We polled our social media to find out what kind of special we should offer this Valentine’s Day. Most people preferred a discount on massage services over a product gift package. Here is what we came up with:
Two 60-min Massages for $150! (Save $48!)
Treat your sweetheart - and yourself! - to a massage this Valentine’s Day. (Our couple’s massages are temporarily only available in separate rooms due to Covid19 space requirements.) Offer available for purchase until 2/14/21; must redeem within 12 months. Limit one per person. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts.
Retail: Local Vendors
We are very excited to have found so many local vendors to work with. Currently, we carry an assortment of candles from Warm Delights Crafts in Bourne, CBD Salves & Soaps from By the Bay Farms in Bourne, pressed flower pendants made by Amanda Coleman Designs in Harwich, and honey from Tuck-a-Way Farms in Harwich. The newest addition to our retail offerings are greeting cards by Amy Mason Designs in Brewster. We have a few other vendors that we are working out details with; we will share these new offerings once we have items in stock.
Another local vendor we want to acknowledge is Green Road Refill. This Orleans-based company sells products by the ounce, allowing us to refill containers with cleaning supplies which reduces our plastic consumption. We have begun the process of switching over from plastic single-use products to refillable glass containers. To make it even better, they are mobile and can be found at various farmer’s markets around the Cape.
A quick note about retail vs add-on sizes: We offer massage oil & CBD salve as both a retail item and an add-on to massage services. To differentiate between the two, we use a smaller size for add ons. Due to how way our inventory is set up, the add-on sizes are not available for retail purchase.
Retail: Made In-House
We are expanding our in-house products to include a larger variety of bath salts and massage oils. As we develop our recipes, we will share the combinations on social media so that you can help us create fun names for each blend. Winners will receive a complimentary bottle or jar of the product they helped name as a thank you. To participate in our product giveaways, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
To help reduce waste, we will be offering a discount on product refills. Once you’ve used up your massage oil or bath salts, simply bring back the clean container and we will make you a new one on the spot for a discounted rate.
There is a lot of confusion in our industry as to when we are eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccination. Based on the current state vaccination roll-out plan, massage therapists cannot receive a vaccine until Phase 3. This is estimated to begin in April. The CDC has massage listed as part of Phase 1. We have reached out to our local state representative for clarification on this.
Ashley and Pallas intend to stagger their vaccination appointments so that we have one active massage therapist at all times. They will take 1-2 days off immediately after receiving each dose of the vaccine, in case of any side effects.
All of the information currently available indicates that once vaccinated, we still need to wear masks. Vaccine recipients may not experience the worst of the virus but they can still become asymptomatic carriers. While this news disappoints us, we still intend to do anything we can to slow or stop the spread. We will happily inform you when masks are no longer a requirement.
Planned Schedule Changes
As more people get vaccinated, we have more past clients reaching out to receive services. Increased demand means we need to increase our availability. Our current schedule is staggered to reduce overlap as much as possible. Once the Cape is no longer considered a red zone or our massage therapists receive the vaccine, we will shift back to overlapping schedules. By overlapping our shifts, we open the availability for another massage therapist, or similar practitioner, to join our team. Ideally, the schedule shift will coincide with introducing a new team member.
We have put out feelers to the local massage community in an effort to fill the opening. For anyone interested, the details of the position are posted here. We anticipate both the schedule shift and the new hire to happen by April, if not before.
Several clients have reached out with questions about the business regarding the difficulties presented by the pandemic. This email hopefully answers many of those questions. Deciding how much to share during the year has resulted in our team defining and agreeing upon core values. We send this email in the spirit of transparency and recognize that this is a lot of information. Rest assured, despite all of the challenges 2020 has thrown at us, we plan on operating at least another fifteen years.
The Impact of the Pandemic
There is no denying that 2020 was the most difficult year we have faced as a business. Closing March 12th-June 30th significantly impacted our overall financial situation. Our growth percentages, for both gross sales and number of appointments, over the last five years demonstrate the sustainability of our business model. The numbers for 2020 fall well outside of our normal or expected range.
During the closure, our staff filed for unemployment. Pallas got a temporary job in the lumber yard at Stonewood Products in Harwich. (This lasted for approximately one month before she lifted too much and hurt herself. Thankfully, unemployment for self-employed persons became available around the same time.) Pallas and Ashley have used the mandatory downtime to work on continuing education. For various reasons, our staff of nine in February reduced to four actively working by December.
Many of our clients had the ability and willingness to provide financial assistance during the closure by pre-paying for services or gift certificates. They accrued massages to receive later and we had access to funds to cover our overhead expenses. Their loyalty to our business goes beyond anything we expected. The gratitude and appreciation we feel towards these clients cannot be adequately expressed.
Oasis Massage also received financial assistance in the form of a PPP loan and a low-interest EIDL loan. We are currently in the forgiveness application process for the PPP. We accepted less than half of the offered EIDL loan. Repayment of the EIDL begins May 2021. Some of those funds still remain in our business savings account. We rely first on our business cash flow and supplement with the EIDL funds, transfering only what we need to make it through the pandemic. This is the first time, in our fifteen year history, that we have had any formal business debt.
In the Event of Another Mandatory Closure
If we roll back prior to Phase 2 Step 2 of the Reopening Plan for Massachusetts, we will face another mandatory closure. If this occurs, all client billing will pause until we are allowed to reopen. We continuously reassess our financial situation and will investigate additional funding options if needed. Our emails and blog posts will continue to keep everyone updated as information changes. When we reopen, we will let our clients know by email. Scheduling will begin with clients that have pre-paid services on their accounts.
The Future of Oasis Massage
Short term, we have focused on getting clients caught up on pre-paid services, which will re-stabilize our cash flow. At that point, we can bring back more (or hire new) employees. We expect it to take up to eighteen months to get back to where we were in February 2020. Once we have achieved that goal, we will reassess our plans for business growth. Ashley has recently begun looking into grant opportunities for small businesses. This would supplement our cash flow and decrease the overall amount of time for us to fully recover financially.
Long term, we plan to expand into a comprehensive wellness center dedicated to pain management and recovery. This goal has shifted several years into the future, out of necessity. The first, and biggest step, towards this goal will be the purchase of a permanent location. Our vision is to have the capacity to assess, treat, retrain, and maintain our clients' health. To accomplish this, we’d love to add acupuncture, chiropractic services, and/or physical therapy, as well as a fitness studio for various classes and events. However, the additional services and amenities we eventually offer will depend entirely on what the permanent location can accommodate.
Behind the Scenes Changes
The sale of hands-on services generates nearly all of our income. This has made diversification of the business income streams a priority. Our booking software includes the potential to offer classes, both in person and virtually, as well as an online store. We will explore the class options more once Pallas has completed the Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) and Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) courses. Our online store has expanded to include a variety of locally made items. Due to space limitations, we only keep a curated selection from each vendor in stock. We plan to transform one wall into an art gallery, featuring paintings and photographs from local artists. We appreciate any introductions to local vendors or artisans that we can create a mutually beneficial partnership with.
Prior to the pandemic, we had discussed ways to make massage therapy a more sustainable career option. Currently, most massage therapists only earn commission and gratuities. This means that if they aren’t booked, they don’t get paid. When we reopened, we implemented a pay restructure to give our massage therapists an hourly wage in addition to commission and gratuities. This means they now get paid for their entire shift, whether fully booked or not. This compensates our staff for time spent on continuing education, professional development, and maintaining sanitation standards.
Another step towards career sustainability involves benefits. We now provide PTO and paid sick time. Following a business restructure, we will add a simple IRA with employer matching. The planned restructuring will happen in 2021 and allows Pallas to become an employee, thus gaining access to the benefits offered to her staff.
Roll Backs & Red Zones
As of today's press conference, Governor Baker has not rolled back beyond Phase 3, Step 1. The mayor of Boston rolled back farther but that only applies to Boston at this time. Massage falls under Phase 2, Step 2. Until we go back to a prior phase, we will remain open and provide services to the best of our ability. We have our masks on during all client interactions, and wear a new apron for every client. The glove requirement has been waived for massage therapy but we still have an ample supply for clients that prefer us to use them.
Our massage therapists live in Yarmouth, which is now considered a red zone. They both have limited their interactions to work, gas station, and minimal grocery store runs. All of these activities are done with a mask on. Neither have had any confirmed exposure or symptoms. The schedule changes have minimized the potential exposure between staff members. In the rare instance we have an overlap in our schedules, all staff wear masks around each other.
With that information in mind, clients that feel comfortable coming in may continue to do so. Clients that want to wait, please let us know so we can pause any billing and/or adjust expiration dates on pre-paid services.
We do not expect to have access to the vaccine until April, at the earliest. This gives us time to discuss and research more before we make any definitive decisions. We will not require our staff or clients to receive the vaccine to continue working or to receive services. It is new, both the virus it is treating and the mRNA delivery method. The best decision for one person differs from the best decision for someone else. However, based on our discussions thus far, our staff seem likely to choose to vaccinate. (Did you know that Ashley’s educational background includes 3 years of nursing school as well as continuing education classes on pharmaceuticals?!) For more information on the timeline for distribution of the vaccine, visit Mass.gov/COVIDvaccine
It's that time of year again... Here are the details for this year's holiday raffle:
Price Restructure coming January 1st
Regarding the schedule changes
We will not close on Thursday mornings. We misread the CDC website; we thought it updated Thursdays at 5am when it is Thursdays at 5pm. This means closing Thursday mornings to assess is completely unnecessary. Thursday’s reported changes will be reflected in Friday’s appointments.
We will begin shifting the schedule to reduce the possibility of exposure between staff, which means less exposure between clients. Moving forward, only two people will be in the office at a time. Pallas will work 9-2:30 and Ashley will work 2:30-7pm. If one tests positive, the other will not have been exposed and will be able to continue providing services. This change does reduce the overall number of appointments available. We will add more on Mondays to compensate but recommend planning ahead to get preferred appointment times. Any appointments already scheduled will not be affected by this schedule change.
We are following the Governor’s announcements, the CDC recommendations, and the Mass.gov compliance mandates for our industry. As the red zones cover more of the Cape, we will need to modify our policies as new information gets presented. If you have suggestions on how we could make you feel more safe, please let us know.
It's that time of year again... Here are the details for this year's holiday raffle:
Price Restructure coming January 1st
With the holidays right around the corner, leave it to 2020 to make that more challenging than ever before! The pandemic numbers are rising closer to home and we need to evaluate our policies to decide the best course of action moving forward. Our top priority during these uncertain times is keeping our staff and our clients safe.
What We Know:
We have exciting new inventory to offer in our online store. If you have hard to shop for friends or family, Mary can work with you to create the perfect gift for any holiday or occasion. Select the items you want included, with or without Mary’s assistance as gift concierge. She will arrange them artfully in the gift bag of your choosing and coordinate either a no contact pick-up or a no contact local delivery (for our home-bound clients).
Pricing current as of Jan 1, 2021 ; subject to change without notice.