Throughout the month of March, we are highlighting some of Buck County’s most Happening Women. This week’s featured Happening Woman is Barbara Panno. She owns Keeping In Touch Bodywork and Massage Therapy in Doylestown. It’s a beautiful little practice just around the corner from the famed County Theater. We recently sat down with Barbara to talk with her about her business and her inspirations.
BH: Barbara, thank you for chatting with us today. What initially made you want to start your own business?
BP: What really drove me to start my own business was the amount of knowledge and ideas I had about this type of work. I wanted to express them in a unique way and begin sharing its value with my clients.
BH: Well, you have a great place here. It is a very relaxing atmosphere. What drew you, specifically, to massage therapy?
BP: When I was 30 I had my first massage. What I took away most from that experience was the realization that there was a job out there that made people feel so incredibly good. My first thought was, “this is what I have to do!” It had a deep effect on me once I had personally experienced it. I wasn’t particularly looking for a career, but it was at that moment I knew that I had to learn to do this work. It really resonated with me. And what I love is that each session brings a new experience for me and even my repeat clients. This is not only a profession, but also a true honor to be of service to people in this way. I love what I do!
BH: It’s great to hear that you’ve found a way to combine your passions with your job in such a practical way. What challenges have you faced as a woman who owns and operates her own business, and how did you deal with those situations?
BP: Transitioning from being known as a wife and mother into a business owner was challenging for me. I wondered who would support me in that. People tend to like you as you are and as the person you are to them. Once I transitioned and was no longer fitting that mold, it was interesting to see who supported me and who did not. For me, it was a process of coming into who I was and evolving into who I was meant to be.
In the end, it has worked out really well. The first 5 years [Keeping In Touch] was located in Jamison, and for the past 6 years, I have been in Doylestown, though I still maintain my office in Jamison. I always say that I didn’t find Doylestown, it found me. I wasn’t originally looking for it, but once I opened my business here, I have been welcomed with open arms by the community. This is a great town and the other business owners are very friendly.
BH: Congratulations on all your success! I know what you mean about Doylestown, I have always found it to be a welcoming community. What do you enjoy most about running “Keeping In Touch”?
BP: I get to see and know people in a very unique way. At this point, I have had a lot of training and I see things very holistically. I get to help people with achieving a deeper level of health and well being. In our modern world, everyone is very “go, go, go” and “do, do, do” but when people come here they are typically coming to be at peace with themselves and to slow down and feel. I try to help and guide them through that process where I can. In addition to being stress relieving, and healthy, and relaxing, massage is mentally therapeutic. A lot of times, I end up talking about all kinds of things with my clients because it tends to bring that out. Ultimately, I try to bring people back to themselves. Many people tell me they feel like a new person when they walk out of here.
BH: Excellent! What sort of long-term impact do you hope to make on your community?
BP: Well, the business is always changing and evolving as I am. Overall I try to encourage people to honor themselves and to take better care of themselves. That will make the world a better place overall. I want to help people achieve a better sense of well-being. I believe that massage is not only a luxury, it’s a necessity.
BH: It sounds like you make a real difference in the lives of your clients. What advice would you give to other women who want to start their own business?
BP: I think that women have a great intuitive sense, and that they should trust that. We’re all given a gift to share with the world, and we should trust our intuition and follow it because that’s what the world is missing. It doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s life or passion. If you follow your passion, then you’re filling a void inside you and people will support you if you’re being true to that gift. I believe that if you take baby steps towards that, you will eventually be up and running.
BH: Barbara, thanks again for taking the time to speak with us.
BP: You’re very welcome.
For more information on Keeping In Touch Bodywork and Massage Therapy, visit http://keepingintouch.abmp.com/
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