Owner, SkinCatering Spa; Age 38Like many who start down the path toward entrepreneurship, Leanne Sedlak did so out of necessity.
At the start of this decade, she was working in the healthcare sector, which was still struggling mightily from the various effects of the Great Recession. She was eventually laid off, and faced the daunting task of finding work at a time, and in a field, where there was little of it to find.
So, when she finished her time in massage school, she went into business for herself with a venture she would call SkinCatering. At first, this was a traveling enterprise, with Sedlak taking her massage table door to door. She would eventually open a spa in Chicopee, and later, with a desire to better serve her many clients who worked in downtown Springfield, she moved into Tower Square.
As she talked about her experiences, Sedlak used language very common to those who opt to work for themselves. “It’s certainly a roller-coaster adrenaline rush,” she explained. “You do experience the high of highs and the low of lows.”
Lately, however, there have been much more of the former.
Indeed, Sedlak recently opened her second business venture, Cheeky City, in the Shops at Market Place in Springfield. This downtown boutique, or “retail therapy shop,” offers products from a number of local companies, including Sedlak’s own SkinCatering brand of health and beauty products. Meanwhile, her line is now on the shelves in several area Big Y stores.
One of those products, a sore-muscle-relief cream she calls Hero, is making a name for itself locally, and even beyond.
“It’s really putting us on the map,” she said of Hero, which, like everything else with the SkinCatering name on it, is made from all-natural ingredients. “It’s excellent for sore muscles, arthritis, and sore joints, and it’s a product for everyone. We have some marathon teams that buy it by the case so their members have it.”
While busy with her ventures, Sedlak finds time to give back. She’s on the board of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, for example, and is active with the Food Bank of Western Mass. She also does quite a bit of public speaking on a range of topics — from entrepreneurship to safe-skin practices.
As for what’s next, Sedlak said she doesn’t know, besides continuing to ride that roller-coaster adrenaline rush, with hopefully more highs to come in the years ahead.
— George O’Brien
Photography by Leah Martin Photography