We talked to: Body Zen

We recently spoke to BZ Catalano of Body Zen. Her holistic skincare and ayurvedic bodywork business is a wonderful addition to downtown Northampton. Find out what she had to say!

How long have you been in business and what made you decide to start this business?

I graduated from massage in 2004. When you get licensed as a massage therapist,  you can hang your shingle as soon as you get your certificate. Initially, I worked for a couple of other businesses, then a great opportunity came up for me to start BodyZen on the North Shore in 2007. At that time, it was strictly for massage. I then went on to complete esthetics training. As an esthetician, you must be supervised for 2 years before upgrading your license to be able to offer your own services.  So I waited a couple years before incorporating esthetics into my business. I made a play on my nickname, BZ, for BodyZen, which not a lot of people realize. When I was initially just offering massage, I wanted to bring people into a space where they feel good in their bodies--where they can find their zen. Then I broadened my offerings and decided to keep the name. I started my business because I love helping people. I love education and I try to make sure that whenever my clients come in, they understand why I’m putting a certain thing on their face. Or if they are looking for a particular service, I want to make sure that the service I’ve chosen will help them in that particular moment. I want them to feel like they are part of the process as opposed to me just doing something to them, and also help them understand how they can take some of those tools and use them at home between appointments with me. And because I do a bit more of an apothecary-style facial, I can mix different ingredients depending on a client’s needs. Are they dry? Do they need more exfoliating? Is the summer heat causing them to produce more oil? I can cater to their individual needs each time, based on what is going on with their skin due to stress, diet, or effects from change of season. I also like to educate my clients on how products impact the environment, and help them understand their skincare routine from a holistic perspective.

What do you love most about the local business community?

One thing I noticed when I first went through Northampton was that it reminded me of some of the best parts of Cambridge. There are so many wonderful proprietors I’ve met who are  very friendly and always happy to chat. I think it’s an amazing place because there’s a community of people that are interested in caring for the well-being of residents and visitors alike. My husband Mike and I moved out here because we love this community and recognized that there’s a need for the types of services that I offer at BodyZen. Much of what I offer is complementary to other great holistic practitioners in the area. This really allows me to be part of an established and respected network in Northampton.

What do you love/appreciate most about Northampton in general?

I really love the fun vibe. I like that it’s a college town because I’m accustomed to that similar vibe from living in Cambridge, where I was surrounded by Harvard, Harvard Law,  MIT, Lesley, and other schools. It continues to create and encourage vibrancy when you have a lot of youth in the area. I also really love to spend my money locally so getting to try numerous restaurants with my husband is fantastic. There are plenty of vegan options, which is great for us as we are both vegan. My husband Mike loves coffee, so there are so many options that we really enjoy. Familiars is great and they offer delicious vegan pastries, sandwiches, and really good coffee. We also became members of River Valley Co-op and it’s nice to be a part of that. And of course, I always get so excited to shop at the Tuesday Market, which has wonderful fresh produce, flowers, and Laughing Tomato Pizza!

What positive changes do you see happening in Northampton?

I have been super appreciative of Northampton.live and how you guys are shining a light on all the different things on offer in Northampton--everything you need really is available in your own backyard. I recognize that it’s hard  work to keep everyone informed about all of the businesses and current events, and it’s really helping to create more of a cohesive community. Community is more than going out and buying things--it’s also about being willing to chat with others and let each other know when you discover something awesome and encourage them to check it out. Even though there are businesses closing, others are coming in and offering new and different things. And I love that people are willing to put out a hand and support each other. When I lived in Cambridge, I got so much business through Yelp, so now I’m really trying to create more of a community of people I can connect to by collaborating and trading services. Collaboration is where you can reach a much broader audience, as you have someone to vouch for you and you can vouch for them in return.

Are there any upcoming events you are excited about?

One big thing is that on Sunday, Sept 8th, I’m doing a Caring for your Senses workshop upstairs in Yoga Sanctuary’s large studio. For this workshop, I’m collaborating with Cornucopia, which I’m super excited about, as I’ve known both Nate and Jade for years from living in Cambridge at the same time.  It’s $15 for the workshop, but you are going home with a great goodie bag, which Cornucopia will provide. And this fall, I will be doing more continuing education by learning Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymphatic Drainage for the head and neck. I also hope to offer another Gua Sha workshop in November after I return from my training.

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