Opening a health spa: Bonni created the ultimate self-care experience

Bonni Kelley

Bonni Kelley

Bonni blends Eastern Medicine with Western Science

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She wasn’t looking for a new career; it found her.


It all started with the downturn of the retail industry in 2010. After 30 years, Bonni lost her job in visual merchandising for Macy’s. Fortunately, Bonni has spent her whole life around horses.


Her mother had racehorses and believed in the therapeutic benefit of “gypsy remedies.” That stuck with Bonni. Caring for horses with massage was a natural extension of that. Horses work hard, even when they hurt. So when she wasn’t in the store, she was in the barn. And so she began her side hustle of doing horse massage.


She had never considered massaging humans before. Her clients came up with the idea because they thought she’d be great at it. This came at a time when she needed a new career. Trusting their judgment and ready to try something new, she went for it.


Bonni chose a school that matched her interest in Eastern sciences. She’d been practising similar modalities with horses for years. It turned out that her clients were right. The things she studied in massage therapy fueled her passion for Eastern medicine, and she built her practice around that.


She never looked back. Bonni loves her work as a massage therapist. Taking care of people who are injured or recovering from surgery is her speciality. Her only wish is that she found her calling sooner.



Creating her dream spa.


Bonni's mentor and Lomi Lomi instructor had a spa with infrared saunas and soaking tubs. This was a luxury not offered in any spas in Bonni’s area. But, it seemed to her that this was an essential part of treatment. When you're stiff and sore, the application of heat creates a deeper level of relaxation - more than massage can do on its own.


She and her husband discussed the idea of opening a spa with those amenities one day. Meanwhile, she rented space in someone else’s clinic. She built up her network and met several massage therapists who weren’t happy with where they were working.


Six years into her massage career, Bonni and her husband decided to take the plunge. They were finally going to build the spa. It was very expensive, but it proved a worthwhile investment. Now, she has a spa where self-care is done her way, with all the amenities one could want.


Today, she has 16 staff members. Eight of those are massage therapists, and their schedules are full. The spa has been open for 4 years now. Two of those years were during the pandemic. Focusing on medical massage and self-care is what saved their practice when other spas were closing.


Eventually, Bonni plans to hand over the reins and see fewer clients herself. She wants to then work only with speciality clients. Until then, she continues to build up her network. You never know when you might need another therapist’s help.



"Our medical massage clients are what saved us during Covid."



Eventually, Bonni plans to hand over the reins and see fewer clients herself. She wants to then work only with speciality clients. Until then, she continues to build up her network. You never know when you might need another therapist’s help.



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The software that helps her manage it all.


When she opened her health spa, Bonni had clients to bring with her. Fortunately, she was able to pull client files from the system used at her previous workplace. Now she needed her own clinic management system.


Bonni has always used Square for credit card processing and payroll. So, she tried out their scheduling service. But, it really didn’t work for her and her staff. Plus, it didn’t have everything she needed. What she really needed was SOAP Notes.


This spurred her to look into different SOAP Note companies.


ClinicSense has SOAP notes very similar to what she’s always used. There are even different ones to choose from. Also, it’s not just SOAP notes. It has everything she needs to run the front end of her business, including scheduling.


The ClinicSense app on her phone has been very handy. Now, Bonni knows what’s going on at the spa, with her staff and with the clients, even when she’s not there.



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