It started as a hobby, training young men in massage. Susan Stein’s vision came to life soon after when she set up a massage and training center in Bali.  

What’s your story?

I moved to Indonesia in 1996 to reinvent myself. As the first General Manager for Mandara Spas, I opened 10 spas and hired 200 people in 16 months. Then the Indonesian Economic crisis hit: and my job was finished.  At first it was drama, then I finally create a business and let my wildest dreams and visions come to life. Jari Menari is a reflection of this passion, a massage and training center, based in Bali.  Our mission is to provide vocational training in massage, guest service, English and anatomy to young men, offering them an opportunity to grow their skills in the professional business of massage and the healing art of touch.  Spa Consulting is another division where the team travels internationally teaching massage and opening spas, usually within international hotels.  

What excites you most about your industry?

Over the years, ‘Spa’ has transitioned to ‘Wellness’ and Jari Menari chose to stay focussed on offering amazing, memorable, award-winning massages as a niche, enhancing the quality of touch in spas where young people are taught massage by imitation first and then led down paths to become Healing Arts Practitioners, as their intuition is encouraged, stimulated and developed.  Massage is my interest, focus and specialty and I do believe to be a practitioner is to know, understand and share quality of touch with another, practicing the healing art of massage and letting the dynamics unfold for each individual guest on the table. We do not ‘fix’ people, our hands lead guests to an inner healing space, where they relieve their own inner tensions and discomforts.  The basics of wellness will always be reached through human touch, and quality of touch , a strong pillar for a growing industry. 

What’s your connection to Asia?

I moved here and was attracted to the people and after 23 years I still am learning new things every day.  The weather, (originally from Chicago, USA) the ambiance of homes and natures intertwined, the visitors and residents, the dynamic is alive and relevant and inspiring.  Being immersed as an expat has been very rewarding as my new Indonesian family keeps evolving and growing through being open to meeting new people and spending time with Indonesians.   

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?

Bali is my home and over the last 23 years I have watched businesses grow, develop, change and work to sustain in a very international environment.  The tourist change, building and architecture change and there is never a dull moment. I feel very comfortable here and have met amazing people over the years, the business has grown and most rewarding the team has grown, developed and maintains a strong pride in what they do. 

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

Dream big and let your dreams come true. 

Who inspires you?

I find the local people I work with every day are inspiring.  The philosophy here is so focussed on the present; forgetting yesterday, not worrying about tomorrow, just focus on the here and now.  It opens the senses to a new way of being each and every day. The focus on family and appreciating what one has, where they are, reminds me to be present and grateful for the bounty in my own life. 

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?

That lung transplants are becoming more successful though short term and 5-year life expectancies post-surgery are less than with other organ transplants.  A friend’s brother is in need, and by asking “Mr Google” I learned many new facts on the subject. And this can be done each and every day. The internet is amazing. 

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?

I choose not to look back, just go forward.  Everything has happened for a reason and led me to where I am today, which is a great space to be in.  What may seem horrid at the time in the past just opens the way for other paths to emerge.   

How do you unwind?

I still love having a massage and it transports me to a very peaceful inner place and journey where I come out rejuvenated and ‘touched’.  Travel is another way I can re-evaluate where I want to go in the future, wandering aimlessly around new cities, countries, towns just being present and absorbing the world there and then. 

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?

I am very attracted to Japan and all the visits (15+ I believe) have been inspiring, interesting and involved so many kind and wonderful people generating memorable experiences.  Plus, the food and hot springs, natural beauty of the countryside, camping in national parks, I am just in awe. 

Everyone in business should read this book:

Hotel by Arthur Hailey influenced my life years ago and created the first thoughts about a career in hotel and hospitality.  It still makes me smile each time I read it. 

Shameless plug for your business:

Jari Menari is the name of our Massage and Training Center and it translates to “Dancing Fingers”, a name I think is fabulous to describe Bali’s Best Massage, which is what we are.  Every day I hear, “That was the best massage of my life”, from guests post massage and that is the ultimate recognition for how deeply the team touches the body, mind and spirit of our guests.  We have developed the ‘Jari Menari Family’ over the past 18 years and all that have been part of the team, and guests that have had sessions with us, or met us on International Training Programs,  stay connected no matter where in the world they are.   We love our work and being together and that makes the days pretty darn special. 

How can people connect with you?

I can be reached at [email protected] or on WhatsApp.  I enjoy meeting new people so drop a line, e-mail or sms anytime. Facebook and Instagram, I am proud of the Jari Menari sites. And of course, through the web site www.jarimenari.com.

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of two best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

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