Originally Posted HERE

Hal Coopersmith | September 30, 2018

NYLP:  Welcome to the New York Launch Pod the New York Press Club award winning podcast highlighting new startups, business, and openings in the New York City area.  I’m Hal Coopersmith.  In this episode we speak to Alexandra Janelli, Founder of Modrn Sanctuary, a wellness center located in the flatiron district at 12 W 27th Street.  And Alexandra is doing wellness in an untraditional way.

Alexandra: We did wellness different. We have black walls, and we have a crocodile wallpaper that the whole center was designed around that I found. People, when I told them that I was painting the walls black, let me tell you, were like, “That’s not wellness. Your way off base. I can’t believe you’re doing this,” and it was very intentional to play off the idea of sensory deprivation

NYLP:  Modrn Sanctuary is unique in that it is a collection of independent wellness practitioners that center around a salt room that has Himalyan Salt that is over 200 Million years old.  What does a salt room feel like?  Here’s Alexandra.

Alexandra: I think that’s absolutely amazing that when you’re sitting within this salt room, it’s almost like you’re back in the womb, which if think about a womb, it is salt water.

NYLP:  In this episode we will discuss Alexandra’s path to starting the business from being a practitioner herself the growth of the wellness industry, and why you just need to head on over to Modrn Sanctuary, and its not about the discount that exclusive to New York Launch Pod listeners at the end. You’re also going to love Alexandra’s voice because she has a hypnotherapy background. So lets go to the interview

NYLP: Stepping onto the Launch Pod, we have Alexandra Janelli, the Founder of Modrn Sanctuary. Welcome the Launch Pod, Alexandra.

Alexandra:  Thank you for having me. This is really exciting.

NYLP: So Modrn Sanctuary is a spa, wellness, co-working space. What is it exactly?

Alexandra:  That’s a great question. I think in marketing we’ve been trying to really hone in what our message is and what we’re doing. In its simplest form, we are a Wellness Center, which means that many people, the more identifiable term would be spa. But we like to think that we’re a little bit more than that because we’re going to tap into your health, we’re going to tap into your inner well-being, we’re going to tap into a little bit of beauty there, too. So a lot of it is that people are going to come to feel better. Our new tagline that we’re really coming up with is, “Feel Better, Look Better, Be Better,” and it’s really about the whole Wellness Center is a collaborative workspace, which you’re seeing a lot more of these days with WeWork and Blender and The Yard. But we wanted to do a similar situation with wellness practitioners to have a home to come to, because I think a lot of practitioners end up being solopreneurs. That’s hard to spend a lot of time giving and giving, that it’s nice to have a community to be within as a healer as well, to be part of. We’ve really prided ourselves on having the most eclectic and unique group of practitioners and treatments all in one space, that we can begin to help people really come home within themselves. I think for me, home has always been a very important place where you can feel like yourself, be yourself, non-judgmental, and truly be taken care of. That’s what I wanted to exude within the center, was an energy of not only feel like you’re stepping off the elevator into someone’s home with our living room-style waiting room, but also to feel like you can really home within yourself because if you’re not feeling centered within yourself or really enjoying your internal environment, the world’s going to feel very different to you because I believe that the world is a projection of who we are internally, and how we feel internally. So if you’re having a really not great day, the world can seem really dark, and if you’re having the best day ever, the universe is infinite. That was really the intention and energy behind Modrn Sanctuary when we built it.

NYLP: I think a lot of people would think that the outcome of their day certainly affects how they perceive the world.

Alexandra:  Totally.

NYLP: But you mentioned home within yourself. What does that mean exactly? That seems pretty deep.

Alexandra:  It’s very deep. I think the ultimate search in life is to find inner peace. You ask anybody, “What do you want?” It’s the cliché, “Miss America”, “World Peace,” but to feel at peace, when we really can be a human being, we get to just be. We accept that everything’s okay, there’s nothing we need to do, there’s nothing we need to control. It’s just this sense of everything is perfectly perfect. Or, perfectly imperfect, if you want to call it that. To find this state of inner peace is really first building the relationship within yourself. I think a lot of us fall into this case of who we should be, what we’re supposed to do. From a very young age, we become indoctrinated to the belief systems of our parents. Like animals, we become domesticated of what schools expect of us. You’re supposed to get straight A’s, you’re supposed to after high school go to college. All these things, these belief systems, you should always say thank you, you should always do this, and yet how can there be one rule that fits everything? It’s really, I find, that a lot of … When I work with personal clients in my private practice within Modrn, a lot of clients who are coming to me at 23, 24, 25, they’re like, “I don’t know who I am.” They are so living other people’s lives. So I think to find yourself within, come home within, is to really be comfortable with yourself. My feeling and my personal belief is that life doesn’t get easier. I think self-help books want you to believe it’s all supposed to be easy. But life doesn’t get easier, you just get to know yourself better, what you like and what you don’t like, what you’re willing to put up with, and what you’re not willing to put up with. The better you know yourself through this awareness and energy, the more you can a much more relatable experience of the world around you versus having a co-dependent relationship with the world around you, or one that you might not want.

NYLP: How does Modrn Sanctuary help people find this peace?

Alexandra:  Right. I think there is a bilateral path in terms of you can start with the exterior, meaning you can come for more beauty treatments. I mean let’s face it, there’s research that’s been done on things like Botox, that when you get Botox, they do have this mood enhancing effect. Now, does that mean that there’s something in Botox that’s going into your body to chemically change your serotonin levels or something? Probably not, but when people look in the mirror and they see themselves in a different way with less wrinkles or smoother skin, they do feel better. So you can start from the outside, and begin to move inward, or you can begin to work on your energy. If you believe in acupuncture or Reiki , those are working on energy channels. We can also work to align your spine. If you’re in pain, you’re not your best self. So your pain levels are going to tell you where to work is to be done, and so we’re here to whether you want work from internal out or external in, or just on one part, we want to be able to offer you the whole wheel, not just the spoke on the wheel.

NYLP: What sort of service is Modrn Sanctuary offering?

Alexandra:  If I go around, we have 5,000 square feet of space with 15 treatment rooms that are centered around a Himalayan salt room, which we’ll probably get into in a minute for those-

NYLP: I did the salt room.

Alexandra:  Yeah, for those who don’t know what a salt room is, we have a physical therapist, a room therapist, blood chemist, chiropractor, holistic skincare, clinical estheticians, crystal bed, a cryo skin body slimming treatment, vaginal rejuvenation, Reiki massage, cranial sacral, hypnotherapy, nutrition, registered nurse who does yoga as well. We have an acupuncturist, cupping, osteopathy, manipulation and coaching. Then we do yoga, meditation in the salt rooms, and we’re always looking to add on new things as well.

NYLP: All under one roof.

Alexandra:  All under one roof.

NYLP: And it’s all … What category would you say? Alternative medicine? Wellness?

Alexandra:  You know, it’s an interesting question you’re asking because I like to use the term wellness.

NYLP: Wellness.

Alexandra:  You can call it health, you can call it beauty. My belief system is that wellness for so long has become sort of a catch term. Everyone wants to be well, but what does that really mean? A lot of my tenants who rent space with me had asked me, “Alexandra, where is your line of what wellness is?” Because I think what’s interesting is a lot of the traditional alternative therapies, your acupuncture, and maybe chiropractic, a lot of people felt that when I started bringing in some beauty treatments that I was kind of crossing the line. Where is wellness? Where is the border? For me, I had to actually step back and think to myself, “Well where is the border? What is wellness?” As a hypnotherapist and a coach, I do believe that our own definition of words is very important because we throw words around very lightly. So everyone throws around, like you’ll hear it, to feel more in control. But what does that actually mean? When you ask people what does it mean to be more in the moment, they kind of look at you blankly and then you’re like, “Well, let’s define it,” and they’re like, “I don’t know.” The more you can get into the diction of something, the more you’re going to be able to understand it.

Alexandra:  So for wellness, I had to say, “What is wellness? Does Botox make you feel well? Does it make you feel better?” If the answer is yes, then there’s something to it in a wellness capacity. So, it didn’t have to be so cut and dry of, “No, that’s beauty.” Or, “No, that’s health.” But I do think because we are a business, we have to cater to what most people know. We’re also educating and expanding people, their minds as well, to be more incorporative of that kind of language and terminology.

NYLP: Well wellness, which you touched upon, is such an interesting field at the moment. It seems like it’s such a hot area because people are focusing more on wellness now. Do you see that? Why do you think that is?

Alexandra:  I truly believe wellness is the next big industry that’s really going to pop. I think it’s already a big industry. If you follow it back through history, it’s been something that’s always important to people. People always want to feel better, right? You go back to the Fountain of Youth. People wanted to search for the Fountain of Youth, they wanted to find beauty in everything. That’s we are, in essence, like our own canvas. I feel that as you look through time, it’s always been there whether it was weight loss, you had speed that was going on, diet pills. People have always wanted to change. They want to be different, and they want to feel better, and they want to look better. Whatever that results gets them, they want more of that. I think what you’re finding now is there is this push for feeling healthier, especially within the bigger cities that are more Metropolitan. It’s much more accessible. The knowledge is there. I think in New York and LA you’re going to find it much more prevalent than you’re going to find in sort of smaller cities or in townships outside of the major Metropolitan areas. But I do think there’s an awareness that’s happening, there’s an awakening of people want to live longer. Life’s good. I do believe that you’re going to see wellness becoming more of a top industry because people want to be happier. I think that was also set up by the self-help industry, which is a great industry to be in, that sells millions and millions of dollars of books, and tools, do these seven steps. But I think there’s a fallacy that they promise of you’re going to be happy all the time if you do this.

NYLP: Well also it seems like we’re stressed all the time. Our phones are there, we’re working, where social media makes people unhappy. Are you seeing that at all, and particularly in New York City?

Alexandra:  I am finding … I had a really interesting conversation with my step-father about this change that’s occurring with electronics around us, and the stimulation. From my work, being on the tail end of the millennial curve, at 36, this generation of millennials and the one underneath them are suffering from severe anxiety. Whether that’s actual anxiety or just a new catch term that’s being thrown around to identify stress, is really not to generalize, but to be diagnosed and more understood. This generation is over-stimulated. I think we all fall prey to it. It’s like we have everything accessible to us. What I believe is going to start to happen, we’re creating and weeding out into this generation a very high functioning, fast processing personalities, but we’re also moving further and further from intimate one on one connections. I think there is positive benefit to this, and a negative benefit to this, right? We’ve deeply connected to people that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to connect to, so there’s a sense of togetherness. But when we take that stimulation away, again, we’re not left feeling at home within ourself. We find ourselves lonely, we find ourselves not liking ourselves, we find self-judgment happening. It’s easy to deflect away from those emotions and that sense of self by just quickly picking up the phone and calling someone being so connected, versus having to sit with the discomfort. I think there’s this whole lack of emotional tolerance that’s happening within these generations of, “Well how do you sit with the emotion of disappointment? How do you sit with the emotion of fear or sadness, or anxiety, or depression, or joy?” We’re always so quick to, “This great thing happened. I need to post it.” But what about just sitting in that emotion? One thing that I’ve been working with, with my clients in particular, is really learning how do you tolerate an emotion? Because some of them are heavy. Especially shame, embarrassment, jealousy, and embarrassment … I said embarrassment, right? So let’s see, shame, embarrassment, disappointment and jealousy. They’re hard and they’re painful. So it’s how do you learn to do those? We are just so quick to deflect away from them. It’s almost like I’d the world to have a blackout and be like, what happens?

NYLP: Did you see these larger trends going on, and think, “All right. I need to open up Modrn Sanctuary?” How did that come to be?

Alexandra:  As most things happen in my life, I have finally fallen victim to this idea of the path was already made, I just need to follow my gut. If we go back in time, I’ve always felt I was a little different. I could never understand why because going through high school, I think, is where I felt it the most. I went to boarding school, which was a personal choice to do. My parents both went, my brother went to the same boarding school. I had a great experience, really loved it, but was never that perfect boarding school student. I think I got a lot out of it, but recognized at a very young age that I was not going to be one of the high achievers.  I think in my time, I hated history, pretty much nearly bombed out of that. I was really good at science, really good at math, but never realized that I was good at it until a teacher really found that I was great and invited me to join an AP Environmental Science class. That’s where I fell in love with really realizing how good I can be when you find the right thing. But again, I wasn’t doing great. In fact, my junior year I tanked out. Didn’t tank out, but didn’t do particularly well until my senior year when I started taking classes I really loved. That folded into college when I said, “Wow, I’m actually not a bad student. I just wasn’t studying what I really loved.”  The doctors had diagnosed me with ADD, depression, whatever you want to call it, and I finally realized there is more than just what you’re supposed to do. I always felt I was a square peg being pushed through a circle hole, and I think I was at such war and conflict with myself of what I should be, what I should do, always looking for approval. I remember calling my mother one day and her going, “I don’t know why you’re calling me for my approval on this. If you want to do it, just do it.” And I was like, wow. I didn’t realize I was doing that. For Modrn Sanctuary, everything is always sort of falling into place in terms of after college, I went to do Environmental Consulting for about seven years. In that period, I saw a hypnotherapist. Blew my mind. Loved it. Got more out of it than I feel like I had gotten in several years of traditional therapy because we were working on a behavioral level. I felt like my life opened to me managing fear. From there, it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I ended up moving with my ex-husband to Chicago and realizing I wanted to go school for hypnotherapy. Between then, I had started a really fun blog that really helped me hone in on creativity, which I would say is my strongest suit, is creativity. When I came back to New York I started my practice, or I moved my practice from Chicago into New York. A couple of years in, well two years ago now-

NYLP: Your hypnotherapy practice.

Alexandra:  Yeah, correct. I went back to school for Life Coaching to do more work, where the Coaching Program of IPAC, they make you work on yourself first before you can really work on other people. Unbelievable skills learned there. It was ironic because I was out in Montauk, which I really used to not hang out in Montauk that much until one of my family bought a house out there. I went out there, they were like, “We’ve got to go to the Montauk Salt Cave.” The most amazing place. I was with my boyfriend at the time, who had horrible allergies. We both went through this experience, and we were like, “We love this, and I wonder if we can continue doing it in the city?” A couple of things I would have changed about it, looked into the city, there really weren’t anyone doing it. I was like, “I want to open this. This is what I want to do.”

NYLP: The salt room.

Alexandra:  Yeah. I’ve never done any kind of development. I’ve always wanted to create space, but it’s New York. It’s high risk, it’s high buy in, and it’s-

NYLP: High cost.

Alexandra:  It’s high cost, yeah. I put together this deck, this idea, and just really went balls to the wall to do it. I couldn’t get a loan right off the bat. I couldn’t find investors right off the bat. And just decided I was going to put up my own capital, talk to my parents about a loan, talk to a couple of people, and I made it happen. Within six months, everything fell into place. So the place I was working at, I originally was going to do just the salt room with one or two treatment rooms, and the owner of the Wellness Center I was working at was like, “I want to retire. I’m not going to renew the lease in October. You should try taking it here. Put the salt room in here.”  It was some of the best advice I had ever gotten. I was like, “Could that happen? Would they give it to me?” As luck would have it, some of the most miraculous things happen which just keep telling you if these things happen outside what would normally be approved, it’s meant to be. Things that aren’t meant to be will drift away and not happen, which is great. So we’ve had a lot of change as the business has grown. You just have to go, “This is happening for me, not to me,” and I solidified the renting portion of it before the salt room came in, and then designed the salt room and the salt room, while it was the original intention, was pretty much the last thing developmental-wise to go into the center. It’s just become the energy of the center.

NYLP: So a lot of it centers around the salt room. I had not heard of a salt room before you mentioned it to me, and before I’d been in one. But for people, I imagine that’s probably a lot of people who are listening to this, what is a salt room?

Alexandra:  It’s magic. Technically, it is a room that is lined … There’s a lot of ways to do a salt room. I’m going to describe the modern salt room first, and then go from there. Modrn Sanctuary has a … think of a 200 square foot room, with 11 1/2 foot ceilings where when you walk in, instead of just the brick walls that you would see in a building, we’ve taken actual Himalayan salt and made bricks out of it, and created brick walls with it. Behind that pink salt, which is translucent, are LED lights that line the room so we can make it green, purple, blue, or just put white light to make the beautiful pinkness of the salt shine. On the floor is a heat map, like you’d find a radiant heat map like you’d find in a bathroom overlaid by granulated Himalayan salt, little tiny rocks like you’d find in a salt grinder, that when you heat the floor, it’s going to release negative ions to attach to all the free radicals in your body, grounds your energy. The LED lights allow for color therapy, and I think the coolest part of this room, aside from just being within the energy of it, is that Himalayan salt is over 200 million years old.

NYLP: 200 million?

Alexandra:  200 million, not a misquote.

NYLP: I didn’t even know the earth was 200 million years old.

Alexandra:  Yeah, so when the primordial oceans dried up, they left these salt deposits in the Himalayas, and then plate tectonics, etc. created the Himalayan mountain ranges. The story goes, and don’t quote me, I’m sure somewhere it’s gotten lost in translation a bit, but if I remember-

NYLP: We won’t quote you. We’ll just record this.

Alexandra:  Totally. Don’t hold me to it, but from what I remember, Alexander the Great’s horses were coming out through the desert, and they were all dehydrated, tired, exhausted. And then the horses were found licking some rock. It turned out it was Himalayan salt because when you lick salt, it can help hydrate, despite what you may think about salt, and they started digging it up. Now, this salt, what I find amazing, and why I love pink salt, number one, it’s got 84 trace minerals, the same ones you find in the body, mixed in with it, which is why it’s going to have these really pretty, sort of mosaic patterns within it. But it also has been untouched by human hands until it’s been mined. So unlike sea salt, which is going to be in the ocean, where there’s unfortunately and sadly a lot of contamination, it is untouched. I think that’s absolutely amazing that when you’re sitting within this salt room, it’s almost like you’re back in the womb, which if think about a womb, it is salt water. We come from the ocean, we’re drawn to salt. We need salt. And it really creates this womb-like environment, where outside that room, it’s pretty quiet. Nothing exists outside that room. I think it’s really just quite phenomenal to be in there.

NYLP: What happens to someone in a salt room? What are the wellness benefits?

Alexandra:  There’s two types of salt rooms. One is called an active salt room, the other is called a passive salt room. Modrn Sanctuary can be either. The differential there is that an active salt room is going to have a salt generator. That means that there’s going to be a tiny machine that’s going to take medical grade salt and pulverize it into a dust and blow it into the room. You’ll have these microparticles floating through the air in the room that you’re going to begin to breathe in. That salt is a natural drying agent, meaning it absorbs it … it’s aborbtive … absorb … It’s going to aborb-

NYLP: Absorbent.

Alexandra:  Absorbent. Yes. Thank you. It is a naturally absorbent … You can’t have fun, right? You can’t laugh at yourself. It’s a natural absorbent. Perfect. So what does that mean? It means if you’re having asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, it’s going to go in to dry it out. If you have dermatitis, if you have eczema, psoriasis, it’s going to dry it out. The energy in the room is very grounding. Because of the negative ions, it’s going to relax you. Then salt just in general … most people get very nervous, because I think the health and wellness sphere has made such a big deal about ingestion of salt and causing high blood pressure. There’s a difference between inhaling and ingesting it. So it’s a very different experience that you’re going to have. People who sit in the salt room, even if you have the generator off, The New York Times wrote an article on us of, “It’s a great place to take a business meeting.” The best part is you leave feeling really calm. I know when I take meetings in there, I’m like, “I’ve got to get out of here. I’m so relaxed that I don’t know how I’m going to go on with my day.”  But it’s a nice way to just sort of have a quiet moment. Some people meditate in there, children love to get into the salt and just play in it. It’s not uncommon. I’ve had people come out with salt in their hair because they were just rolling around in it. It’s playful. It’s like the beach, and I think people feel safe, which is another key word. When people feel safe, they behave very different in their life.

NYLP: I love the idea of taking business meetings in the salt room. How much does it cost?

Alexandra:  A typical session, there’s three chairs in the room, is going run you for the first session $35.00. You can book the room privately, I think it’s for $95.00 if you wanted it for the hour or half hour. I should know this, I don’t strangely, but we can always curate an experience for anybody. If you want to do a massage in the salt room, we can do that. A lot of practitioners will do different treatments. We just ask them no needles for acupuncture or what have you, and no water.

NYLP: Right. Salt water.

Alexandra:  Yeah, the water is going to degrade it, so we’re like, “No water.”

NYLP: Who are the other practitioners in Modrn Sanctuary? Are you vetting them? What’s their quality? How are you finding them?

Alexandra:  That’s a really wonderful question. As the owner and leader there, it’s been very important for me to keep up the integrity of the energy. I think energy is, as I had spoken with you earlier before this in I think in our BNI meeting this morning, energy … The Law of Energy is that it’s neither created nor destroyed. It’s just transferred from one form to another. If you understand anabolic and catabolic energy, there’s definitely two types. So when you meet someone who’s really down or stressed or angry, it’s a catabolic energy. It’s going break down your cell, where you’re going to feel your energy come down. It doesn’t mean that they’re good or bad, it’s just an energy. Being around people who are really sad brings you down. Being around people who are really energetic, positive, really brings your energy up. So to keep the energy of Modrn Sanctuary has been very important, especially with who you’re bringing in. So everyone that’s come in and taken space, we’ve been very particular about meeting with them. We’ve certainly had a couple of people that weren’t good fits. A good fit for us, while we are a luxury brand, we try to a very approachable, non-pretentious energy, so people who are coming in very flashy of like, “Well, I work with JLo or this,” that’s not who we are. We are home. We are a family. We are a very tight knit group of practitioners that it’s not uncommon that we’ll hang out, or we’ll at [8:00] on Thursday go, “Let’s all have a drink here.”  In fact, I think we had one party once on a random Friday where the Wellness Center is built … it’s almost like there’s a border around the interior, so there’re rooms around the peripheral and then inside there’s another square of treatment room. So there’s a square that you can follow around. We actually a took a chair and we were like, “Let’s do chair races around. How can you fast push this chair around the Wellness Center to get back?” So it’s a very good group of people. We’re close, and the energy has been nothing but important. People feel it when they walk in. We did wellness different. We have black walls, and we have a crocodile wallpaper that the whole center was designed around that I found. People, when I told them that I was painting the walls black, let me tell you, were like, “That’s not wellness. Your way off base. I can’t believe you’re doing this,” and it was very intentional to play off the idea of sensory deprivation, and the idea of coming down, because I think a lot of wellness you think light, bright and white. But that’s going to bring you up. I want people to disconnect and come down. We’ve always been very interested of practitioners helping people get grounded. Very gravity earth. Be in your experience.

NYLP: Are you filled up with practitioners at this point? Is the space fully rented?

Alexandra:  We have room for a couple more practitioners. We do make sure one of things as a renter is we ask for a commitment. We are looking for people who are going to not just come in and out of our lives, but we’re looking for a relationship with you. So we do ask for a year contract with practitioners. Of course, if you don’t want to be there, if things aren’t working out, again, it comes down to energy. While we are on contract, as a lawyer you know. But if you don’t want to be there, your energy will just create a different energy in the space, so we always look to find a solution of how to compensate to get you out, or compensate to find a solution, but we do ask for a year long commitment. We do have days available, unfortunately no full time rooms available. Unfortunately.

NYLP: I was going to ask that. Is it each practitioner has to practice seven days a week in the space, five days a week? What is that like?

Alexandra:  We do have a couple of practitioners who work five days a week. If you’re in the healing practice … So for hypnotherapy and therapists, they say about 24 hours is a good week. More than that, there seems to be a return on investment of energy because when you’re working one on one with someone, it’s a very different experience. Think about someone in an office. Now, this is not to say that people who work in an office aren’t getting a lot out of their day, it’s just a different type of work. When you’re working-

NYLP: You can call them bad people if you want.

Alexandra:  They’re awful people. We hate them all. You should come for wellness.

NYLP: They’re your best customers. They’re the stressed out ones, right?

Alexandra:  Right. So a practitioner, when you’re working one on one, similar to your doing this podcast, it’s very intense work of listening. Your attention isn’t going to your phone or computer. You’re not getting up to go grab something. It is right there for an hour. Your attention is very focused on this one person. That takes a lot of energy, especially while you’re listening, healing, coming up with plans. There’s a lot going on, on an internal level, and it can be very draining. 24 hours a week is usually the max. Now, there was a time when I was working a lot more than that, and there were days you’d come out feeling very energized because you’re getting a lot, too, from what you’re giving. But if you’re leaving your day feeling incredibly drained, you’re giving a lot. There was a point where I realized that I was working too hard to fix people, and I can’t.

Alexandra:  My job’s not to fix them, it’s to help guide them to understand themselves for them to do their own work and to find their own tools. I’m here to teach you tools, but I can’t do the work for you. I think a lot of practitioners come from a place of, “I want to fix you. If you just do what I say your life will be better because we’ve been there,” and most healers come from a place of, “I have experiences. I want to help.”

NYLP: So most of the people are a few days a week, it seems like.

Alexandra:  Yeah. Back to your original question, yes.

NYLP: Is there cross-selling among the different practices? How does that work?

Alexandra:  Right now there are internal referral resources available. What I’m looking to build out with my partner right now is a concierge service that is going to go, “Okay, what are your goals? How can we help you?” Whether you buy into the package we’ll create, or just want to try one or two parts of it, I think people don’t always know what they need until someone suggests it. If you came in and you’re saying that you have back pain, I might ask you, “What’s been going on that’s causing that?” Now, I can certainly get you into the chiropractor to do a surficial treatment of aligning your spine right away. But if you’re getting that back pain because you’ve been running or working out, we might want you to see the physical therapist to do some pre-hab, or rehab. We might even want you to come for some yoga to try strengthening different muscles within your body. We want to be able to do a full encompassment of what it is you need, provide that data to you, and then you can pick and choose what you prefer to do. But I think most people are like, “Listen, if you want to get whole-” it’s why a lot of people are moving away from doing medication, right? It treats the symptoms, not the problem. So it’s how do we begin to treat the whole.

NYLP: I want to ask you this question because it seems like there’s a lot more of a focus on flexible work conditions for practitioners or office space. There’s a lot of co-working space, shared office space. And you’re doing this in the wellness sphere. What’s to stop on of these large companies, like WeWork, or [inaudible [00:33:29], and the other names that you mentioned, from saying, “Hey you know what? We have a lot of money. We know the flexible shared space world really well,” and just opening up WeWork Sanctuary as a factor?

Alexandra:  They absolutely could, and I would completely applaud them for doing it. We’re in New York, and I’ve always stood by this. They’re not our competition, they’re our biggest asset. I think it’s wonderful that all these buildings have opened up that are full service luxury, where you can have it all in one place. But let’s face it, at the end of the day, you probably want to get out of that one place before you get cabin fever. We don’t want to be the best Health and Wellness Center, we just to be better. We want to do it unique, and we want to offer you something that is really given to you with care, attention and energy, but it’s different from everybody else. While We Work can certainly do it, is that what they do well? Maybe. But I know what we do well, and we’re always looking to make it better. I think that’s what makes us really unique.

NYLP: What will make you better?

Alexandra: At this point, I think it more cross pollination between the practitioners. I think one of the deficits that we have is because everyone … it’s a double edged sword because everyone is independent businesses within it. We do have our own treatments that we run and stuff as well. But because everyone is their own business, there is not as much cross pollination as there could be, and because people are there on different days, they might not actually ever cross paths. I believe it’s our job as a wellness leader within the business to really help that action happen, and that’s where I think the concierge service is really going to become important, too.

NYLP: In addition to cross pollination, are there any services that you’re offering the solopreneurs, the practitioners, to help them with their businesses, that helps them grow?

Alexandra:  What’s very interesting, and I learned this the hard ways a few years ago, there is a difference between a practitioner and business owner. Now, most practitioners who are solopreneurs are business owners. I’ve seen it within our business, and this is not to say that they’re bad practitioners, they’re probably actually quite amazing, but they’re not great business owners because the hustle that you need to do to differentiate yourself, within Manhattan especially, for example, there’s a lot of nutritionists. I remember working with our nutritionist who’s phenomenal. I’ve never seen anyone work harder than her this last year to really bring her business to where it is. But I was like, “You need your one niche. You need your gimmick.” She’s like, “No, I want to do it.” I was like, “What’s your gimmick? What’s your one thing? That doesn’t mean you have to do just that one thing, but it’s that one thing that differentiates you that people will be like oh, I need that,” and then you’re going to start getting the referrals, right? I specialize in anxiety and stress management for my job. People I work with, with that, are like, “Oh, do you smoking?” Sure, I do smoking. It’s not my bread and butter, but people talk about it. Going back to your question, I believe, and I was working with a practitioner today, that there is a lot of room for improvement for practitioners to learn the business side of what it’s like to run a business, and how to improve their business while we can also improve their business with them and for them. I think that’s where we need to improve as a company, is how do we really support our practitioners more, bringing more business, which means they’ll want more time to rent, which means they’ll be happier. Then it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

NYLP: What about the logistics, like the billing, payment processing, all that sort of stuff?

Alexandra:  First, the practitioners have to elect into it. We hope that they all will. Some have such a successful practice they don’t maybe need more business, which we just love. We think that’s so wonderful. A lot of it would be that we’re going to broker their services for them, maybe take a percentage. As the practitioner, I’m always like, “Oh, it feels weird to do that,” but if I step into my business hat, if there’s a cost to us to bring in more revenue, and if we can take a percentage of what they’re charging, it doesn’t have to be high, just to cover our back end costs, the front desk staff, marketing materials, the work that’s being done, it comes out full fold. If they are seeing three clients a day that they get, but we can bring them three more at no cost to them. Even though we take it off the top, there is no money going out their pocket first. It’s really just going to come off the top as we bring them in for them. So it’s a win-win.

NYLP: What sort of percentage are you talking about, business wise?

Alexandra:  We were thinking anywhere from about 10-20%, and maybe the practitioners can readjust their pricing to accommodate that. Usually, we’re looking probably 10-20%, which will help pay the sales team, pay the front desk, marketing materials, etc.

NYLP:  How are people finding you now?

Alexandra:  Right now, this has been one of the biggest other challenges as a business, is we are not ground floor retail space. Unless you know where we are, we’re that hidden gem. Truly when people come in their like, “We had no idea this existed.” I will say while we don’t have tons of services on Groupon, we do have a few. Groupon has been an amazing free marketing tool. I would say a lot of it has been PR. We have been written about in so many amazing magazines and such that, that helps get the word out of course, and it also helps legitimize who we are as a business and that we can stand behind some press. Then a lot of it is just turning it into word of mouth and getting now, where I realize now that I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head off, being the first solopreneur doing all of this and the marketing seed. I mean, I broke my toe even building furniture before we opened. My poor toe. I should say I broke my arm, right? Or my back. But it’s really now that we have some capital being infused, it does open up the pathway for us to now go out and network, to really, now that things are more stabilized on a foundational level, to go help network. Share. Anything. It’s all about community. I would never had gotten to where I am without having a community. I’ve realized community is really what it’s all about. When they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” trust me it wasn’t, and that, “It takes a village,” it truly does.

NYLP: That is a wonderful note to wrap things up on. How do people find out more about you and Modrn Sanctuary?

Alexandra:  Absolutely. Great question. We would like to firstly open up our community to all of your listeners by offering them a discount on several of the services that we have with the code NYLAUNCH. This code can be utilized for a discount on our cryo skin treatment, if you want to come get your fat frozen, or your body toned. It can be used in the salt room, crystal bed, Somadome Meditation Pod. We’d be happy to offer a flat rate discount for massage as well. We will put up a page specifically for you and your community on our Modrn Sanctuary page.

Alexandra:  It will all be available at modrnsanctuary.com/NYLAUNCH. Please note that Modern is spelled without the E, so it’s M-O-D-R-N Sanctuary. We leave the E off for the experience that you’ll have when you come.

NYLP: Well that is fantastic, and thank you very much. Alexandra Janelli, you have been such a soothing voice. I think people probably have enjoyed listening to this podcast the most, and it probably shows how great you are as a hypnotherapist. Thank you for sharing your time with us.

Alexandra:  You’re very welcome. My soothing voice, I think which is always funny just to wrap things up, I actually grew up with a horrible lisp and was made fun of it. My grandfather, and my great-grandfather and my uncle have the longest running radio show in Manhattan, so radio’s always been in the blood. If someone had told me I was going to be using my voice for my profession, I would have laughed. But now you can see coming home within self, one can let go of their lisp, too.

NYLP: Great fun fact to add things on. If you want to learn more about the New York Launch Pod, you can follow us on social media at @NYLaunchPod, and visit us online at nylaunchpod.com for transcripts of every episode, including this one. But you won’t get Alexandra’s voice on the transcript. If you are a super fan … Alexandra, are you a super fan?

Alexandra:  Yes, I am a super fan.

NYLP: If you are a super fan like Alexandra, you can leave a review on iTunes and Apple Podcast. It does help people discover the show, and it is greatly appreciated.