We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Beth Lombardo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah Beth, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
While learning the ropes of the massage industry the first five years I practiced, two concepts consistently returned to me. One, that we, as Licensed Massage Therapists, could be giving more tailored care and a more complete experience to our clients. And two, that as an industry standard, Licensed Massage Therapists are often under paid. In making the leap to open my own practice, one of my main visions was to break some of the paradigms of this industry. I knew in my heart that is was possible to create more supportive care for my clients, pay people what they deserve and still have a thriving, successful business. In most massage practices, sessions are booked on the hour. Time spent doing an intake with clients, allowing the client to get undressed and dressed, and sharing a treatment plan with them is all crammed into one hour. This can lead to the client feeling rushed, unheard and having their actual massage time cut short. At True Bliss, we book a full thirty minutes between sessions to accommodate enough time to have our clients feel heard, supported and never rushed. The freedom this allows us, creates a richer experience for our clients and our Massage Therapists. I love creating opportunities for fulfillment that weren’t possible under the constriction of working for someone else. We also are one of the only places where you can receive massage and Reiki during the same service. We call this service The Synergy Healing Session. It is by far our most popular service. I chose to pay my Massage Therapists double what many companies pay. I just could not, in good conscience, pay others what I had been paid while building my career. While this has contributed to a more modest profit from my business, it is something I feel good, and feel right about. It has also created a more solid foundation to build True Bliss Massage & Reiki with. Offering the people who work with me at True Bliss more than other practices offer, makes everyone happy. This flows over into the experiences we are able to offer our clients.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Before my career in Massage Therapy and Reiki, I was a mental health counselor! I transitioned into my career as a Licensed Massage Therapist and Reiki Master with the desire to help people feel better and understand the body’s workings as a whole. With a background and education in mental health, Massage Therapy and energy work, I am able to provide a more cohesive and complete healing experience for my clients. I adore being able to provide support to my clients with every layer of their being. The human experience is complex and multifaceted- it is an honor to be able to provide equally versatile care for the people who make True Bliss Massage & Reiki so successful. I’m proud that I get to be the boss I always wished I had. I’m also proud that I built this business from scratch- no investors, no co-proprietors. Just me, with a heart full of dreams and a vision I knew I could make work. True Bliss Massage & Reiki turns five years old this January 2021, and I could not be more proud of that accomplishment. It is the most rewarding thing in the world to be able to help people. I feel like I’m truly making a difference in the world. I’m so excited to see what I can create, and the ways I can elevate and grow in the next decade and beyond. It was not easy to get to where I am today professionally. It required a lot of sacrifice, and I definitely stumbled along the way. When I was trying to find my way early on, I often remembered a talk I had with my Dad many years ago. My Dad taught me that life is about building blocks. He taught me that happiness and success are built one small decision after another. Building a business from the ground up, like many things in life, can feel daunting. Putting one small building block atop of the last, lifts us to a place that one day, we look down and realize we have actually climbed the mountain. Stumbles are part of life, but it’s about falling forward, holding your head high and finding opportunities to learn and become better from our mistakes. In owning a business, you will have bumps in the road which will threaten to paralyze you. Talks with both of my parents have given me the strength to dig deep and find the resilience needed to persevere and overcome a myriad of unexpected setbacks. I’ll draw from their wisdom for as long as I live. A lesson I’ve learned along the way is that success and creation require continuous growth and resilience. In the five years True Bliss Massage & Reiki has been open, it has required me to be in a near constant state of adaptation. I’ve continued to upgrade the way I care for myself, the types of people I choose to surround myself with and the perspective I have on life. I’ve learned countless new skills, such as drywall and painting, while completing a remodel on my studio. I’ve embraced stepping outside the box as far as skills I ever thought I’d include in my repertoire! I’ve learned that boundaries are important and that gratitude is powerful. Much of my abundance has flowed from my commitment to unwavering gratitude each day. It helps me navigate with a giving heart. One of the main mission statements of True Bliss Massage & Reiki is that it’s never too late to rewrite your story. We believe touch is an incredibly powerful and natural instrument of healing, and that we have the ability to facilitate healing in ourselves and each other much more than we often realize. Our logo is a butterfly, symbolizing our sacred ability to draw within and recreate ourselves. The butterfly shows us that the most magnificent and capable version of ourselves is often times yet to be manifested. We want people to know that we will always accept them exactly the way they are each time they arrive. Our mission is to work from a space of love, drawing on a high echelon of skill sets to embrace people with highest level of care and encouragement. Healing is for everyone, and all our welcomed and honored at True Bliss.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First I’d take us to Billy’s Inn, a restaurant and bar I worked at for many years while I put myself through massage school and built my career after graduating. I can never stay away too long without some serious Billy’s food cravings, and it always feels like home when I’m there. We could take a stroll down Tennyson street afterwards and wander into some funky little shops. Then we’d head to Inspiration Point Park, it’s a perfect place to watch the sunset. One day, we’d definitely cruise up to Guanella Pass and take a hike off the beaten path. After we’d worked up an appetite and headed back to Denver, we’d get some subs and a beer from The Grateful Gnome, an East Coast Italian style sandwich shoppe and brewery. Once we’d replenished ourselves there, we could walk right across the street and catch a show at The Oriental Theater- one of Denver’s last truly independent theaters. My favorite way to start the day is to watch the sunrise at Sloan’s Lake. After this we’d head home for some much deserved hot tub time and a long nap. We’d luxuriate in a lazy day, finishing off with dinner on the Patio at Angelo’s. A perfect vacation activity would obviously be to meet up with a million of my friends at Red Rocks and dance the night away (I’m clearly dreaming of the before times of COVID). On the last day, we could cruise around Wash Park on roller skates, then lounge on a picnic blanket in the sunshine, eating watermelon and laughing the afternoon away.
Who else deserves a little credit and recognition in your story?
When I was first starting out, two women showed complete kindness and guidance to me. Although I was terrified and feeling very unsure of myself, they gave me pure encouragement and treated me as an intrinsically capable equal. These women are Katrina Shreve, Transformational Healing Specialist and Nina Johnson of Empower Thyself Reiki. I’ve also been deeply inspired by Holly Hill, owner/creator of Spirit of the Herbs and 750+ Hour Community Herbalist.