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  • Writer's pictureMarie @RedLotusFloat

It Takes a Village! How Red Lotus Float came to be.

Updated: May 27

My name is Marie aka #RedLotusFloat

I  #floated for the first time in May of 2017. My husband and I spent a weekend out of town, about an hour away. A co-worker (thank you, Nora!), who knows I have chronic pain issues associated with Fibromyalgia, told me about a float place in that town. I had never heard of 'Floating,' so I read up on it and thought, why not check it out?

During the first float, I received a very clear message: "I need to open one of these." I immediately listed out the reasons why this was not a good idea. I have been visiting my parents every other month in Nevada since my brother died of a heart attack in 2016. They needed me. My husband had already begun the countdown to our retirement, and leaving my corporate job would throw those plans off. I don't have that kind of money, etc., etc., etc. I never mentioned it to my husband and put it out of my mind.

In January of 2018, I took my dear friend Tina to check out the same float center. She has been diagnosed with Lupus, a type of autoimmune disease that has shown to respond well to flotation therapy. As we relaxed after the float, I told her, and I quote, "Every time I float, I think I need to open up one of these!" I still giggle at this statement since 'every time' equaled twice, but nonetheless, that is what I said. She excitedly exclaimed, "YES, you do!" Chills went up my spine, and the hair on my arms stood up. I knew there was something to this. We went for coffee and talked about it for the next 3 hours. I had yet to learn how many of our future hours would be spent on this topic! If she knew, she might have thought twice about fanning the flames of this fire.

I went home and told my husband Mike my 'crazy' idea. He said, "Let's look into it." I immediately began researching what was out there on the World Wide Web. Thanks to companies like Float On and celebrities who love to float, there was a good amount of information available to me, and there are even podcasts on the subject! #NewRetirementPlan

Naming this new endeavor was important. I knew I needed a name that had meaning. For me, the meaning was just as important as whether or not it was marketable. I googled and researched, focused, prayed, and pondered. When I landed at Red Lotus Float Spa, I was thrilled that I could not find another business with the name. Eureka, we had a name! Red represents love and a passion for living (and IS my husband's favorite color!) The lotus flower has long represented the purity of something beautiful emerging from murky water below. Side note: ironically, as soon as we had incorporated the business name, we found that Black Lotus Tattoo and Blue Lotus Yoga were businesses near us. It's funny how that worked.  

Next up, a logo. I had a picture in my mind, but I am not an artist and, indeed, not a graphic artist. I took my idea and childlike sketch to my daughter Lillie. Fortunately, she is an artist; it is typically with hair (@lillie_4_hair) or food, but she is an artist. #Talented She built upon my idea and created the basic sketch of our logo today. I love our logo and will forever be grateful for her skills! 

One day, I came home, and my husband said, "Hey, let's drive to Indiana this weekend and talk to a manufacturer." I am blessed with the best partner! The trip did not result in a business relationship, as the manufacturer and I were not a good fit, but the trip itself gave us a good amount of time to talk about this proposition and what the next steps would need to be.

I began researching and developing the Red Lotus business plan and then seeking funding. In the meantime, I told those closest to me, and they continued to fan the flames of excitement for this project. In March 2018, we incorporated Red Lotus Float Spa. 

#Warning for any new business owners or entrepreneurs. If you are creating a company, purchase your website first! Some people make a living by buying websites for newly created companies and selling them back to you at a ridiculous markup! I registered the company with the state of Maryland, and the very next day, someone bought redlotusfloatspa. They tried to sell it back to me at a 600% markup compared to what I paid for I share this every chance I get in hopes of helping someone else avoid these vultures. 

I reached out to the first place I floated for some guidance. They were, unfortunately, unwilling to speak with me but gave me a curt 'Good Luck.' As you might have guessed by now, I am not easily discouraged. I reached out to another float, this time Paradise Float in Annapolis. Owner Denise Pearson was kind enough to speak with me and even let me shadow her on a Saturday. She represents a more significant portion of the float population in her willingness to help. I am very fortunate to be a part of a group that willingly shares ideas, dos and don'ts, and basic experience. Denise introduced me to an online float resource group that has been invaluable in this process, and for this, she will always have my gratitude. 

It was paramount that we purchase our floats in the United States, and we were lucky enough to find Superior Float Tanks in Norfolk, Virginia. We took another weekend trip to visit their facility and talk to Johnny over brisket at The Dirty Buffalo. This conversation began what I believe will be a long-term business relationship. They have been accommodating and knowledgeable in this process, and it is comforting that they are just hours away.

I continued to reach out to other float owners, and they continued to assist, share, and encourage. I believe strongly in creating win-win situations, and I want to give a special shout-out to Bob and Stacey at Truth, Mind, and Body in Sparks, MD. They met with Mike and me over dinner, encouraged us, gave us the cold, hard facts on parts of the business that can be daunting, and provided us with a fabulous resource to send people to float. You see, I was (and still am) so excited about floating I wanted to get everyone I knew somewhere to float! I didn't want them to wait for me. They continued to serve as a resource throughout the entire construction process. #Mentorshiip

I also contacted the Small Business Association and joined the Float Tank Association. I continued to educate myself by taking courses, reading blogs and articles, and listening to podcasts. 

My friends continued to encourage me and share resources. My entrepreneur friend Katie introduced me to the program through which I eventually found funding.

Walls go UP!

In December 2019, my husband and I secured funding and retail space. Construction of that space started in March. The entire process has had its share of roadblocks, detours, and challenges, but progress has continued to be made. We can see the finish line! I feel this is where I need to give my husband, Mike, the man behind the curtain, a HUGE shout of gratitude. Not only is he my rock and my biggest fan, but I would have never survived the construction without him.

I also need to scream a big THANK YOU to my friend Tina. I cannot imagine being able to do this without her constant and consistent help, feedback, and encouragement. She is the mastermind behind the website and basically anything related to marketing. I am beyond excited to carry her products from Zonia's Rainbow, some of which have been created exclusively for Red Lotus Float Spa.

I need to acknowledge Linda and Sara at Clover Oak, who helped me realize my vision through design advice and sourcing. Their brilliance and problem-solving skills result in many of the beautiful features you will find here.

It was a brilliant decision to join the North Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce. Collectively and individually, they have been helpful, supportive, and informative and are a great group of people to know! #NAACCC

I want to shout out my Allegis Group family. #AllegisCares They have provided me comfort, encouragement, and excitement during this crazy ride.

Lastly, I must thank my family and friends, who are too numerous to mention. They provide endless feedback, support, ideas, social media shotouts, and support of all kinds! Evidently, it not only takes a village to raise a child but also to open a small business in America.

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