Ahead of speaking at the Wellness Exchange in London on 23 March, Leila d'Angelo, head of brand at Urban Massage, discusses being a mission-led business in the wellness industry.

The Wellness Exchange is a one-day extravaganza featuring inspiring retail buyers, entrepreneurs and experts from the wellness industry. Book now.

What is your role at Urban Massage?

I’m in charge of brand, which includes anything from our advertising to our social, as well as ensuring we stay on brand as we grow and make decisions as a business.

How did the idea for Urban Massage happen?

Jack Tang co-founded Urban Massage three years ago with our CTO Giles. They’d just sold their first start-up and you can imagine they were pretty tired.

They realised they could order whatever they fancied – food, books, taxis – and sometimes have them arrive within minutes. But ordering or booking a massage just wasn’t part of that world. So they sat down and interviewed a hundred therapists to see where they could add value to the industry.

After those interviews they realised there was a huge opportunity; not just to build something that consumers would love, but also that would be way fairer for the therapists too.

Traditionally 80% of the price of a massage goes to the spa and the rest to the therapist, by building an on-demand service they saw a chance to turn that figure on its head.

How do you ensure Urban Massage has a strong brand and what lessons can other business owners learn from how you do it?

Being the brand voice in a start-up is super tricky (as well as highly rewarding of course).

There are so many things to balance and often it’ll come down to what will make the most money or drive the best growth.

Our CEO at Urban really believes in brand which makes it a lot easier, but in general it’s primarily a case of having a very strong and shared idea of what you’re about as a business.

The best way to get there is to have a workshop with the key players to agree the values you believe in, your purpose as a business and the things you’re not willing to compromise on.

And then it’s about being the annoying voice that’s always reminding everyone of what they’ve agreed.

How do you ensure consistent quality services are delivered by the therapists you work with?

Quality of experience has been something we’ve never been willing to compromise on. For us, it’s really all about working with amazing therapists.

To find them we speak to a lot of massage schools to meet their best graduates. We also meet all of our therapists in person and try them out before we accept them on to the platform, plus we’re constantly keeping an eye on ratings and feedback.

But it’s rarely necessary, only the people we trust hit our platform, which means they really care about delivering a great service too.

What are your three tips for growing a business in the wellness industry?

I had a chat with Jack, our CEO, and we’ve agreed these tips:

  • Start maintaining a little black book, both of people you’d like to work with internally and as a brand partnership. Growth often comes from who you’ve got behind you
  • Practice what you preach. It’s important to use your own product and be ‘well’ yourself. Jack still gets massages once a week and he encourages the rest of us to do the same
  • It’s an exciting industry to be in right now because it’s growing and changing so much, but that also means that you need to be on top it. You can’t rely on last year’s numbers, on behaviours that used to exist or what someone else says is going to be a trend. You need to keep your finger on the wellness pulse

The Wellness Exchange is a one-day extravaganza featuring inspiring retail buyers, entrepreneurs and experts from the wellness industry. Book now.

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