New Vancouver venture WellSpace helps massage therapists grow their business

When massage therapists graduate from school, they traditionally have had two career paths: go to work for another business or go to work for themselves.

That is until Vancouver’s Vince Williams opened WellSpace.

“This really is invented,” said Williams, who opened at 516 S.E. Chkalov Drive, Suite 49, in Vancouver last month. WellSpace uses a gymlike membership model to provide rentable treatment rooms for massage therapists.

Each month, therapists pay a membership fee and then pay a rental fee for hours when a room is rented. There are payment tiers. A higher monthly fee paid means hourly fees are lower and vice versa.

WellSpace offers the use of one of its seven treatment rooms and offers members linen service, website marketing and event support.

“Our job is to help them grow their business,” said Williams, who owns WellSpace along with his wife and two business partners, and serves as its chief executive.

Danny Bickham signed up for WellSpace in August — the company’s first client. He’d been a therapist for eight years but had always worked for someone else.

Bickham got to a point in his life where he was finally able to start his own business. But he didn’t want to dive into it, so he started seeing patients on his own three days per week.

WellSpace “made it very easy to dabble into my own business without fully jumping into it,” he said.

The business solves issues that often plague therapists, like finding a space to rent and washing sheets and linens, said Bickham.

“It’s more of an incubator for businesses than anything,” Williams said.

WellSpace has four members with three more incoming, though Williams expects more to jump on board.

Jessica Sanchez-Harper closed her previous office at the end of August and began her membership at WellSpace last week.

“I was really excited for the beauty of the space,” said Sanchez-Harper. It is clean and fully furnished and provides everything she needs.

Sanchez-Harper isn’t a new massage therapist; she got her first massage license in 2005 and has worked in the industry ever since.

“I’ve had my own offices for a decade,” said Sanchez-Harper. “Having my own space is lovely, but those bills stay very constant. This allows a lot more flexibility.”

She no longer has to pay for things like electricity and linens. Those are all included when she rents a room.

Sanchez-Harper is changing her business, working to provide more virtual classes. Ultimately, she hopes to have fewer one-on-one clients. WellSpace, she says, is the perfect combination for that.

Sanchez-Harper has never used this kind of membership model space for her work. She says it would have been helpful when she was new to the business. New therapists need to build their clientele quickly in order to sustain their own office space, she pointed out.

“It would have been really nice starting out,” she said.

Williams has an aggressive business plan for WellSpace, hoping to have four locations over the next two years. As one location gets to 70 percent capacity week over week, he expects to open a new location.

“Our commitment is to the wellness community,” said Williams.

The company will have a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m. today.

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