Camille Pierson is a fellow F:entrepreneur #ialso100 2020 amazing woman! I have been interested to hear more about what has inspired this group of female entrepreneurs and I am so pleased Camille offered to share her story with honesty and openess. Thank you and good luck with the launch of the online store!
The Float Spa - Camille Pierson, Managing Director
Tell us a little bit about your business.
The Float Spa is a health and wellbeing centre based in Central Hove with a reputation for creating a deeply relaxing atmosphere with immaculate surroundings and helpful friendly staff. The Float spa provides an antidote to the stresses of modern life with treatments and classes that relax the body, calm the mind and heal both. Currently, we offer floatation therapy, a wide range of yoga classes and workshops, various massage therapies, chiropractic care, acupuncture, nutritional advice and an infrared sauna along with advice and recommendations as to which of these options would be most suitable for individuals with particular complaints or preferences.
What inspired you to set up your business?
I founded The Float Spa in 2015 with the aim of creating a community of people who wanted to look after their wellbeing. In 2014, I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety and depression following my daughter being seriously ill – my daughter got better very quickly, but the damage to my health was very severe. I started to fail at the job I loved, and my health spiralled out of control.
My father, after visiting my house and speaking to my husband, suggested I go for a float. To me I was so stressed due to work and at home I felt I was failing as a parent as I blamed myself for my daughter’s illness (even though it wasn’t my fault) I didn’t have time for myself. But I listened – my first float, I didn’t enjoy – I was stopping myself from relaxing into it (this is very common), after three floats, I could feel myself calmer and I was able to start assessing the issues. The most ‘holistic’ thing I had ever tried before floating in 2014, was a massage in Turkey. So if I felt the benefits, then the wider local community could also benefit.
It was apparent my job was a huge factor and that it’s not possible to sustain such high stress levels. So I suggested opening a float centre as there wasn’t one in Brighton & Hove, plus with my background in sales and marketing I knew I could make a success of it.
After finding the location on Third Ave, I felt there would be more opportunity to offer a wide range of therapies not just floatation. I had never heard of the term wellbeing centre before, but with a background in the corporate world, I knew first hand how to market and sell the benefits and thus The Float Spa was born. Since 2015, The Float Spa expanded, twice, and now has three float pods, 40 yoga classes a week, and infrared sauna and three treatment rooms offering a range of different massage and other alternative therapies. Plus I opened a new Training Academy earlier in 2020 .
Our reputation for excellence in everything we offer means we are now at an 80% occupancy rate and have clients needing to book popular yoga classes further and further in advance to secure a place. We have a superb retention rate for yoga customers and the up-sell rate for all our services is also very high.
What gave you the final nudge/ push to go for it?
I am incredibly lucky, my father had been a big part of my recovery. I also pitched my business idea to him. He took the risk and invested. He calls himself my Dragon (like Dragons Den).
Although he is a silent partner, having his support means I don’t get carried away with all the airy fairy bits, but he keeps me on track for all the hard sales figures.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
I think most businesses would say Coronavirus right now. The Float Spa has been booming, growing year on year, and in January 2020, I opened a new training academy aimed with training the next generation of wellbeing professionals.
BUT coronavirus presented itself. The Float Spa has been closed since 20 March 2020, we are solely reliant on people coming into the float spa – we could have potentially lost our entire revenue if I didn’t make changes. I have personally repainted the entire 3000 square feet of premises, meaning when we reopen It’s all fresh and feeling like new.
In this time, I have diversified our offering. I have created an entire member area, allowing members (if they continue their membership fees) to access yoga classes online. Plus I have setup 22 online live yoga classes, meaning clients can live stream classes from home.
I have set up our online shop. Over the past year we have developed our own Bath Salt products using our Organic Epsom Salt which we use at The Float Spa. I wrote a business proposal for a grant funder and I was able to secure a small amount of funding which means a brand new website and online shop to sell these bath products and ship them nationally. By the end of June this shop will be up and running, I am very excited by this as this is a lifeline and should help to increase revenue to what it was before the closed period.
We are allowing free use of a specialist project whilst the float spa is closed. There is a team of six acupuncturists with specialist insurance allowing them to treat only NHS workers for stress, anxiety and pain – this is important for me to be able to give back to the NHS who have risked their lives to save ours.
Describe your greatest success/ the thing you are most proud of?
Receiving letters from clients who say we have changed their life.
Floatation change my life, it’s an incredible therapy unlike anything else. So when you see peoples lives change- and I’ve seen so many peoples lives improve – when they send you a letter which they have hand written, is just wonderful.
This for me is by far the best achievement, the fact someone takes the time to write a letter and acknowledge what you have done for them – is just wonderful.
I actually keep them all.
What motivates you to keep forging ahead with your business?
I have built a passion brand as I would call it. The Float Spa is a way of life for so many including myself. The way I motivate my team, teachers and clients. It’s such a powerful place of healing.
Times have been mega difficult with the impact of Coronavirus, but the thought of not having this place reopen, better than before, is just not an option. I know how much The Float Spa changes people’s lives, I see this in action every day of the week. Even during the pandemic, I have received emails thanking me for the live classes as for some who are living alone – seeing a friendly face from a teacher they love has been their only human interaction.
All this combines gives me the extra nudge whenever things get tough.
Thank you so much to Camille for sharing her story with us here at Cat's Pajamas. We always feel inspired hearing about the journeys of others.
If you would like to find out more about The Float Spa you can visit:
Instagram - @floatspahove
Facebook - @thefloatspa
Twitter - @floatspa