Business profile: Ayurveda RetreatBy David Millward
November 18, 2011
The business: Ayurveda Retreat, 32 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DX. 0118 958 8190, www.ayurveda-retreat.co.uk - firstname.lastname@example.org - Facebook: Ayurveda Retreat/Oasis Therapy, Twitter: @ayurvedaGB
The boss: “I’m Parit Dodhia. I came to the UK from Kenya 20 years ago to study economics at university. After graduating, I worked in London where I qualified as an accountant and began a career in finance.
"I developed an interest in natural healthcare and took the plunge by starting a business in Ayurveda.”
What is your business about: “Quite simply, we are a health and wellness business, perhaps best described as a Medispa. We have created a little oasis in the busy town centre for people to come and enjoy relaxing and invigorating massage-based therapy. And we also offer in-depth treatment programmes to individuals suffering from medical issues.
“Our treatments are based on Ayurveda, the ancient Indian “science of life” which holds that every individual is a unique being with the potential to achieve perfect health once he or she understands his/her own mind and body. During winter 2011/12, we are launching additional services such as osteopathy, reflexology, sports and remedial massage and homeopathy.”
What products/services do you offer? “We offer health consultations, massage-based therapies, courses in Ayurvedic massage, osteopathy, sports massage, reflexology, homeopathy and weekend retreats.”
How many staff do you employ? “We are a team of 12 at present.”
Who are your customers? “When we were preparing our business plan back in 2005, we were expecting our clientele to be heavily female dominated. We got that so wrong – just under 40 per cent of our clientele is male and growing all the time.
“I guess men are more in tune with their well-being than we had expected.
“Our youngest client is in her late teens, and our oldest into her 80s.
“We also have corporate clients, where we go to our clients’ offices and perform chair massages.”
What sets you apart from the competition? “As far as we are aware, there aren’t any other health and wellness centres doing what we do in the Reading area.
“That said, our secret weapon has got to be our team. All our therapists are well-qualified and experienced, and great at creating a lovely ambience for our clients.”
How has the recession affected business? “To be frank, we have been very surprised to have grown our revenues by more than 50 per cent between 2009 and 2011 in spite of the economic gloom. We attribute this to our services being affordable luxuries that our clients treat themselves to in these tough times.”
How do you feel about the future? “Although we believe that times will get tougher, we are reasonably bullish about our own future – if you offer good value to your clients the impact of any economic slowdown would be mitigated.”