Tell us about you and your background.
My name is Catherine McDonald. I have lived in Omokoroa for 10 years with my husband and two boys. Omokoroa has been an amazing place for the kids to grow up and I love the community here. Prior to having children, I was a social worker and then a stay-at-home mum for 8 years. When I was ready to go back to work, I decided to retrain as a massage therapist. I wanted a career that I could manage around my family commitments, where I could work from home and that was helping people. I love having a job that makes people feel good.
Tell us about your business.
Once I finished my training at Toi Ohomai Polytech in 2019, I started The Recovery Room from my home on Margaret Drive. I offer therapeutic and pregnancy massage, and more recently have completed training in
Manual Lymphatic Drainage. I have a real range of massage clients who come for lots of different reasons – for relaxation, to recover from an injury or sport, and for the general aches and pains of life. Manual Lymphatic drainage helps the flow and function of the lymphatic system which plays an important role in our immune system, as well as managing the fluid within our bodies. Sometimes the lymphatic system is damaged by surgery, injury, or illness and requires some help to keep moving i.e., after a mastectomy that has removed lymph nodes from the armpit fluid can get trapped in the arm.
What makes your business unique?
Fortunately, I have a purpose-built cabin on my property, so clients do not have to come into my home, but I get all the benefits of working from home. I love working in a small community and creating connections with my clients as I think this creates a much better therapeutic relationship. I prefer to get to know my clients rather than just have people walk in and walk out.
How is your business different now from when you first started?
Over the past 4 years, I have done a lot of additional training to really help find the style of massage I want to offer and to try to create a niche for myself that will protect my business into the future as Omokoroa develops. I really enjoy working with my pregnancy clients and supporting their journey – some of whom are onto their second children which is very cool to be a part of! There is a huge demand for lymphatic drainage, an area I want to develop further.
What is your greatest success in business/what are you most proud of?
Surviving through Covid-19 and having built a successful business through that period, despite all the setbacks.
What is a significant challenge facing your business/industry right now?
The rising cost of living and the impact this is having on people’s financial priorities. Unfortunately, when budgets get tight health and wellbeing are often the first things to get dropped off the priority list, which is understandable. Hopefully, post-election and into next year the economy will start to settle and recover and people will be back to feeling more financially secure.
What is one common misconception about your industry?
A lot of people do not know that the massage industry is not regulated in New Zealand and anyone can say they are a massage therapist and set up business. This also means that there is no oversight of the quality of courses that are offered or standards to be met. This is why there is a huge amount of variance in the quality of massage that people get, especially if they do not do their research beforehand. It is also why massage therapy is not recognised by ACC or most insurance companies.
If you could share one piece of advice with the business community, what would that be?
I think that in a small community like Omokoroa, it is incredibly important to build strong community ties, work with and support other local businesses, and ensure you operate with integrity, honesty, and openness. These relationships and your reputation can be what makes or breaks your business. This will be especially important for small businesses like mine as our community develops and competing businesses move into the area and create competition.
Catherine McDonald is a Massage and Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist in Ōmokoroa. She offers a slow and deeply relaxing massage, using myofascial release and deep tissue techniques, as well as Manual Lymphatic Drainage which is helpful for anyone who has a compromised system because of surgery, injury, lymphodema or fluid retention. For more info, visit her website.