By Jamie McCoy, Baltimore intern
When a massage therapy studio called Hygeia’s Cove opened in Ellicott City a few months ago, I didn’t take a whole lot of notice. That is, until I heard that the owner graduated from Catonsville High School (my alma mater—yeah C-ville!) three years ago. Yes, she is exactly my age, and she owns her own business. Naturally, that sparked my curiosity.
The owner of Hygeia’s Cove is Selena Wiley. She is a 21-year-old Baltimore County native who now lives and works on Main Street in Ellicott City. In high school, she was always on the college track. She did well in school, applied to colleges, and almost accepted admission to McDaniel College. A few days before her decision was due at McDaniel though, she did some serious thinking about what she wanted. Another option she could pursue would be an intensive seven-month massage-therapy program at Baltimore School of Massage.
Ultimately, Wiley decided that she would take the risk and go the unconventional route. She enrolled at Baltimore School of Massage and hasn’t looked back. She graduated from the program about 2 years ago and waited tables for a while, saving up enough money to take the next step.
Again, Wiley was at a crossroads. She could work in a spa somewhere, or with a hotel or country club. But when the space opened up on Main Street, she decided to jump right into another risk and open her own business.
It looks as though this risk is going to work out well for her too. She’s loving it. Business over the past few months has been better than she expected. “It’s such a great location too! We get so much foot traffic” she says.
Wiley works hard to keep her sessions affordable and personal. She doesn’t overbook herself, and makes sure that in between each session she has at least half an hour to talk with her clients to find out how they are, what they need from her, and how best to help them. “I don’t know if I would get that kind of personal connection at a spa, and its that connection that makes the job really worth it for me.”
So it seems like Selena Wiley really has made things work out for herself. She took risks where she saw them, and is succeeding. She also is doing something she really believes in. “My goal is to create a more relaxed, healthier you by the end of our session," she says. "I want you to walk out feeling refreshed … and more in tune with your body.”
Hats off, Selena. It’s exciting and inspiring to see such success from someone so young, especially in the current environment in which age and degrees are given so much emphasis. Congrats, and good luck.