(The Woodhouse Day Spa's Jeni Garrett is the seventh female executive to be profiled in our series highlighting women in business.)
Garrett, 33, grew up on a dairy farm in the rural countryside of southern Texas, and her first job as a young girl was starting a roadside flower stand. She handpicked the flowers from the field, and sat at her stand trying to sell flowers to anyone who would pass by. At 14, she started buying and selling cattle. When she was 21, Garrett postponed her collegiate studies to take a leap of faith with her then-fiancé into day-spa services.
Garrett opened her first spa in her hometown of Victoria, Texas, in 2001. Three years later, she started franchising the concept and has grown the franchise to more than 29 spas in 14 states.Another 12 franchises are expected to open in the U.S. this year. And Garrett aims to add at least 125 domestic locations over the next five years. >>>Great Clips' Rhoda Olsen: Company CEO (and Mom-In-Charge) >>>Fastsigns CEO Catherine Monson: 5 Traits to a Successful Career >>>BrightStar Care's Shelly Sun: From Frustrated Consumer to CEO The Woodhouse Day Spa is also expanding internationally, with plans to open its first location in India this year and a signed master franchise agreement there for the development of 100 locations over 10 years. She's also looking to Canada and Mexico for expansion. Garrett spoke to us about the challenges of starting a business so young and how The Woodhouse Day Spa is standing out in the $13 billion U.S. spa industry. Why did you decide to open a spa and how you were able to run it at such a young age? You must have had a lot of confidence, because when I was 21, the last thing I was thinking about was starting a business. Garrett: Well, I'm not sure I did have a lot of confidence back then, but I've always loved spas. My mom and I would travel to Houston to go together on Mother's Day and special occasions. I just fell in love with it at a young age. They were all very mysterious to me back then because there weren't a lot of day spas around.