This entrepreneur ‘indulges’ in experimentation

by George Jared ([email protected]) 517 views 

NEA Outstanding Business of the Year Award
Body Indulgence Spa and Boutique
Small Business award

Jaime Eakle King knew exactly what she wanted to do when she went to college. Solving murders intrigued her so she majored in criminology. There was only one problem: She didn’t like the sight of blood and gore.

After school, she shifted gears and decided she wanted to become an entrepreneur, she told Talk Business & Politics. Her business, Body Indulgence Spa and Boutique, has been selected as the Talk Business & Politics Northeast Arkansas Outstanding Business of the Year winner in the Small Business category. The award is presented by QualChoice.

“I purchased it Aug. 1, 2010,” she said. “After about two months of contemplating it, I just jumped.”

A 1995 Jonesboro High School graduate, King moved to California after she graduated from Arkansas State University. She moved back to the Natural State in 2008 as the Great Recession loomed.

One thing that King knew from history when the economy turns bad is that certain industries weather bad economic times better than others. During the Great Depression, three businesses continued to relatively thrive — alcohol, tobacco and the beauty industry. She sold skin care products after her return from California, and that’s how she became acquainted with Body Indulgence. When she bought the business, it consisted of four massage rooms.

Through the years, she steadily added more masseuses and changed locations. At each spot, she added more rooms and grew her clientele. She recently built a building that has 24 rooms with about 30 workers.

Massage has been the primary business she has operated during the past 12 years, but it’s not the only one. She added facial services early on and then manicures and pedicures.

Some friends had a boutique and were looking for space about six years ago. King had some available so part of the business morphed into a boutique. When the friends decided to get out of the business, King decided to keep it. Now, she was selling clothes and other items.

Another change came in 2018 when she added salon services.

“I’m crazy,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t sit still. I love to develop a project. I love to watch it grow.”

One overarching idea that King has had is a one-stop shop concept where customers can spend a relaxing afternoon getting a massage, their hair done, and all the other services under one roof.

Part of that vision is her next expansive project. Unwind at Body Indulgence will be a venue type space where food and alcohol will be served. She wants to host unique events such as having a true crime author come and give a talk during a dinner hosted there. For Valentine’s Day, she might offer packages that include massages, food, champagne and others for couples.

“We want it to be a full salon experience. Our whole focus is the experience. We want our customers to unwind,” she said.

Contractors are slated to finish the venue space in November. King said it’s gratifying to see her businesses grow. What many don’t realize is that it takes many years of long hours, hard work, trial-and-error, and surviving failures to make a successful business flourish, she said.

Despite the work, King said she wouldn’t change a thing.

“I absolutely love it,” she said. “It never feels like work.”