It's been one year since I took Spa Parties to the next level. What a year it's been! I had gone to school to become an Esthetician in 2013 in small town Minnesota. I then moved to Kansas City and gained an Advanced Esthetics license by March of 2014.
Making friends with those in my church community, retail job at Altar'd State (a Christian Clothing Co) and peers at school, I conjured up some fun ways to use our newfound glory.
My part time job crowned me with a "Stand for Good" Award shortly after promoting me into a Captain of Mission Monday's position. Mission Mondays were the days that a percentage from the day of sales was donated to a local non-profit or charity. I was able to select the nonprofit and decide how we would give to them.
April: Sexual Harassment Awareness Month; I decided to serve the ministry I'd spent 6 months with. This ministry is called "Prisoner's of Hope". Twice a week for six months, I met with my counseling team who had taught me forgiveness and brought me into the most life-changing experiences I'd had since enduring much abuse. My lack of victim mentality and bitterness stems from those powerful six months.
Now, I was able to love them back by providing a financial bridge so that they could do more with their ministry, impacting the sex slave trade and loving those who'd been rescued with the means needed to protect and provide for their care.
WHITE LACE PARTY I wanted to do more than set up a table for them on Monday's. We couldn't even do that as their location is private and protection for these girls is serious, that they hardly had a website at the time. I decided to propose we have a spa party.
I'd already experienced a couple of these parties with my friend Ana. She and I were classmates together and we wanted to upgrade from Walmart facial masque sleepovers to the full service in our homes! It was so nice to relax, serve each other and end the night with a Nicholas Sparks film. I knew what to do already as I did this again, for another friend by the name of Ana, who's mother was seeking fun ways to support her daughter's mission's trip.
Then came, the White Lace Party. Where many of Altar'd State Staff volunteered their time either in the kitchen, by providing foot washing and prayer by the fire, in the nursery, by the Photo Booth or at the craft table. I was tucked away beside Laura Park's live cello and worship session providing facials and prayer for the girls who'd been receiving from POH at the time.
Every girl wore something white and lacey. This provided a sweet space for them to safely walk around feminine. As a sexual abuse survivor myself, I feared men so much. I wanted to look undesirable. I decided to pursue a short hair cut, baggy clothes and eating disorders to protect myself. Many feel this way post-sexual exploitation. Now, we could feel feminine, recognize our beauty and celebrate it in a safe space called "Shiloh" in Grandview, MO.
Ana and I also provided facials at a Private boarding school and nonprofit called Shelterwood. Events like this were my favorite place to give!
Many came together, voluntarily, and prepared a 5-course meal for the ladies! It was beautiful, powerful and something anyone involved could not forget.
Years later, I sat with my friend Debi and shared my dramatic financial desperation with her. She recalled all of these Spa Parties and simply said to me, "Why don't you make that into a business?"
"Oh...You're right!" I replied
"You could call it a travel spa!" she became excited.
"Something to do with birds! My nickname is Birdie and I'd love to plug that in somewhere." I was really feeling this idea!
Later on, we came up with "Birdie's Travel Spa I Fly to You". It began by mimicking the ideas I'd used before and as a Psychology Major at Avila University, it was blossoming into something even bigger!
Not too much later, I had my friend Jarek designing Birdie's logo! (See Jarek Logic on Instagram!)
"We cater to your mental health through self-care. We promote local Salon, Spa and Wellness professionals into your home!"
Over the year, Birdie's Travel Spa was LLC'd and I was networking 20 hours a week by phone, networking breakfasts, email, and one-to-one meetings then interviews with local salon and spa professionals. I had obtained my Life Coach certification as to fill the space as a Life Coach, offering this to our services list as well. We began with two loyal massage therapists, estheticians, a yoga instructor and a life coach. Now, Birdie's has a team of 12 women who carry the torch for this movement!
Many have wanted to be a part of this. I've learned to strengthen my backbone and protect this vision from what other's wanted it to be. Some partnerships couldn't work and never started. Sometimes, my age became other's greatest judgement. This only evolved! Into more after an invite as a Guest Speaker at a local Salon Spa Connection meet up with other Salon and Spa Owners.
What was the most evident to me, was that mental health awareness and intention to focus still was something people feared and suppressed; it did not support them or their relationships with their clients. This is where Spa Etiquette became! (see more on Spa Etiquette at www.vivialeigh.com )
Through Birdie's Travel Spa, I could answer my "what if" question. "What if I could have saved Maria from Postpartum Psychosis suicide?" She was a loyal nurse happy to fill in the shifts for others without question. She was striving for excellence in every area of her life as a Mom, wife, sister, family member, friend, nurse and more. Maria tried maintaining this extreme giver mentality while struggling with Baby Blues that, in my opinion, evolved into Postpartum Anxiety, then Depression then Psychosis which resulted in her death by suicide.
She'd call me. I still have her voicemail in my phone when she'd be crying because she had to cancel our plans, because driving even 20 minutes caused her too much anxiety before a black out.
What if Maria was hospitalized for support? What if people around her were more aware of mental health illnesses? What if she had a Spa Party with a group of girlfriends and Professionals, who are mental health conscious, there to love them where they are. Giving a moment for self-care, a growing support system and time to revaluate life? Could she have been saved from leaving too soon? I like to think so.
Next, I was invited to air on KC Live, a local news channel, to promote my start-up business. I brought with me my business partner and lead massage therapist! We had an event to bring family and friends together as to understand what Birdie's was a brand new concept that would bring more synergy within the beauty industry and mental health.
Birdie's exists in memory of Maria Johanna Kangas-Regier.
Now, in the upcoming year of 2020, I will sit with Lawyers and mentors and finalize legalities and the function of this idea to love people where they are at. In their corporate office as a team building event, in their home, at their vacation space; what-have-you.
Happy 1 Year Birdie's! We are still going and growing and I couldn't feel more celebratory today! Cheers to every entrepreneur who's vision is growing. Keep going and be patient with yourself! This dream means everything to you, so cradle it and be patient in it's ambitious growth spurts!