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Happy Birthday, Brooke!

Spa Industry

My daughter turns 11 today - Happy birthday, Brooke! While today she'll get the gifts, I know I am the one who receives daily – simply because I am blessed to be her mom.

My desires, my personal mission statement, and my passion for career are all shaped by her and my 12-year-old son Cameron. When I became a mom, one of the biggest awakenings in my life was the depth of my passion to serve others in need. When the kids were younger, I joined the board of our tri-country domestic violence shelter, was on the fundraising team for our local, faith-based food pantry and thrift shop, and became a board member for our local Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) chapter. 

Over the past 11 years, it has been an honor and privilege to give my heart and soul to help children and families in need, and I have benefited from every minute.

One of my biggest realizations through giving back? That success (both personal and professional) often comes down to simply staying dedicated to doing the right thing and solving problems that arise.

That's how I came to start Saltability. As a spa director, I had a problem: those turkey roasters used for hot stone massage. I don't use the word hate, so I will say I disliked them – A LOT. They use 5 gallons of water and have a tremendous electric load. Plus, the water (with bleach or quats in it) was used all day on different clients. I knew we weren't doing the best we could for clients, and we weren't living up to the green identity the spa industry strives to maintain.

I wanted to see a change. So I sat down with a entrepreneurial engineer (someone I trusted, who I knew already has many patents and cool products) and sketched out a design. I told him what I wanted and asked him to make sure it didn't have or use water or chemicals and had no high electric load.

Five months (and several prototypes) later, I was flying to the 2014 ISPA conference with the one and only final prototype for my Saltability debut. Yes, there was a lot of praying on the plane. I knew I wouldn't have any production for 10 weeks and couldn't even confirm orders at the show, but I was honest with everyone and kept faith that I was doing the right thing.

My entrepreneurial launch story ends with my first clients, all the Spa Nordstrom spas in the United States (thank you, Parvin and Vickie) and Red Mountain Resort (an icon in my books for spa and spa intention – thank you, Marci).

Vickie Hauck and Parvin Zadeh from Spa Nordstrom and Saltability's Ann Brown
Me (far right) with Vickie Hauck and Parvin Zadeh from Spa Nordstrom at the 2014 ISPA Conference and Expo, Las Vegas

Maybe it was karma for all the good I tried to do with those hurt through abuse or neglect and families that just needed a leg up, but I have to say... My passion for my business and answering a need in the spa industry is truly fueled by the unconditional love I get from my kids (and husband too)! 

My family can't begin to realize all that they have done – and continue to do – to make me a better person, but I am grateful. Today, I share Brooke's birthday with you, along with a wish for your own growth and happiness. Cherish those around you, and stay open to all areas in your life where you can make a difference.

Additionally, one of the most important lessons I have learned as a mom is when to say no. When I launched Saltability, I made the hard decision to step away from several charities, remaining only on the board of BBBS. I knew I couldn't be the mom I needed to be, start my company, and still give in all the areas I wanted to. Too often women try to do it all, but we have the greatest impact and influence when we stay true to our own needs. Don't be afraid to cut back in order to fulfill the vision you have for your life!

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