One studio is located in Mobile, Ala.; the other in Pearland, Texas. Like many Elements Massage™ (Elements) studios, these two are run by inspired, entrepreneurial women. What these two studios also have in common is that they are both run by a mother-daughter team. And in the case of the Mobile studio, grandmother is involved as well.
Three generations at work
Claudia McClure worked as a nurse for 30 years, until she suffered a back injury and decided to retire. At about the same time, her daughter, Rebecca Murphy, worked at a massage studio in Florida, and thought the timing would be right to start her own massage studio. Claudia and Rebecca traveled to Denver to learn about Elements and felt it was a great fit for them.
“We loved the size and culture of Elements,” says Claudia. “It turned out to be exactly what we were looking for. And with my back problems, the massage therapy treatments really helped keep me going.”
Claudia owns the studio and Rebecca runs the day-to-day operations. Claudia’s mom, Aline Waller, a retired accountant, does the studio’s bookkeeping and payroll. It’s been that way since 2008, when the family opened their first Elements in Mobile. That is until recently. Aline is now 86 and has had to relinquish most of her accounting duties, but she is not stepping away quietly.
“Mom is very set in her ways,” laughs Claudia. “She is still involved and telling me what to do, and it’s hard because she’s done so much for us.”
Rebecca says that Aline and Claudia have aided her growth in running the business. She has enjoyed learning essential business tactics from two women who also helped to raise her.
“I feel like I’ve gotten the best of both worlds,” says Rebecca. “My mom’s nursing background has helped me so much with managing our therapists and staff. My grandma has taught me the books. I don’t think I could have done this on my own without family, especially the strong support from these two amazing women.”
Although their business blends family and work, Claudia says a big part of her job is still managing people, even if some of the people are her family.
“I like to tease everyone by saying I’m still in middle management,” adds Claudia. “Still, sometimes it’s tough working as a family. There are times when you have to break away from the business side of things and just be a family above all else.”
Rebecca, Claudia’s only daughter, says sometimes she just needs her mom to be a mom. “On those occasions, I tell everyone, ‘Time out, I don’t want to talk business.’ So we just take a break and reset sometimes, which really helps.”
Asked about her own family, Rebecca says her son has been in the studio since he was born, and her four-year-old daughter thinks she gives good massages. Chances are there will be a fourth generation down the road.
Family together in Texas
Across a couple of state lines and into Texas, things are a bit different. In Pearland, Lety Jimenez-Ler and daughter, Sara Sotelo, opened their studio in November 2015. It’s still too early to not be thinking about business 100 percent of the time.
Sara was studying to be a teacher when Lety offered her the manager’s position at Pearland. Sara says she will eventually finish college, but it will most likely be in business, because she’s realized how much she loves the massage business and working for her mom.
“My mom worked in retail management most of her career and she has taught me so much,” says Sara. “We are constantly role playing and I’m never afraid to ask her anything when it comes to creating a better customer experience.”
Lety is proud her daughter has picked up some of the nuances of business so quickly, and believes they learn from one another and together provide a proper balance to the studio.
“Her skills in customer service are really good,” says Lety. “And I think, who better to develop her than me? I learn from her, too. I’m very vocal and always go, go, go. She tells me to calm down, it’s going to get done. Of course, it’s just like when she was a young girl and I had to tell her three times to clean her room. She’s getting better though.”
Both of these women are exceptional at recognizing each other’s talents. As owner and lead therapist, Lety works the back of the studio, while Sara runs the front office and welcome desk. They keep things professional for their staff and clients, calling each other by their first names. And when there are any problems, Sara still says, let me talk to the owner.
“I really admire my mom,” adds Sara. “She works so hard and has taught me to work harder.”
The admiration clearly goes both ways.
“Sara has a beautiful personality and the clients love her,” says a very proud mom. “To see her blossom into the woman she is becoming and to see her accomplishments is so rewarding.”
Andrew Jackson once said his mom was “the only capital I had to start life with, and on that capital I have made my way." Jackson’s quote is a fitting tribute to the women who have made their own accomplishments a family affair.
This Mother’s Day, all of these women will be working, together. They are in a service business, and holidays are often the busiest times of the year. We hope all Elements’ mothers, whether they are in the studio or not this Sunday, have a joyful Mother’s Day.
Additionally, Elements would like to recognize all the moms around the country; your calling is among the noblest in the world. Happy Mother’s Day!