Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ceallaigh Pender, Founder of Salvation Wellness, located in Jersey City, NJ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I own a wellness company that focuses on services like massage, meditation, saunas, and facials, as well as holistic body and skincare.

Tell us about yourself

I am all about being a massage therapist, movement specialist, yogini, herbalist, and aromatherapist who is trained in over 25 bodywork techniques. I have worked in the field of massage and wellness for over 2 decades. I have worked with various medical practitioners, physical therapists, professional athletic teams, and Olympians. I have toured as a massage therapist with several well-known musicians and bands.

I created a system that custom tailors each client's session for their specific bodywork goals and preferences and trains each of my staff to think with a deductive and curious mind. To fit the need of each client, I have trained my team to be able to tailor each session with manipulation, manual bodywork, stretching, cupping, and corrective exercise. I train each and every therapist on staff to think critically and deductively about your body and then work comprehensively to create deep relief.

I am proud to be a founding board member of TEDxJerseyCity and Massage Without Borders and to have had the privilege of volunteering with nonprofit groups like the Hyacinth Aids Foundation and Life Rolls On. I currently sit as the State Chair for Community Service for the American Massage Therapy Association and am an Executive Board Member of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education as the Strategic Planning Chair. I have taught as a professor at Cortiva Massage Institute in Hoboken, NJ, Essex County College in Newark, NJ, as well as the Eastern International College in topics such as Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, and Sports Massage. I am a Nationally Board Certified Continuing Education Provider with the NCBTMB.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think it's these two things, surpassing the 1 million dollar mark annually and doing so by creating a company that has humanness at its heart. I love that when we have an employee that is struggling with their job, we don't punish them; we see how we can help with whatever is going on for them, and when someone is doing awesome, we look to see how we can help them feel seen and valued in a way that translates for them.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Dealing with entitled customers who have unreasonable demands that we can't do anything about.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Make sure you know the industry you're about to start in, inside and out.
  2. While it sounds fun to have partners, it can be REALLY hard to navigate when you disagree about the direction of the company. I have found much greater success without partners.
  3. Outsource as much as you possibly can, as quickly as you can without compromising quality. You can't be an expert at everything, and trying to be will hold you back.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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