Soakology Soaks in Success

Roberta Alexander’s background set her up almost perfectly to be a business owner. With work on Nanik’s franchise division, Window Works, developing training and building relationships between franchisees and the franchisor, her time working on advertising across several industries, and product launches while working for major brands, there couldn’t be a more fitting range of experience. Combined with her love of tea and desire to improve the way people feel, Roberta had all the necessary components to open Soakology in Portland.

In order to get the new business off to a good start, Roberta reached out to SCORE in 2004, prior to opening. Her advisor looked at her business plan and offered some recommendations that were able to make applying for financing easier. With additional assistance from the Portland Economic Development Center and an SBA backed loan with Key Bank, Roberta was able to identify a space for the business and fund the needs of the spa. As sales have grown and Soakology has become more profitable, Roberta has begun thinking of expansion opportunities. With help from Gorham Savings Bank and her SCORE advisor, she has begun developing a franchise model for Soakology and ensuring that the model fits the needs of the SBA Franchise Registry.

The increase in sales has also prompted Soakology to find a new location to accommodate the needs of the teahouse, spa services, and relaxation products. The current location was also set up to serve the needs of franchise training, once the model is fully developed. Development of online sales on Etsy as well as other e-commerce platforms, and changes in operating hours based on analysis of sales data have helped Soakology to remain a fixture in Portland, and weather storms and downturns that otherwise might have ended the business.

Through all the years of Soakology’s operation, Roberta has continued to offer her customers a space to practice relaxation and healthful self-care. Beyond care of her customers, Roberta provides care to her community, in the spirit of many Maine entrepreneurs, with contributions to local initiatives assisting children experiencing food insecurity, the Make a Wish Foundation, winter clothes drives, and many others. With her business growth, her dedication to customers, adaptability in the face of adversity, and support of her community, it is easy to see why Roberta Alexander and Soakology are a true success story for Maine’s entrepreneur community.