When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the hospitality industry was one of the first to feel the effects of quarantine. While many spas, hotels, and restaurants are starting to reopen, there are plenty of obstacles standing in their way. We’re proud to introduce James Jackowski - Clean Republic Revolutionary, Licensed Massage Therapist, Licensed Aesthetician, and Owner of Revive Massage Therapy & Spa in Chicago, IL. He shared his story with us, including why he chose Clean Republic to not only help his business survive, but thrive.
CR: Can you briefly walk us through your story?
JJ: I have a Bachelor of Science in Health Education, and taught eighth grade for one year. I couldn't see myself doing that long term, so I followed a friend to Austin, TX. I remember going through the Sunday paper looking for jobs and I came across an ad for DELL, an "up and coming computer company" at the time, looking for customer service reps. I spent the next 15 years of my life wrapped up in technology sales before being laid off in the 2008 financial crisis. I really didn’t know what to do, because I had worked 60+ hours a week I didn’t have any hobbies besides getting massages after long weeks of travel.
In addition to my love of getting massages, I had always been attracted to Health and Wellness, but I hadn’t ever used my education. When I was laid off, I had nothing but time on my hands so I started Massage School. My friends thought I was crazy to go from an Account Executive at Dell to a Massage Therapist, but I finished school at the top of my class, started offering massages to a few friends, and it just took off. I started to look for storefronts in the neighborhood and in 2012 I found a space, hired an architect to carry out my design, and Revive Massage Therapy was born!
CR: We’d love to learn more about your work. What sets you apart from others?
JJ: I love to give a massage the way I like to receive massage - continuous deep pressure - but I also love to learn new techniques from other therapists. School teaches you the basics, but you get your real education from your customers. I remember an instructor saying, "You are a true Massage Therapist after you have your first 1000 massages under your belt."
CR: Has it been a smooth road? Any advice for other people?
JJ: Just like in any new business, you have to put a lot of time and effort in for it to be successful. Anyone can get a business license online within minutes, but that doesn't make you a successful business owner. In my particular situation, I was working 7 days a week and wearing all the hats in my business - providing 4-5 massages a day, human resources, marketing, and sales. It was a lot, but at the end of the day it was my name and brand that was on the line - employees will come and go, but the owner is left with the reputation of the brand, so I don't fail at anything.
CR: Who has inspired you in your life? Why?
JJ: To this day I still revert back to my high school running coaches - Art & Linda Kranick from Saratoga Springs High School. They instilled the idea that hard work and commitment will lead to success. I was lucky to have their guidance in High School - they are the most highly recognized and awarded coaches in the country and have produced some of the top athletes.
CR: How do you use Clean Republic?
JJ: You can now find Clean Republic in almost every room of my house - kitchen, bathrooms, workout area, and pet area. Our cleaning supply cabinet used to be jam packed with numerous household cleaners, which is now down to a few. We use it for everyday spills, cleaning countertops, pet accidents, hand cleanser, wiping down our Peloton, our weights, and we even throw some in our laundry to reduce odor.
At work, each treatment room has a bottle of the All-Purpose Everyday Cleaner and Disinfectant + Sanitizer to use after each client. The front desk staff uses it to wipe down bathrooms, countertops, electronics and any common areas.
CR: How has Clean Republic benefitted your home and/or business?
JJ: COVID-19 changed everything. The hysteria around finding Hand Sanitizer, Bleach, Lysol, Ammonia, etc. to kill the virus was out of control. I would spray Lysol in the massage rooms and would start to cough from the fumes, even if I left the room to air out, the residues would still make me gag. Both as a customer and service provider, there was no way I could "relax" in a small massage room that reeked of ammonia or bleach.
When I discovered Clean Republic at one of the Live | Love | Spa events, the representative (Hugh Huffaker, CEO) was demonstrating how it could be used on almost anything - gentle on skin, kids and pets. Not only is it free from harmful toxins, it has no odor, is organic, and uses only salt + water + electricity. Once they got the EPA approval for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), I was completely sold. We then implemented it at the SPA as our main cleaning solution and purchased an Electrostatic Sprayer to disinfect the facility in minutes. You don’t have to wipe the product off after spraying, so it makes the process SO fast and easy.
CR: What's the most important thing about Clean Republic, in your opinion?
JJ: It's simple, effective, free from harmful chemicals, and organic. It's been used in Healthcare for years and is now available to consumers in a cost effective way. We've been approached by local cleaning companies who want to come in once a week and clean the spa with their EPA approved disinfectant, but it’s such a warning sign that all staff have to leave the building for 12-15 hours! You’d basically walk back into a giant bleach bubble, barely able to breathe - no thanks. With Clean Republic, my employees and I can clean our own space in a matter of minutes without needing to leave the room or wearing masks and gloves. There is a lot of education you need to provide to customers, as most have never heard of Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl), but the company helps with this part too! They have a commercial client package that provides information and visuals for your space, to help educate staff and clients on what HOCl is and why it’s important that your business chooses to use Clean Republic. Once they understand it, they feel safe in your spa.