07 Jul From Dream to Reality: The Empowering Journey of a Japanese Spa Small Business
With over two decades of experience as a hair stylist, Sayuri Tsuchitani wanted to bring the Japanese head spa experience to Los Angeles by starting her own business. Her passion became HeadSpa EN, a spa providing a unique experience using gentle head massage to restore physical and mental health.
With one chair in a salon in Beverly Hills, Sayuri knew social media was the way to market her new businesses but needed to learn how to use it effectively. She saw a flier for Little Tokyo Service Center’s Small Business Program and a class led by Mariko Lochridge (LTSC small business counselor) about social media marketing for entrepreneurs. LTSC’s small business program is the only one of its kind in the United States, providing free-of-charge in-language support for Japanese immigrants and supporting collaborations between ethnic enclaves and small business owners around Los Angeles County. Mariko helped Sayuri create appropriate content, engaging photos and develop a following on her social platforms. Mariko also helped Sayuri with social media analytics to determine engagement and effectiveness.
Then, COVID-19 restrictions shut down salons for 6 months. It was a very tough time for Sayuri who was used to seeing new faces every day. Mariko supported Sayuri though this time, organized Zoom meetings with other businesses and taught everyone how to engage with Instagram Live.
In addition to keeping Sayuri connected with other business owners and community members struggling with isolation and a lack of English language information, Mariko helped Sayuri apply for assistance programs to keep up with rent and vendor payments as well as safely reopen the salon once COVID restrictions were eased.
In 2022, Sayuri opened her flagship Pasadena location. For the first time Sayuri had to negotiate with contractors, landlords and vendors. Mariko guided Sayuri through this process and assisted her with branding, building a content calendar and a new website with improved lead generation flow.
“Mariko helped me with everything. I was really thinking about how to bring my Eastern culture into my business and Mariko really helped me to think about how to execute that vision. Taking Mariko’s courses and consulting is helping me to organize and explain my idea more fluently in English… It’s hard to explain my idea to people sometimes because they think a hair salon is about style but for me it’s about relaxation and confidence, so that’s what we are working on now,” Sayuri explained.
Sayuri is excited to keep expanding. She’s currently taking classes about licensing and franchising from other Women’s Business Centers across California as well as continuing her business planning lessons with Mariko at LTSC.
Learn more about HeadSpa EN: https://www.headspaen.com/