Massage Therapist Creates Haven with Help of ASBTDC

January 19th, 2018 by Gwen Green

Licensed massage therapist Elizabeth Sniegocki has worked in small spas, a Massage Envy franchise, and a chiropractor’s office. Now she is applying all those experiences to a place of her own.

Sniegocki owns and operates Haven Massage Therapy in Little Rock. She opened Haven in September 2017.

“After school, I worked in a lot of environments. I started out in a bathhouse in Hot Springs,” she said. “Seeing what worked and didn’t work, I thought I could do better.”

Elizabeth Sniegocki, owner and operator of Haven Massage Therapy

She believes massage shouldn’t be an expensive treat but a regular means of caring for one’s self. “I’m not trying to cater to people who are on vacation or only getting a massage because it’s their birthday,” she said. “I want to have a place where massage is affordable.”

Haven is Sniegocki’s second go at having her own massage therapy business. The first time, she “was young and winging it.”

“I made ends meet, but I hurt my shoulder and had to take some time off. When you’re the only employee, you can’t take time off,” she said.

Sniegocki kept believing she could do better on her own – and wanted a schedule she controlled.

Early in 2017, ready to take a small step toward her goal, she Googled business classes in Little Rock, which led her to a business financing seminar at the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in April. The class material was “great,” she said, but the best thing she learned was all the ways the center could assist her, free of charge.

“This time, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right,” she said.

She began working with ASBTDC business consultant Nicolas Mayerhoeffer on her business plan and startup requirements. “He went over everything and checked on me on a regular basis. I procrastinate, and he stayed on my case,” said Liz.

Sniegocki found Mayerhoeffer’s extensive marketing knowledge especially helpful. He assisted her with developing a marketing plan, providing custom market research, including market potential and consumer spending reports and data about Haven’s target customer. He also advised her about websites, social media, and e-commerce.

“He’s been really helpful and reassuring,” she said. “He will say, ‘I can’t tell you what to do,” and that it’s my decision, but it’s nice to have someone say, ‘Don’t pay extra for that.’”

For others thinking of starting a business, Sniegocki has two pieces of advice: first, do one thing every day to move forward, and second, contact the ASBTDC. “I have another massage therapist friend who opened up her own place not long before me. I told her, ‘You need to talk to them. It doesn’t cost anything. I’ll keep your kids. Just go.’”

Her vision for Haven includes expansion. She wants to add staff and new services and is also interested in offering some retail products, such as essential oils.

“For clients and massage therapists, I think I can make the kind of environment where they want to stay for years and years,” said Sniegocki.

Haven Massage Therapy is located at 12310 Chenal Parkway inside Sola Salons. Learn more at havenmassagetherapylr.com.

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