From darkness to ‘insight’ with Tamika Curruthers
The trumpeting start of Etana’s I Rise filled the soothing space, only to be interrupted by these five words: ‘Emerald Gifted Hands. Good afternoon.’ A pleasant Tamika Curruther could be heard often echoing this welcoming refrain on her cell phone line when Outlook recently visited her spa and wellness centre on Carvalho Drive in Kingston.
Curruthers beamed with pride as she spoke highly about the business she established over seven years ago. But the inspiring entrepreneur traversed the dark road of despair before gathering insight and ultimately seeing the light.
She explained in her recent interview that 12 years ago, she was blindsided by a wrongful diagnosis. This consequently caused a stroke, leaving her with life-changing side effects.
“The hospital thought I had meningitis and I got a medication that caused a stroke, damaged my optic nerves, as well as my hearing in the left ear. It also affected my scent and taste buds. I can’t smell everything and can only taste salt and pepper: I cannot taste flavours,” she revealed.
At the time of this unfortunate event, Curruthers was studying to be a nurse. The then 22-year-old was forced to forego that field in order to explore other options. There was no suitable job next to nursing that she loved. Until she discovered Plan B, her true calling: massage therapy. She enjoys earning an honest income and having her independence, but moreseo, she loves caring for others and alleviating their ailments.
Her trek into the flexible world of massage therapy has so far been a fun, exciting journey.
“I love this job,” she expressed with merriment in her voice, noting that she is driven by passion and determined to be successful.
The balancing act, however, between therapist and business ownership has proven to be a difficult feat. Starting out alone, Curruthers would give out free back massages on a chair. After that, she got a job at HEART Academy, working there part-time for four years, while operating and maintaining her mobile therapy. And before she knew it, she was broadening her business horizons, branching out into her own place to set up shop.
Currently, Emerald Gifted Hands Spa and Wellness Centre, offers a wide variety of services, including facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, different types of body massages, reflexology, and trigger-point therapy. She has on her employment rooster, her daughter, along with two other visually impaired person. Only blind persons, she says. Conduct massages, which she finds is beneficial because women are more comfortable baring it all without being seen naked. She also felt that it was extremely important to provide job opportunities for person of this particular disability because she knows all too well what it was like to be unemployed. “No one wanted to hire me. I remember applying for a job and I didn’t get it because I was seen more as a liability than an asset. So, I started this business to help others, like me, tap into their gift and reach their full potential,” she said. In addition, she created her own line of skincare products, using them on clients and offering them for purchase.
Business, she revealed, has been amazing, so far, and she credits Gustazos for setting up the ideal platform for getting the word out there, and providing a deal for customers.
When she isn’t living her passion out loud, the mother of five, remains active in the home caring for her four boys – ages 16, 14, 11 and eight –and one girl, aged 18. Trained as chef at HEART between 2005-2006, she still cooks their favourite dishes for them. She also washes and irons for them, and with help from her children, has even reversed the car out of the house.
Her eldest, Teshell Beckford, works with her at the spa. Describing her daughter as a focused individual who knows what she wants, she shared that after finishing high school, Beckford has since been assisting me here at the spa with me full-time, doing facial, make-up, waxing – which she doesn’t like, as well as manicure, and pedicure. Of course, her mother, being the consummate professional, pays her daughter for all her hard work. She also disclosed hat Beckford has done a course in administration and contact centre, which has helped tremendously with the business. Now she is expressing interest in learning massage therapy, after stepping in on a ‘four-hand’ massage in Curruthers’ absence. So the plan is to teach her daughter and send her to get certification at HEART.
Beckford had this to say about her mother: “She inspires me in many ways. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she has made something of herself. She has created her own products and that motivates me to make my own as well. Overall, she inspires me to be just like her.”
Curruthers has now added author to her professional belt, writing her book, From Darkness to Light.
“In darkness for 22 years, I am now seeing the light. And after going through so much, you see who loves from who doesn’t and you can pick up a person by just taking to them.”
As the only blind therapist in Jamaica to own a spa, her advice to those in the blind community is to never give up.
“Make yourself independent. We have to use our challenges as stepping stones. Giving up is too easy. You just have to press on.”
For more information on how to sign up for services at Emerald Gifted Hands Spa and Wellness Centre, you can visit them at 14A Carvalho Drive, Kingston 10, or call: (876) 820-3874.