Q&A with MASAJ: how to build a successful massage studio from the ground up

Scarlet Amies and Alice Vaughan, founders of London-based massage studio MASAJ, grew their business from a pop-up massage service to having two studio locations in just four years. Safe to say they’re experts when it comes to building successful beauty and wellness businesses from scratch. 

We sat down with Scarlet and Alice to learn what it takes to launch a massage studio, how Fresha helped them do it, and what other business owners need to do in order to see similar results. 

Tell us about your journey as massage studio owners.

Scarlet: When I first started the business, I was carrying a massage table to clients in London and Barcelona to find my footing and figure out what kind of services people wanted. Deciding where to set up our first studio was a challenge, but we’ve created the perfect space for our clients and therapists in our flagship Shoreditch studio. We used that experience to launch another studio in Marylebone, and it’s going really well.

How do you make sure your massage studio stands out?

Scarlet: We take a lot of time to plan every detail of the customer journey, and create a comforting atmosphere that our clients won’t find elsewhere. We want clients to feel held from the moment they book a treatment; and when clients walk in we aim to touch all five senses, considering everything from the music we play and the intensity of our lighting, to the scents in the studio and what refreshments we’ll serve.

What do clients love most about MASAJ?

Alice: Clients can personalise their experience however they see fit and make it their own. We let them choose music playlists, massage oil blends, and even how chatty they want their therapist to be. Then once the treatment begins the therapist takes the lead, so clients can fully relax and enjoy the experience. 

What’s the secret to your success?

Scarlet: We focus heavily on our team and talent, from recruiting and training to therapist success and well-being. Our bodyworkers are the heart of our business and interact with clients every day, taking on a lot of emotional and physical work. So we take good care of them to ensure our business runs sustainably.

What’s been your biggest challenge so far as massage studio owners?

Alice: Like many entrepreneurs, starting and growing our business has been daunting at times. One big challenge was finding the right tech to help us operate MASAJ; many people we spoke to in the tech industry look down on beauty and wellness. But Fresha’s team stood out – they quickly understood our vision and were genuinely interested in our success.

That’s why we were excited to work with them. From the beginning Fresha has given us all the support we need, and the fact that their technology is built just for our industry makes it so much more effective than other platforms. 


What led you to start using Fresha?

Alice:  Pre-pandemic, we started using Fresha to manage the pop-up and events side of our business – and as it scaled, we saw how innovative the platform had become. Plus, our Fresha success manager was genuinely interested in MASAJ and how Fresha could assist us, and helped us tackle various challenges with our business. Now Fresha is an integral part of both our customer experience and our day-to-day studio management. 

How easy was it to get started with Fresha?

Alice: We've worked with many booking platforms, but Fresha's clear, intuitive interface has really stood out. Getting up and running took no time at all, and even as we grow and open additional locations, Fresha has remained easy to use the whole way.

How has Fresha helped you grow your business?

Alice: As a fast-paced startup, Fresha's reporting tools have been crucial, helping us make informed decisions about day-to-day operations and future growth. We rely on Fresha's data to plan how we expand our business, and to determine the most popular treatments and times of day. 

For example, we used Fresha’s data to identify that couples’ treatments were one of our best-selling services; so we designed our newest studio in Marylebone to accommodate more couples' treatments, which has played a large part in the studio's success since opening.

What’s your all-time favourite Fresha feature?

Scarlet: We rely on Fresha's upfront payments feature to protect our business from last-minute cancellations and no-shows. It gives our whole team peace of mind, since it guarantees therapists will be compensated even when clients don’t show up. Plus, we rely on Fresha’s automatic reminders to keep clients in the loop, make sure they don’t miss appointments, and ask if they’d like to leave a tip and review.

One word of advice massage studio owners need to hear?

Scarlet: Starting a business can be daunting, especially as a female entrepreneur with little support. Build a great team that you can trust, so you can share ideas, tackle challenges, and celebrate milestones together. 

Get technology that you can rely on, too. With a booking platform like Fresha handling a lot of the busywork for you, you’ll free up valuable time to focus on growing your business. 

Want results like these for your business? Check out what the world’s #1 online booking platform can do for you, subscription-free.

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