For most of her working life, Lisa Patton has had a desk job. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Patton found herself in various jobs, sometimes in the technology industry, sometimes in another, but all of those positions were characterized by some level of stress.
“I even worked in places having security clearances and worked on military projects,” she said.
To cope with the strain of her work, she liked to treat herself to a massage, which she found physically and emotionally therapeutic.
Even after leaving Silicon Valley and heading north to the Napa Valley and a job change, Patton said, she could feel the countless days’ stresses accumulating.
“As much as I thoroughly loved my job in the wine industry,” Patton said, “after sitting at a desk and having the same stresses every day, I literally found myself looking at my calendar and thinking, ‘Oh good, three more days until I get a massage’ or, you know, doing the countdown, ‘two hours 57 minutes, you can make it!’”
After spending 20 years in the wine industry and finding that she felt drained by stress and anxiety, Patton decided it was time for a career change. It was then that she chose to step to the other side of the massage table and become a masseuse herself.
Now, she and four other people run the Pampered Lady Massage & Skin Care, sharing a business space with the Painted Lady Tanning in a converted three-bedroom house. Patton was already a tenant in the building and she thought it would be good to remain there, she said.
But instead of renting a space and sharing with other massage therapists, each with their own prices and services, she was advised by the landlord to invite people she knew to share the space with her. So Patton handpicked from her friends and former co-workers who were massage therapists, choosing Julie Deuker, Stephanie Azevedo, Rodney Davis and Rachel Belcher, who also serves as the Pampered Lady’s esthetician.
Their arrangement has certain advantages over one in which a group of therapists all have their own independent businesses but rent the same space, she said.
For one, Patton said, there is a more friendly and cooperative atmosphere. When people are all competing with each other for a group of clients, “there can be some animosity.” But together, working as a co-op, “everyone helps each other.”
They share the costs of business, advertising and rent, and also the rewards. “We’re all self-employed,” Patton said, “but we all have the same goals that we have for our business.”
The Pampered Lady and the Painted Lady offer complementary services. Both Ladies share a receptionist, through whom — or through the Internet — you can make an appointment for, including but not limited to, Swedish massage, sports massage, “healing medical” massage, acupressure, prenatal massage, foot and body scrubs, and a variety of esthetician services courtesy of Belcher.
Prices range from $39 to $120, depending on length and type of service.
Each member has his or her strengths and specialties, such as Davis’ deep tissue and chronic injury treatment, and potential clients are encouraged to explore the business website where they can find more.
“We’ve only been in business for a month, but we’re so excited and I think this is really going to work,” Patton said. “We want to be able to provide the community with affordable massages,” without contracts, “and we want to make ourselves available for them to make massages a part of their normal health routine, not just a luxury for special occasions.”
As for Patton, she said her decision to switch careers has not only changed her job, but also her life. She has come a long way from jobs that leave her riddled with stress.
“Giving massage is very centering and grounding, and it gives you an opportunity to think. I’ve actually finished giving massages to people and I’m like, ‘Oh man, it was so good for me, was it good for you?’”