This health and wellness enthusiast found herself running her own massage boutique that has become LA's hottest new wellness destination. Coming from a design background, Gara Danielle created a sacred space to escape the daily pressures of life and recharge your energy and spirit through the healing benefits of massage therapy. I had the amazing opportunity to find out more about Gara Danielle and her incredible career.
Melissa: What inspired you to start up your own massage boutique? Did you have a similar experience elsewhere that triggered this desire to create your own in the heart of the city?
Gara: I have been a health and wellness enthusiast who loves to travel but The NOW was my first foray into running a massage business. I come from a design background, so I didn’t necessarily think that I would end up launching multiple massage boutiques. That said, I am really passionate about self-care especially in today’s fast paced world. We saw a void in the marketplace for high-quality massage service in a luxurious environment at a reasonable price point and wanted to fill it. Since I am a hard worker and entrepreneurial, it was a natural transition for me.
Melissa: Where does your creative energy come from?
Gara: I naturally have a lot of energy and love to connect with people. When it comes to creative inspiration I get a lot of ideas from traveling and meeting different artists and designers. I love to read and explore different cultures and wellness rituals. Developing our product line ‘Nourish’ for The NOW has been a huge learning experience for me.
Melissa: What are you most passionate about when it comes to The NOW?
Gara: I love our NOW family of employees. Everyone from our management team to the therapists that we find- who truly are healers and so passionate about what they do. It’s all about offering people that next level experience. Some things can be cultivated or bought but curating the right mix of practitioners and people at the front desk to ensure everyone gets the best service is priceless.
Melissa: I noticed you have 4 locations, are you looking to expand even more?
Gara: We just launched our updated website and are super excited about it! Now you can book massages and customize your service online, order gift cards, products from our retail all with just a click. We are also rolling out our product line “Nourish by The NOW”, our first product The Peppermint CBD Balm was a big hit when we offered it as an enhancement for massages so it was natural for us to develop the balm as our first offering. Expansion is always on the horizon, more boutiques, new cities and more locations in California. We are always traveling and exploring new options for the future.
Melissa: How did you come up with your name “The NOW”?
Gara: “The NOW” refers to being in the moment, staying present and taking a break from the technology overload many of our clientele experience on a daily basis. Our philosophy is about recharging and taking time out for oneself NOW through the vehicle of massage.
Melissa: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
Gara: The biggest challenge for working mothers today is balancing running a home and being effective at work. Of course, my family is always my priority. Part of the inspiration for The NOW was working mothers like myself who need a place to go relax and recharge so they can return to their families with renewed energy, passion and patience. I am constantly inspired by so many of the strong independent women that are running their own companies today and balancing family life and their responsibilities at home with work. So many women today are forging the way for our daughters to be tomorrow’s CEOs.
Melissa: How did you create and design this space? What inspiration did you pull from?
Gara: Our original West Hollywood boutique was a collaboration with David Alverez of Studio Alverez. We wanted the space to be natural, raw and idyllic and we wanted to incorporate as much nature indoors as we could. The interiors for The NOW were all inspired by nature. When people want to relax, they turn to the outdoors, and The NOW is all about creating a soothing environment for relaxation. Throughout my travels, I have incorporated new design elements and researched different brands to feature in our retail space that is constantly growing and expanding.
Melissa: What do you believe is most important when it comes to health and wellness?
Gara: Learning how to take time to recharge, be present and stay in The NOW is extremely important especially today with smartphones and the constant assault of media on our senses. Massage is not only a therapeutic tool for the body, but its medicinal for the mind and spirit as well. When you give the body time to slow down you allow the body and mind to naturally balance. We hope that through the therapeutic use of touch the client will have time and space to feel the benefits of being in The NOW.
Our original West Hollywood boutique was a collaboration with David Alverez of Studio Alverez. We wanted the space to be natural, raw and idyllic and we wanted to incorporate as much nature indoors as we could.
Melissa: Do you have any tips and tricks when it comes to recharging?
Gara: I trained in Transcendental Meditation, ironically, right as we were opening The NOW. I have to say it has served me well throughout this process. I am committed to at minimum 20 minutes in the morning- I try to make time in the afternoon as well. Weekends I always do twice a day. That coupled with a massage at The NOW is what keeps me balanced and sane as I juggle my husband, two kids, two dogs, four boutiques and the fast pace of life in the city.
Melissa: How do you inform others about the importance of massage therapy and self-care?
Gara: Today it’s easier than ever to communicate with your clientele and an audience through social media. We even have a series on social media called “NOW You Know” where our Massage Therapists and wellness experts will discuss the benefits of different healing modalities and new ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Melissa: Do you have a specific aesthetic when it comes to what you wear in this space?
Gara: I love fashion and grew up around the fashion business in New York (my father worked at Calvin Klein) so it’s second nature to me. During the week, I’m often moving from the boutiques to our corporate office and my days can range from working on a crystal installation or updating a cactus gallery at a new boutique to a business meeting or dinner. For work I like to pair classics like vintage Levi’s or a or well-tailored pants with a t-shirt or silk top that I can layer and dress up or down throughout my day. Mixing iconic designer pieces from Chanel or Hermes with one of a kind vintage finds from Rachel Zabar is what makes fashion fun for me.
Melissa: What is one fashion accessory that you can never leave the house without?
Gara: My diamond wedding bands that my great grandmother designed for herself.
Melissa: If we were to raid your closet, what accessory would we find the most of?
Gara: Jewelry! I have a jewelry line that I’ve been designing for 18 years called Gara Danielle (which is why I’m always wearing at least 15 rings, 5 necklaces and 10 bracelets!). I still work on it every day. I designed a line exclusively for The NOW at a lower price point and we sell that and my fine jewelry line at The NOW boutiques and on our website www.thenowmassage.com.
Melissa: Do you look to anyone in particular that inspires you when it comes to fashion or your creative interior design?
Gara: So many fabulous women in fashion and design inspire me from The Olsen Twins and Phoebe Philo to icons like Iris Apfel. Although personally I am a fan of midcentury and modern design, when it came to The NOW we wanted it to feel more like a vacation. We looked for more beachside, rustic locales for inspo from Mexico to the famous beaches of Greece and Italy.
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