Women With Know How Interview: Corie Rae

How did you get started in the business?

I firmly believe that this industry chose me for many beautiful reasons, and that I put very little thought into it at the beginning of my career. I had a difficult childhood where touch, affection and personal security were very skewed and unhealthy. I wandered for many years determined to do what I thought I should be doing, then one day I just slowed down and let my spirit guide me. It was that surrender that initially got me started in the field of healing. Quite frankly I’ve been healing myself ever since, and finding the wisdom and strength to be a support for others who are going through the same process.

What is your background, what were you doing before this business?

Shortly after high school I jointed the military and looking back realize it was a grand gesture that came with very grand attempts at finding myself; I enlisted in the U.S Army as a field medic with the 82nd Airborne Division where I also obtained my EMT certification. I followed the voice of my internal caregiver, but needed self discipline I suppose. I continued the path of my caregiver and received certification as a massage therapist and an esthetician. It’s the layering of all my experiences that created who I am today and formed such a solid background for who I continue to become.

What is a good story about your business?

A good early story about my business is how I came to be part of Natures Spa. I had just recently relocated back to Charlotte from Asheville and had many uncertainties surrounding me. It was one of those moments we all face; “what do I do now”? I woke up one morning with the same pressing question snuggled up within me and I didn’t have an answer. I went through a few motions and then made a request out loud; “Guide me to where I need to go first and give me the guidance to walk forward from there”. Within hours of that statement I walked into Natures Spa and a path as clear as the day opened before me. I shifted into solid; the watery, uncertain sensation was gone. I worked there for several years before the owner offered to sell and I agreed to buy. “Life is strange with its twist’s and turns…”

What is unusual or unique about your business, in comparison to similar businesses?

Natures Spa in my opinion is very unique. We are an appointment only spa that really focuses on the clients experience and where they are in their life at that very moment. We work very hard to stop the business energy the minute a session begins, we turn the office phone off, and we lock the doors and mentally move into a place where we may even silently ask; “Please let this treatment be what this person needs right now”. We strive for connection and personal relationships that are bounded by professionalism and empathy. We know what an honor it is to have someone trust us with special events, precious time and such personal space, not to mention the trust of touch. We take that honor very seriously and want to make it the safest, most nurturing experience possible.

Is there a customer experience you are most proud of?

There are several customer experiences that I am most proud of and all of them contain one shared element; connection! We are busy people with very busy lives and it’s a beautiful moment when we can slow down enough to truly see one another and feel safe in our vulnerability to reach out and show one another. It is the “customer experience” that moves into a “human experience” that I am most proud of, and it doesn’t always have to be smiles, laughter and happiness, it can be grief, fear and weakness that really open you up.

Do you do any charity or non-profit work?

In this volatile economy paired with an often unpredictable field, purchasing Natures Spa was not just a knee jerk reaction. The desire to work, somehow, with those who have also had difficult years behind them filled with unsafe touch or gross lacks of healthy love and support is a huge part of why I chose to step forward into this particular leg of the journey. Natures Spa is a big supporter of charity work and donates to several non-profit organizations, but our goals for community involvement continue to grow and evolve into something more meaningful and personal. I would love to watch Natures Spa grow into a full Wellness Center that supports not just the body but the spirit that lives within it!

Who are some of your most notable clients?

Some of my most notable clients are those that stretch into what’s uncomfortable, those that work to release themselves from overly high demands of either work, family or self deprecation and fight for their spirit, fight for their health and well being. It’s not easy to put yourself first at times or to walk onto the battle field of societal expectations. Have you ever talked to someone who is striving to create a gluten free diet or someone whose profession requires they either sit at a desk all day or travel non-stop? Theirs stories are not uncommon but they do require a great deal of perseverance to integrate a healthy diet or body care routine into. When a person reaches the point of “I matter” it’s very notable!

What are some of your greatest challenges in your business?

Some of the greatest challenges in this business come from the ever pressing need for balance. I walk everyday with the desire to heal, connect and be a care giver to those who are in a place to receive it and at the same time have to return calls, schedule meetings, put out fires, re-visit procedures and tackle tasks that sometimes create a disconnect from the softer side of yourself. The growing edge is to try and blend and welcome all parts.

What would you most like the reader to know about your journey in the business?

If there was one thing I would like the reader to know about my journey in the business is that I have not walked it alone, I have walked with fear, anxiety, grief, excitement, awe and gratitude. A great friend gifted me with a plaque one day that read “Your story matters…tell it”! Every time I schedule a client or think of a new treatment to offer, in some small way I tell my story and when I place my hands on someone, either for a facial, body wrap, massage or any other treatment another story unfolds.

We all have a story, it flows through us everyday and I can only hope that when a person enters Natures Spa they at least get the sense that their story matters too.

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