thriving and offering high-quality treatments. I’m hoping to be working fewer hours and be training a manager to take over some of my jobs.
 
What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking of starting their own business? 
Follow your heart. When I decided to set up the spa, everyone in my life thought I was crazy and advised against it. But I knew it was the right thing to do and I’ve never regretted it. Also, don’t be strayed by people wanting to take your business in a different direction – people suggested that I should also offer beauty services at the spa but it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I’m so pleased that I stood my ground as the focus on holistic services has created a strong core offering of peace and relaxation.
 

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