Jennalee Dahlen is all about community. Her community—in the form of her husband, Adam—supported her when in 2012 she opened Yoso Wellness Spa (then Santa Cruz Skin Solutions & Integrated Wellness) in Santa Cruz, CA, shortly after giving birth to her second daughter. That desire to foster her greater community was at the heart of her decision to become a certified oncology esthetician after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s also why Jennalee prizes her relationship with Mindbody. The company’s customer support team makes her feel like she’s a part of a much larger team when they’re available round-the-clock to help her out, she said. “Mindbody has become an integral part of Yoso and our success creating a software program that has helped me run my business. But they are more than just wellness software; they have become my friends; they are my cheerleaders.”
Throughout Yoso’s history, and as it continues to grow, building community has been at the heart of the spa’s mission. Participating in various non-profits, organizing fundraisers, giving back, volunteering, supporting silent auctions, collaborating with local businesses, and organizing river clean-ups and habitat restorations.
Discovering her passion
Dahlen’s care for the community that keeps her business open.It was her customers who pushed her to open her spa in the first place.
Dahlen left a job in the corporate world to become an esthetician and began her journey in 2011. She quickly realized that working for someone else wasn’t going to work for her.
“I really needed to own my own business because I had such a passion for wellness and skincare,” Dahlen said. “[When working for someone else,] I couldn’t really give each client the custom blueprint experience they needed for themselves to really make that bigger shift for their skin, mind, body, and soul.”
So, just one week after having her second daughter, Dahlen signed a lease on Santa Cruz Skin Solutions & Integrated Wellness. Within 10 weeks, the business was up and running.
“I had a ton of support from my husband,” she said. “He could see that for me this was like a soulmate in a career.”
The spa has thrived in the years since: Dahlen's staff has grown, and business is good. The spa offers esthetics, acupuncture, massage, and nail services—to name a few. With all of this growth and change, Dahlen and her team decided it was time for an update. In 2017, Dahlen changed the name to “Yoso,” a Japanese phrase that loosely translates as “raw materials.” Dahlen was inspired to name her business after it because of the spa’s use of organic products, holistic services, and all-around, natural aesthetic.
The name change also served as a signal to the community that Yoso went beyond just skincare.
More than skin-deep
Dahlen believes her spa can create a positive “ripple effect” in her community; “When a client has experienced our touch and energy at Yoso, they now leave feeling brighter and happier than when they arrived. That feeling ripples within their own community when they are with their friends, family, neighbors, or strangers, as they smile or interact, emitting uplifted energy.”
“I had thought for a while that somebody needs to know how to work with someone who’s going through cancer treatment. Not just with the changes in their skin, but to help support them and also make them feel really good,” Dahlen said.
And then, her mom was diagnosed with cancer.
“The moment she got diagnosed, I signed up for an oncology esthetics course because I said ‘I need to do this now. I want to help her in an even more impactful way and support her,’” Dahlen said. Dahlen received her certification as an oncology esthetician and now provides skin treatments for cancer patients.
The cause of providing compassionate cancer care and support only grew for Dahlen after her own brush with cancer. She had to undergo surgery to remove skin cancer. For Yoso’s five-year anniversary in 2017, she held a fundraiser for Santa Cruz’s Katz Cancer Resource Center, raising more than $5,000 in two hours.
In it together
If giving back is second nature to Dahlen, it’s because she’s received so much, she said.
“I wouldn’t have Yoso Wellness Spa today without my community,” she added.
Part of the support she gets is from Mindbody, as it provides her with more than just software, Dahlen said.
“There’s this whole team of people behind us trying to achieve the same goal,” she said. “I know I can call tech support at 2 AM, and someone in London will be there to help me out. It’s a community of people who support my business.”
As Yoso continues to grow, Dahlen will continue to be supported by her community at home and at Mindbody—and support her own in Santa Cruz.