A spa is an oasis where decadent self-care rituals sweep us away from the world of stress to utopia. All spas are not created equal and those in-demand locations have a secret elixir that feeds body, mind, and soul. No one understands the intricate relationship between design, treatments, service and the physical and mental response like Valerie Thomas.
Valerie’s company “Consult Within”, a boutique spa consultancy, is based in Calgary. Integrating profitable business models around wellness, spa and healthcare is her expertise.
With a degree in business and design, Valerie opened and managed her own successful Spa & Wellness Program – in Canada from 2003 to 2016. Looking for further adventure Valerie began supporting resort spa’s in the position of Spa Director developing new programs, treatments, and rituals. It is a natural progression that she drew twenty plus years in the business of wellness, spa, brand development, programming and operations into a consultancy company.
We first met when she was Director of a world renown spa I visit for an amazing Thalasso and Vichy Shower Massage (see Learn More below). Her absolutely delightful assistance in making choices to round out my spa experience was endearing so I was excited to hear she made a decision to share her passion and expertise broadly. Here is a glimpse into this “Celebrate Audacious” woman, Valerie Thomas.
How did your business come about?
I am stepping into yet another space of transition which many women our age experience. Faced with the opportunity to move deeper into SELF, to further explore inner peace and moments of joy, my intention is to be gentle, rewarding and giving to myself in an authentic and humble way. That is why I named my boutique spa and wellness consultancy Consulting WITHIN.
What was the best advice you ever received?
I find this a difficult question – I looked to my Mom for much of my life’s advice, good or bad. I remember so many nuggets of information, I feel it’s not what we are told, but when and by whom. We have to be ready to ‘hear’ and understand good advice. When I was a young Mom and my children were teething or colic, my Mom would say ‘this too shall pass’ I remember these words when I feel frozen in fear and panic… this too shall pass. And it does.
What do you need to make more room in your life for?
To open and make room for the right people in my life. I have spent the last 10 years working on and in my business, struggling through a divorce, grieving the loss of both parents and delightfully seeing my two boys, now young men, flop out, trip and fly from the nest. Sometimes I feel lonely as I spend a great amount of time alone. I feel I need to find and perhaps create the right tribe for this period in. my life. I’m making room for great possibilities of success, love balance and grace.
What is your most prized possession?
Although not possessions, the fact that I was able to have 2 wonderful children, to have raised them and watch them grow into young men is truly my greatest gift. I am grateful I possess true strength, resilience, courage, and humility. And Shoes! And Boots!
If you could meet anyone for lunch, who would it be?
I love this question. I often say I would love to have lunch with my brother. My gentle and kind brother who passed 24 years ago. I imagine sometimes having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with him simple sitting on a park bench. Or sharing a really good Chianti with pasta. I would tell him how it felt when he left, how much I miss him. I would share the wonder of my two boys and how they resemble him in so many ways. He would share with me the wonders and beauty of being energy and how the colors are alive as he still paints. We would share philosophies, ideals, and questions.
What achievement gives you the most pleasure?
I feel being alive and finding joy in each day is a pretty good achievement.
It is a blessing to have been given the opportunity to open a Wellness Spa and offer a sacred space to many over 13 years. I met wonderful people as guests who trusted the space and process enough to return again and again, as well, bring loved ones in to share the experience. Our dedicated staff, healers, and RMT’s were natural nurtures who gave from mind and body. I feel we all achieved great triumphs.
If you could learn anything new what would it be?
I would really like to learn the secret to avoiding menopause. And the true origin of Woman. I am very passionate about the business of wellness, it is wonderful we are having global conversations, sharing great ideas and initiatives. I want to keep learning, sharing and growing within this authentic global celebration.
What is your key strength?
It has to be resilience.
Do you have a favorite book that totally changed the way you thought about life?
I love being near books, the day of digital reading is not the same as holding a book. I wish I could remember the name of this book I read when I was 23 years old after my fiancé passed away. It was about seeking the HIGHER SELF, that the Universe is more than what we see – a true pioneering book about enlightenment. We have come so far in the last 25 years.
Is there a key piece of wisdom you would like to share with women contemplating a renewed self?
It’s sometimes about the simpler things. Get up, take a shower and get dressed. Breathe, meditate and see your true worth. Find something you like to do, release guilt, shame, and expectations of self and others. Embrace where you are; mind, body, and spirit. Take stock of who is in your life, are they happy, supportive, growing, are they empathetic, understanding and without judgment. Create a circle of friends who resonate with the ‘you’. Dig deep within to find your greatest strength, give yourself a task (big or small) and trust you will achieve it. Be creative. Life and love life in the space of creativity. And so much more…
You can contact Valerie and explore the offerings at “Consult Within”
Follow Valerie on:
Read Valerie’s article in Leading Spas of Canada
Wondering What is a Vichy Shower Treatment?
Do you know about Thallasso Therapy?
Love the photography? Check out Christine & Carla Photography