MassageLuXe Spotlights Passionate Florida Franchisees Determined to Create Opportunities for Black and Brown Neighbors
MassageLuXe Franchisees Strive to Create Jobs, Illuminate the Path to Entrepreneurship for People of Color
April 05, 2022 // Franchising.com // PEMBROKE PINES, FL - For Michelle and Karim Kameka, owning their MassageLuXe franchise location in Pembroke Pines, Florida is meaningful in many ways. Karim was born in Jamaica and raised in the Miami Gardens area located just south of their location in Pembroke Pines. Achieving business ownership five years ago wasn’t just a personal milestone for the couple, it also allowed them to bring good jobs and premium massage services to their neighborhood.
“It’s been a source of pride to cut paychecks every two weeks as a Black business owner in a predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhood,” says Karim. “When I ran my first payroll, it hit me that I’m responsible for the livelihood of about 30 people in my neighborhood. It goes to show that small business owners play an important role in a community’s overall wellbeing, and we need to support the path to entrepreneurship for others that look like Michelle and me.”
Michelle and Karim both grew up with parents they describe as dreamers who helped them see what’s possible with effort. Michelle says, “We were fortunate growing up to see the opportunities out there. It’s just a matter of figuring out the steps and the work to reach those goals. We are high achievers and now we want to help others unlock the same doors, whether by teaching them about franchising or employing them in our spas. We have employees who seek us out – people want to work in our spa. It’s just a matter of getting them licensed."
Not only are the Kamekas helping their community in a financial way, but as MassageLuXe franchisees, they are helping with the health and wellness of the customers they serve. A concept Michelle knows very well.
“MassageLuXe was a good fit for us, because I am a huge proponent of the healing powers of massage,” says Michelle. “I have chronic back, hip and neck pain, and massages provide relief. It’s a necessity for me and many of our customers. I would say 80% of our customer population comes in for therapeutic reasons rather than simply relaxation. We empower our therapists to educate clients about how massage can benefit wellbeing.”
It's because of their personal experience with massage that the Kamekas decided to venture into franchising. They regarded their MassageLuXe franchise as a passive income opportunity in an industry that interested them. Michelle, a college professor, takes care of day-to-day operations. Karim, a software engineer, takes care of the back of house – financing, H.R. and book-keeping.
Reflecting on this five-year journey of entrepreneurship, Karim says they have faced challenges and they are eager to share their wisdom to help others considering business ownership.
“Our key piece of advice to prospective franchisees is you absolutely must get the right team in place,” he says. “That means they need to be coachable; they need to know how to follow instruction, they need to have customer service experience, and they need computer skills to manage bookings on our website. Troubleshooting skills are also important. As owners, you’ve got to depend on your staff and the leadership to be motivated and goal oriented. We look for people who will encourage the team and take pride in getting the job done.”
Michelle shares another take-away from their franchising experience. “Being part of a franchise can be an amazing experience. Systems, software, color of walls, furniture, flooring – MassageLuXe has all of that thought out for you and provides the needed training. But keep in mind that there’s work involved. My advice is to make sure you identify the franchise that is right for you. Franchising means you have great support, but at the end of the day, it is your business. You do the work to make it successful, so make it something you enjoy.”
The Kamekas are proud of what they’ve accomplished so far and look forward to continued success. Because for them, the bottom line is they’ve had the opportunity to work hard to serve their customers and their community, and what they’ve done has had a positive impact.
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