What do you typically tell people you do and what inspired you to start Chapman Guides? The Chapman Guides is a curation of the best and authentic destinations in wellness travel – from rustic and affordable retreats and getaways to very lush spas (and I know a thing or two about what makes a retreat or spa a standout). I’ve spent the last twenty years exploring the world delving into the history of healing cultures including Japan, India, China, Bali, Myanmar and the Middle East. I’ve published 4 books on spas and was the previous Editor-in-Chief of Spa Asia magazine – I think it was only a matter of time before I turned my passion into my own sustainable business!
What are you passionate about? Wellness, travel and connecting! Traveling the world, and connecting with all the weird and wonderful people in the wellness community. Communicating about wellness travel and experiencing those exquisite moments of connectedness that is the byproduct of slowing down, eating well and being in nature. Our world needs retreats and time away from digital devices more than ever!
What was a defining moment in your business?
I feel like the best is yet to come…
What do you love most about your business?
I absolutely love meeting the individuals behind the scenes at retreats and spas and finding out what motivated them to start their projects and what makes their creations distinct – everyone has a story to share. I am continually blown away at how creative and ingenious people are and I learn so much about the wellness world by actually experiencing their offerings. I know from personal experience the best spas and retreats are created by people who don’t follow ‘trends’ but listen and follow their heart and intuition.
How is owning your own business different to what you thought it might me?
It’s damn hard! To be fair, it has only been a year since I left my inspiring and well-paid gig as Spa Curator for the Karma Group and went out on a limb – and although I feel far more balanced internally I sometimes miss that regular pay check. Starting your own business requires bravado! On the other hand, it’s been a magical journey so far and I find the more I relax and trust the ‘flow’ then the opportunities roll in – for some reason pushing and being hard and driven has never worked that well for me on all levels including financial. Having my own own business definitely requires me to be healthy in mind and body so I have lots of energy to keep going!
What’s your most quirky personal trait?
Well I grew up in a quirky family – we lived in a caravan for a while and a shack in the rainforest that was hand-built by my mother. We traveled alot as kids so we experienced alot of cultures including yoga ashrams in India and other unusual places. But for sure my quirkiest trait is that I am addicted to traveling yet I have a deep fear of flying – it’s completely incongruent!
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
There are daily gems that keep me motivated – especially when people contact me asking for my advice on what are the best retreats or spas to experience. On these occasions I realize I actually know so much about the wellness business and have so much to share about this burgenoning industry – every day is anew!
What makes your creativity flow?
Believe it or not but I get my most creative juices during a good massage – it is in this deeply relaxed state that I have light bulb moments! I often get great ideas at the gym as well – maybe it’s all the blood and oxygen circulation that gets things going! Creative inspiration comes to me in the most unexpected places! I certainly don’t sit down at an office desk and work – I am usually on the road, at an airport, a café – anywhere but the office makes my creativity flow! I think I might be one of those ‘digital nomads’!
Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?
There are a handful of people who have seen qualities and potential in me that I was not yet aware of and thus gave me incredible opportunities that I am forever grateful for! Currently it is a toss up between my deeply intuitive sister and my pragmatic partner who bestow great wisdoms and inspiration that helps me continue on. Even having one person who believes in your dreams is enough!
What continue to be some of the greatest challenges you face in your business?
TIME! It sounds so cliché but fitting everything in is a daily challenge – from looking after my personal well-being (eating well, exercise, put energy into my long-distant relationship, keep my mind centered) to staying on the pulse, connecting with retreat founders and ensuring I visit the good ones on a regular basis – all these things take energy and sometimes I don’t feel like I achieve half of the things on my ‘to do’ list. Fortunately as my business is retreats I can sometimes steal a few hours during a retreat to get some work done!
What would you say are some of the key elements to starting & running a growing business?
I guess it’s an individual experience but for me I know I have to be 200% committed and dedicated to make it a reality yet also be open and flexible if my ideas need to shift and shape to be successful in the business. I also feel it is important to seek external professional advice if you encounter challenges and try not to let your emotions cloud good decision making. I feel it is important to keep working on yourself on every level including emotions and mentally so that you can stay balanced and grounded along the way. I am continually evaluating my intentions and what is motivating me. Trusting my intuition is key – as is a business plan, proper budgets and quarterly financial and business reviews. I don’t a good business can be founded on good ideas alone and you need a balance of business management with the creative to have lasting success.