Savita Monroe established Perfect Brow Threading Spa and Wellness with her sister-in-law, Vijay Joshi, in November 2017. Based in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Perfect Brow is a full beauty, body and mind spa and salon with the mission to provide India’s century proven threading, facial, waxing and wellness techniques combined with latest esthetic technology to inspire every guest to achieve their personal best with beauty and well being. Savita, who prior to becoming a small business co-owner, was SVP of Product Development at The Geneva Watch Group, utilized her experience developing brands to differentiate Perfect Brow from other spas by offering a space that not only focused on the beauty from outside but also inside.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Savita Monroe: Entrepreneurship to me is identifying the need of one’s product or service and having the tenacity and fearlessness to bring it to action. This, of course, is possible by surrounding yourself with people who can support your venture.
Tell us about your first experience with entrepreneurship.
SM: The majority of my professional career has been in product development. My first experience with entrepreneurship goes back when I was a buyer, because I always spent the company’s money like it was my own. I treated any business that I’ve managed as if it were my own venture. So even when I became a Senior VP of product development, my entrepreneurial mindset was a constant for me since every decision making was driven by a simple but very powerful question – “Why”.
It was in 2016 when I faced a setback in my career due to the financial health of the company. Having been with the organization for so long, the layoff made me feel lost and even betrayed and I practically had no clear direction or way forward. At the age of 50, I was faced with a choice to either give up or embrace the situation. I chose the latter and found myself starting my own consulting firm and consulted for about year and half.
This was my true first experience as an entrepreneur as I had to use my own finances to start the firm. Unfortunately, it didn’t last the way I’d imagined it to. The beauty of going from a consistently successful career to experiencing a failure teaches a person a lot and I was no exception. It taught me three very important things – to rely on my own expertise, experiences and trust my instincts; the importance of family; and how important it was to have professional network. All these were key in helping me bounce back and of course, in finding success.
What is your company’s origin story? What is the biggest reason you started your business? What did those early days look like and teach you?
SM: Ironically, the origin of my company started when my corporate career was coming to an end. I just didn’t know it at the time. My sister-in-law, Vijay Joshi, is an immigrant from India and she had been running an eyebrow threading kiosk in a mall for almost a decade before she opened her own spa at the mall on the East side of Michigan. It offered services like threading & waxing and soon, seeing the need for these services in the area, Vijay opened another spa on the West side in Greenfield plaza in Southfield, Michigan.
Coincidentally, when my professional path was changing, the mall which housed the spa was closing. So, Vijay decided to buy a space close by and wanted me to help renovate and decorate the new spa. That’s when my journey to true entrepreneurial experience and creating a brand identity began and we successfully opened in June 2017. By August 2017, she and I had joined hands in opening another location – this time as partners.
We knew we didn’t want just another spa. It had to be different. So, the key question in creating this brand remained – “Why?” as well as “What will be the value add this spa will bring to the community?”
And the answer was simple – holistic wellness. Both Vijay and I are immigrants and advocates of mental health, given our Hindu heritage, we are aware of the benefits of Yoga for mental and physical wellness. That’s when we knew that at the core of our brand identity was going to be a holistic approach to health, beauty and wellness complimented by the latest technology – an exclusive experience for our clients. And that’s how one and only in Michigan Perfect Brow Spa and Wellness came to life in November of 2017 in Farmington Hills with a mission to help our clients dive into their beauty not only on the outside but inside as well. This is the only spa with beauty and Yoga studio for wellness under one roof.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
SM: Anyone who owns a business can tell you there are always lessons learnt in hindsight. I think for me the biggest thing that I wish I knew more about is how the finances in a business worked. Knowledge is power is so true in this instance because knowing more about the various aspects of business finances along with the details of contracts, etcetera, can change the course of the business progression exponentially. I do wish I had more capital to work with because it would have helped me construct the business model slightly differently. But this is something that we are currently working on to be able to continue growing the services we offer backed up with the latest technology.
What does “success” look like for you? We’d love to hear your biggest, boldest dream? What do you think will help you achieve it?
SM: Success for me is for us helping our clients to be the best version of themselves. My boldest dream is to be able to have a place where the space can be transformed to whatever a woman desires (A Women’s Sanctuary) with the push of a button. For example, creating a space where the environment changes and they would feel like they are on a vacation on a beach, or in the mountains. Technology certainly is a big part of achieving this big dream and finding the right expert and financial backing will be a key in making this a reality. Alongside using ancient relaxing and renewing techniques from around the world.
What is your superpower as an entrepreneur? What is your proudest and darkest moment so far?
SM: My superpower is my education and my corporate experience to help me navigate professionally with clients and solve any issues that come along the way. My darkest moment was the time during COVID-19, when we did not know if we would be ever open again and regardless of that, we still had to continue paying rent and felt we were responsible for our staff.
My high always is when the client says PERFECT to the question “how was everything?” Key low without doubt was the period during COVID-19 and the uncertainty that came with it.
What are your personal driving principals, your top values?
SM: I have two important driving principals. One is to grow where one is planted! The second is that you are never too old to learn and start over. The beauty and wellness industry is always changing, especially with so many new products, so it always keeps you evolving to be the best. My top values are to respect yourself, the place you work, people you work with, and the people you serve.
How have your personal principles and values shaped your company’s values and principles?
SM: My personal principle is “respect” and my personal value is “Grow where you are planted.” These two things transcend into our work environment on a daily basis.
“Respect” is the foundation especially when you are in a client servicing industry such as beauty and wellness. Our ideology is that we want to treat our clients so well that they walk out feeling better than how they were when they walked into our spa!
The “grow where you are planted” mindset is the core of growing our brand and business in a process-oriented manner. The processes we have in place helps us figure out where are we lacking, what’s not working or even what has worked the best in a given situation. Growing our business through the latest technology, equipment and services is a work in progress every day for us to continue to get better at what we do.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners?
SM: I work mostly with our staff! We treat our staff professionally, but they are like family.
Do you have a mentor? Tell us about what makes them valuable to you and your business?
SM: I don’t have a specific mentor because I believe everyone is made up of their own experiences and we can all learn from each other. In essence, I’m always learning from those around me. Everyone is unique with their own inner light to light up the world around them.
What role does mentorship play in your world (as a mentor or mentee)?
SM: For me, the definition of mentorship has been a little different than the traditional meaning. I wish there was one person who I could look up to as a mentor and go to for help when I hit a snag in any kind of decision making, but I cannot quantify this idea of a mentor into one person. To me, all my life experiences have been my teaching moments. I do wish there was hand holding of some sort to get through some challenging times, but I never had that and I think it has been a blessing in disguise because that’s where the tenacity comes from. I face a challenge and I have to find a solution. But having said that, I do submerge my mind into the good that happens around and learn from it. If I witness an idea or a philosophy that uplifts my thought process in way that brings clarity, I’m all for it and it could be through a variety of people and or institutions. Having said my husband Kevin has been my rock through my career changes. Having a life partner that supports you is a blessing.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day?
SM: My morning routine starts with a Yoga class, which, once done, grounds me and helps me to live in the present moment, where life is.
What are you reading or have read?
SM: I like to read articles versus books, as I find the articles get to the point much faster! Having said that I do read The Yamas & Niyamas, which I wish could be a book every school have in the curriculum as it outlines the ethical practice of living a healthy life. It just teaches a lot about being kind to everything around us, people, places, all living creatures and things.
Where do you go for inspiration?
SM: I find inspiration everywhere, spending most of my career in product development, I found inspiration from many different industries, from automotive to healthcare! As well in my travels to many different countries. Now that I don’t travel as much, I find inspiration in nature, from just watching the river flow to the rooted tree. There are so many beautiful things around us and everywhere. “If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
Do you have a favorite quote, mantra, or words of wisdom to get through the tough days?
SM: I am a yoga instructor, so mindful breathing is everything for me! Things I cannot control, I just let go. Once you learn to let go of things that are not meant to be yours, you find your peace. “Do the best you can”– for me this quote means exhaust all possible options and if still doesn’t work your way, then it’s time to let it go. Defining your best is the tricky part.
What is a problem that keeps you up at night?
SM: The problem that keeps me up at night is retaining good staff! In my opinion, the staff is an extension of everything that our brand stands for and it is important to have people emit that light in caring about the work they do and above all the clients they serve.
How do you think about helping others through your work?
SM: Our work focuses on blending Beauty with Wellness. The holistic approach we talk about is to be able to be the best version of ourselves. And to achieve that holistic experience, our Yoga studio is at the center of it. It is a space like no other. It represents us and our desire to help each of our clients reach their maximum potential. Many times, the client testimony reinforces that we are on the right path! One of our clients, who has undergone double knee surgery and was going through neuropathy, gave us a card and an angel ornament as a token of gratitude and happiness and she said, “I give this to you because I feel you are my angel because, without you, I don’t know what I would do.” Knowing we are on the right path makes us want to think of more ways to help!
What advice do you have for fellow (and aspiring) entrepreneurs building and leading teams?
SM: My advice would be to “Be passionate about what you do but stay true to yourself.” Surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you but at the same time you must make sure to ask the Why?
The question of why will always peel that onion to its core where you can learn about how can really make a difference. In my travel around the world, I found that women can do anything when they feel supported. I would like to continue to share these valuable pieces advice to every woman and anyone out there thinking of starting a business.
Do you have someone you’d like to nominate to be profiled in our Faces of Entrepreneurship series? Please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or submit your nomination using this form.