OWNER TO OWNER with Laura Doughty of Tola Life Spa (Malibu, California)

MY FIRST JOB IN THE SALON INDUSTRY: Was assisting my roommate and best friend Kelly Thomas in Murray, Kentucky. In between my college classes, I would stop in and help her while she was cutting hair. It was the best time—great conversations and always something to do!

I OPENED MY OWN SALON BECAUSE: I love what I do. I have the opportunity to help people every day in my business. We are in the business of giving.

WHEN I’M STRESSED OUT: I go for a run or find someone who will make me laugh. This business has lots of turns, so while most days are great, there are the ones that make you just wish tomorrow would be here already. I have learned that no matter what, I can find something to laugh about and whatever is stressing me out quickly becomes easier to deal with.

I GET INSPIRATION FROM: Nature and from my nephews. Being in Malibu, the nature that surrounds me each moment inspires me, and my nephews never cease to amaze me. They inspire me to still be a kid.

THE BEST JOB PERK I OFFER MY STAFF: Is monthly treatments at another spa paid for by me. I want my staff to practice what we preach and take care of themselves. They also are exposed to how things operate somewhere else, and that helps them learn and appreciate where they are.

MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR IN THE SALON: Would be the first quarter. It’s a new year, fresh starts for everyone and our clients are no longer overwhelmed with the holiday to-dos, and are looking forward to taking care of themselves.

I AM MOST PRODUCTIVE: When I am being creative. Running your own business is like birthing a child in some ways. You are constantly preparing and hoping for the future—taking care of all the details and nurturing its ever-growing life.


MY INDUSTRY HERO IS: Horst Rechelbacher. It truly was his book, Rituals, that was my road map to opening my own spa. With detail, he lays the groundwork for what it takes to create balance in your life.


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.