The Story of Zenana Spa and Wellness Center
Zenana-Renee Rose, founder
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it, boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. – Goethe
This is the story of Zenana Spa and Wellness Center. It began as a dream and with the help of all of our friends, family and colleagues, our dream has come true. We thank you all for your continued support!
My career began as a labor and delivery nurse in 1998. I worked in the field at several hospitals in California and Portland, and In 2002 became a lactation consultant to broaden my career. I met my husband, an attorney and entrepeneur, later that same year. We started our first business together in 2003 shortly after we met. This was a real estate business and I quickly realized that this was not my passion – I still loved working with moms and babies.
But my husband’s entrepreneurial spirit had rubbed off on me as I began to realize that I did not want to be a hospital staff nurse forever. I always had the dream of owning my own business, although in my mind it had been as a lactation consultant or maybe even a midwife. In 2002 I joined a small home-based business, Beyond Birth Home Lactation Services. We went to women’s homes and offered breastfeeding support. I found it very rewarding and enjoyed the new knowledge gained as well as the autonomy. By spring of 2005 I had really tired of the politics of working at the hospital under the doctors. I felt drained by some of the doctors and felt that it went against my beliefs to follow a doctor’s orders for a client when I knew she had other choices in her labor and overall care. I began to focus more on lactation consulting and reduced my nursing shifts.
Soon thereafter I was reading a Sunset Magazine. There was a very small article about maternity spas at the bottom of a page, and I suddenly realized that I needed to open a maternity-focused spa here in Portland! I started to do a little research and began talking to friends in my field about it. I then decided to gather up some partners and go for it. Initially, several other wonderful women participated in the manifestation of the business. We feel blessed that these women shared that part of the journey with us. But as the business evolved, the following ladies continue to maintain the vision and mission of Zenana Spa and Wellness Center.
I connected with Kristen Olberz. As a childbirth educator, I felt she would be able to assist in development of the education piece of our business. In the summer of 2005 we held our first organizational meeting. There were four of us then – three nurses and one massage therapist.
I then introduced the idea to the lactation consultants at Beyond Birth where Heather Dana eagerly joined our founding team. Heather brought with her a long standing commitment to attachment parenting, extensive personal experience with breastfeeding and raising a special needs child, and passion for providing advocacy and support for homebirth and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
Last but certainly not least, Annee Ingala was asked to join our team. She is also a massage therapist with experience in clinic management. Today, this initial organizational team constitutes the four owners of Zenana Spa and Wellness Center, LLC.
We formed our LLC in November of 2005 and pursued a bank loan. After many struggles, disappointments and changes we were finally able to get funding in the form of an SBA loan. We had all also contributed a significant amount of seed capital and collateral ourselves. We began our build-out in the brand new building known as “Local 49” at 2024 SE Clinton Street in May of 2006. We finally opened our doors on August 1st, 2006.
Working diligently, we refined our Mission Statement over the course of several years until it sounded perfect. We offer nurturing support on your journey toward optimal health and wholeness. The word “Zenana” means the room in the home where women gather and experiences are shared. We provide the space where mothers, families, and providers can thrive and flourish while practicing self-care. We offer the highest quality services and products designed to nourish and sustain wellness mentally, physically and spiritually, whatever that means to you and in whatever shape your family takes, at all stages of life. We are honored to share the reciprocal flow of energy with the community we support.
Zenana Spa and Wellness Center is the culmination of our shared dream to make a difference in women’s lives. Our wish is that women and their families will experience our center as a nurturing, safe place where they can find the resources they need throughout the exciting, challenging and vulnerable period of pregnancy and parenting.
We recognize that women in particular spend so much time caring for others. We want to provide them with a place where they can nurture themselves. A person is better equipped to care for others when her own needs are met. The job of parenting is one of the greatest undertakings a person will ever encounter. At our center we strive to offer support, educational opportunities and services that nurture families so that they can be the best parents possible, in turn raising the most healthy, well-loved and cared for children who will then become wise, intelligent, grounded, and contributing citizens in our world.
We have dreams of opening other locations in Portland and Vancouver and potentially in other family-friendly cities. We know our mission and goals and our business model is very desirable and will be a huge success. We are very motivated and are wholeheartedly committed to this business. It is hard work but I also feel an incredible sense of pride knowing that we are providing a valued service to the community. When clients call and share how beneficial the services and classes have been to them throughout their pregnancy and early parenthood, I feel so much joy. This confirms in my heart that my little dream has grown into a huge and successful reality. It is truly an honor to contribute in this way.