Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Jenni Jo and I have always wanted a title. So I gave myself one! You can refer to me as Jenni Jo Tension Tamer®. I have been a licensed massage therapist since 2003, an Instructor of the Yamuna Body Rolling Self-Care method since 2011 and a dreamer since 1972. I have had the great pleasure of creating a niche market within the touring and entertainment world as “Massage therapist to the RockStars”.
I do believe that everyone’s a Rockstar in their own way, however! I just love to work with anyone who is ready for a unique and exceptional body care experience! After years of hauling gear around and tossing the idea of a mobile studio around too, I decided to finally just DO IT. I wanted to create a stimulation sensitive capsule where people could regenerate, relax & receive self-care guidance, therapeutic massage & rest.
I wanted something that I could drive up to a venue or to someone’s doorstep and the ambiance & environment is ready already! My Peace Pod is relatively new and working within the hours of my children’s school has kept my business flow a little limited (for now!) Even with limited availability, I’m super grateful for the interest, business and press I have received since my Launch: Airstream Life! Magazine, Massage & Bodywork Magazine & Willamette Week “Best Of”. I feel very lucky to have support and encouragement in my ‘Lil dream!
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve had the Airstream Dream for about 15 years now. First of all, who doesn’t love the beauty of the shiny silver Airstreams? And to have a business on wheels, well, that’s the cat’s meow! I had gone so far to have owned 2 vintage Airstreams over the last 15 years but for one reason or another, I chickened out and became overwhelmed with the scope of the project and gave it up, selling my trailers.
Even when the ground feels shaky and you doubt and question everything, use that as a signal to go within and get quiet.
Then life happened. I got married, had twins and then got divorced 5 years later and during that time is when my midlife awakening happened. “It’s now or never.” So, the silver lining in my dark chapter in my life gave me the courage to go after my dream. And in my case, it’s a teeny, tiny, silver mobile body care spa. To be honest, the longer I was in the profession the less I enjoyed doing onsite gigs. Hauling equipment around is cumbersome and tiring. I bring ALL the gear. Towel warmer, body cushions, table warmer, lighting, music, aromatherapy. It’s not just a massage, but an experience.
But why mobile, you ask? And how is this idea being validated? In 2007 I was asked by Faith Hill to be her personal massage therapist during her summer tour. Right then my gift of massage was validated. And as far as the mobile part goes, the pilot light was lit again in 2018. I was hired by Amos Lee for two concerts in a row at outdoor amphitheaters. If I would have had my mobile studio at either location, I could have spent so much more energy and time doing therapeutic healing work on the artists versus moving equipment around from trailer to trailer. I could travel throughout Oregon and just pull up to the venue and be ready to tame tension!
This project has been purely self-funded.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
I was lucky since I had already had files of mobile studio sketches over a decade old! Seriously, I have been thinking of this for a very long time! The engineers and designers at Ultimate Airstream were awesome to work with. I would give them ideas and they would figure out a way to make it happen. That’s THEIR JOB! To make my dreams come true!
We volleyed back and forth for a few months. The floor plan needed to be altered a bit to allow for the creation of the massage table that also doubles as an extra-wide lounging space and with some cushions removed can be adjusted into a table for 4 people to sit around it. The cabinetry needed to be adjusted to fit my towel warmer, which I use for hot stones, towels & eye pillows. All of the lights were put on dimmers. The bathroom was fitted with a custom teak seat and floor mat to give you the feel of a teeny tiny sauna. I have since retro-fitted the bathroom to hold an infrared light panel, now available for healing sessions.
Describe the process of launching the business.
My Peace Pod project was purely self-funded. I’ve been dreaming of it for so long now, I’ve had blueprints and design ideas for over a decade. I’ve had a “DreamStream” savings account. I wanted to try my hand at Kickstarter but I knew I was pursuing this dream, regardless, and I just wanted to get it underway. For the Basecamp-X model, I put a 25% down and financed the rest, for a total investment of $45,000.
I’m so lucky that Ultimate Airstream (the customization shop) is a stone’s throw from the Dealership. There wasn’t any other consideration for me for the altercations of my Airstream. I worked with the engineer and design team for several months until I finally gave the green light to proceed with the customizations. I financed the customizations with my business credit card. I’ve made a few adjustments in this past year of trial runs so my total customization investment is around $14,000. I’ve purchased items to enhance the Pod, such as the infrared light panel converting the aluminum bathroom into your very own teeny, tiny personal sauna for a total of $999. So all in all, I’ve put a lot on the line to make this dream come true. But I love her and I know good things are on the horizon.
I threw a Launch Party last summer bringing together as many of my friends, clients, vendors and favorite people around in one place to;
Celebrate me creating a dream.
Touring the Peace Pod.
Dance & have a good time.
Raise money for 2 very special causes in my hometown.
Highlight and celebrate local businesses who donated for the raffles & auctions.
Educate on the benefits of at-your-door holistic body care.
A month or so before my Launch I had hired a PR company to write a Press-Release. That got the ball rolling!
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
I have been so incredibly blessed to have been featured in Airstream Life Magazine, Massage & Bodywork Magazine as well as voted “Best of” in the Annual Willamette Week City Highlights all since launching last summer.
Ultimate Airstream even created a video!
Because of this press & the buzz, people are curious! I am still experimenting with the different packages I wish to roll out into the world. If I’m at a music venue, that’s one package. If it’s an exclusive private event, it’s another package. If it’s an employee wellness day, yet another. Being a single mom to twin 5-year-olds, I am figuring out a lot of logistics as I evolve and grow this venture. I document most of my enhancements and provide “sneak peeks” into my world on social media and I know I’ve got people rooting for me, wherever the road takes me.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
I am currently still in the soft-launch phase of the Peace Pod(™) and since I had no model to look to for inspiration and guidance, I am organically going through the motions! I am not profitable yet but it will be! I currently am working with a money coach and systematically mapping out my plan.
I have been invited by Airstream International to be a vendor at their week-long Rally this June. So that will be the beginning of my epic road trip of 2020! Traveling across our nation, teaching self-care workshops, having adventures with my children that will last a lifetime! Upon return, I do hope to establish a retainer relationship with my favorite summer music venues: the Oregon Zoo, Les Schwab Amphitheater & Edgefield. I wish to have a super fun schedule of taking fantastic care of touring artists while enjoying dancing with my babies!
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I’ve learned that every dream has it’s very own learning curve. I don’t believe in mistakes. I believe that there are different ways of doing things. I’ve learned you have to keep trying. I’ve learned there is no timeline. I’ve learned that there will be days you think you’re crazy. I’ve learned that nothing replaces good old fashioned facetime. I’ve learned that people just want to be seen, acknowledged, and believed in. Myself included.
I’ve learned that not everyone is rooting for you. I’ve learned that everyone doesn’t matter. I’ve learned that highlighting all of the things to be grateful for brings more good things in your path. I’ve learned that you can plan and plan and plan some more and still shit can happen.
I’ve learned to have a sense of humor, to not take myself too seriously. I’ve learned how to be mindful of how I take care of myself and speak to myself and how I treat others as now I have two little humans that are watching me and learning from me.
I’ve learned that no matter what, I feel most alive when I’m doing what I love to do: helping people feel better in the skin they’re in.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I love to post on Instagram because of its ease of use. I like the lightness of “Stories” and its ability to reach a wide audience quickly. I’m always trying to improve my website and the ability of people to shop for self-fixing products without hiccups. My website and all the platforms are just outside of my brain space, which is why I like Instagram!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Since I’ve had my twins I only have the luxury of listening to things and what I currently love is Jen Sincero You Are a Badass at Making Money. Back in the day the books I cherished that truly made an impact were Overcoming Underearning and Relax Into Wealth. Goal Digger Podcast is pretty dang fantastic too. It’s challenging as an entrepreneur to understand and put a value on your worth. And then to package that up and sell that to the world. It’s one thing if you have a product to sell. But my business is me and my craft of holistic body care.
It’s always valuable to continue to learn about the fluidity and energy of money in your own business. I am a perpetual student. Especially when I just made a great investment into a really big, really crazy teeny, tiny, mobile spa as a single mom to twin 5-year-olds!
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Keep your blinders on. Spend less time talking about it and more time working towards it. Even when the ground feels shaky and you doubt and question everything, use that as a signal to go within and get quiet.
Just tune in to your inner voice, your higher self, whatever you choose to call it...and keep taking steps in that direction. This is your one and only life. Go for it.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I dream of having my very own driver/roadie. Someone who is proficient in driving a trailer including backing it up! Someone who can get the rig parked, stabilized & ready to go for me while I interface with the client(s).
I am currently planning the great summer road trip, sprinkling self-care workshops throughout the nation along the way. And combining it with my twins’ summer schedule so we can explore, learn and have adventures while mommy still makes a living AND a difference. And as long as I’m dreaming, this driver would also be my nanny/manny to ensure my children’s entertainment & safety while I’m working!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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