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Meet Castle Frame of Castle Frame Massage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Castle Frame.

Hi Castle, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I was going to Ohio University in Athens, OH (where I am originally from), and after the end of my freshman year I realized I wanted to go to Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio to study Massage Therapy. I was incredibly lucky with my instructors, Jeanie Faulkner and Mark Cullen. They taught me everything I know, including how to run a successful business through their history of owning their own practices. After I graduated, I ended up moving to Durham with my now wife to live in a city where being a woman entrepreneur is embraced. I waitressed the first year while I was studying for my NC Massage License and eventually ended up working at a local wellness center, where I gained experience and even more gratitude for the field I was in. A couple of years went by and I was feeling very antsy to expand from being a Massage Therapist to a total Girl Boss. I have an amazing clientele that I could brag about all day, and they are how I got to where I am right now.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has absolutely not been a smooth road, and that is how I continue to learn and be better. As someone with test anxiety, it was really difficult for me to take the long, multiple choice exam to become licensed. It was definitely discouraging because I knew how skilled I truly was so I want to take this opportunity to tell those who may be in this same situation to not give up and “you got this.”

Also, learning how to run a business in general is incredibly overwhelming when you start. There was so much that went into the day-to-day operations that I hadn’t considered beforehand. Thank goodness my wife, Lauren McCullough, has a background working with startups. She is 100% the COO behind Castle Frame Massage.

Remembering I am capable is something I remind myself every other day, because most of the time Imposter Syndrome creeps its way in and tries to convince me this isn’t really “me”. I think this is common among most young female entrepreneurs, which is why we all gotta stick together.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a licensed massage therapist specializing in Deep Tissue, Trigger Points, and Ayurvedic modalities. I pay special attention to ensure every massage is individualized for the specific needs. Early in my career, I recognized the importance of understanding each client’s preferences and how to work with their body (and spirit) during a session.

I am very proud to always make sure it is known how safe of an environment my clients are in. No matter the race, sexuality, gender, etc. Castle Frame Massage is a place of body positivity and making everyone feel as comfortable as possible.

Usually I am on a 30-60 day waiting list, and because of that I have become more and more eager to expand. My wife and I are currently seeking a space in Durham for what will become Auroraflow Massage, an inclusive, woman-forward spa that is reimagining wellness. There is a lot happening behind the scenes, and Lauren and I are super excited to start making announcements this summer & fall so we can involve the community in our journey.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Having a strong network of entrepreneurs (and mentors) has been my rock. From the beginning, I was fortunate to have amazing instructors that are a great resource. I have also been able to get some great advice from other small business owners in the Durham community. With that said, I can’t say enough about the support of my family, especially my dad. He has always been an amazing mentor and taught me the importance of hard work and dedication.

Pre-pandemic, I was going to a lot of networking events. Getting yourself out there to be successful is very important. It was intimidating at first because it was all so new to me. It may start with walking into the event with internal nerves and a fake smile, but, hey, even getting one business card out and possibly a handshake is totally great. Eventually, I started to make connections around the triangle and found many women I looked up to. That gave me even more drive to succeed.

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