Meet Regina Shultz Boysen. The creative force behind Bali’s first spa.
We have been friends for over 30 years and both of us are the daughters of Diplomats. How did that influence your life?
I was born in Germany but grew up in Paris, Italy and had many years in Washington DC, where my father was the German ambassador to the United States. I was able to learn different cultures and languages from an early age. Travelling was a way of life I was fortunate to be born into. By eighteen I was travelling on my own. At nineteen, I studied art history at the University of Bonn for two years. I spent time in north Thailand working with Laotian refugees. After that experience I came to Bali and have lived here since then.
You were one of the first expats to lease land and build in the Seminyak area. I remember we would all come to use your shower after the beach. You had hot water!
I would pay anything to have just one day when Bali was our Paradise. When we used the coconut wireless to stay connected instead of phones and every one was on bikes, motorbikes or walking. Our small community was like a big family from the beach to Ubud. Our lives were simple and happy. By the 90’s that era was over. Everyone had electric, telephones and parabolas. We had children. I had my son Siran in 1988, and my daughter Akasha in 1991.
What inspired you to conceive the idea of Bodyworks?
I was a working mother. After working all day it was difficult to arrange a massage. There were no salons that catered to western needs. In 1994 we opened Bodyworks across from Krakatoa, a business centre where we got our mail and had access to communications and office services and a French café. We took over a factory and renovated it. For the first time in Bali we could enjoy massages off the beach. I manifested the needs of the community and myself. People could walk in from 9am until evening for a massage in rooms with large tubs for hot relaxing baths and have all their grooming needs met. Bodyworks started with a staff of five people. I had to train people to do beauty techniques for all races and cultures. The business took off within six months. Eighty percent of our customers were Japanese and to this day I am grateful for their patronage. The Spa went from employing five people to employing over forty people. I have been fortunate to enjoy an ongoing partnership with my friend, an Indonesian national. We outgrew the initial venue and after a few years of design and construction we moved to our current location near Petitenget Temple on the beach in 1999.
What are your thoughts on the massive amount of spas and salons in Bali now?
I think it has become part of the appeal of Bali. Competition keeps the quality up and creates a more diverse market. It is frustrating when spas use the name Bodyworks, like the one in Ubud, which has nothing to do with us. There is only one Bodyworks. I was constantly offered business opportunities to expand and even franchise Bodyworks, but I declined because I wanted to maintain the quality of our services which is only maintained by being personally involved in all aspects of the business, from selecting the music playlist, buying the products we sell and training staff. That is what keeps our services special. We have a diverse, dedicated clientele. They include Tyra Banks and Susan Sarandon among other celebrities, super models and even sports figures, who come for our unique, special healing massages. People book months in advance from all over the world. We have special services for entire wedding parties and hairdressers who specialize in men’s haircuts. Bodyworks services men and women of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.
So now that you are established and your children are at University, are you able to take more time to travel?
I never stopped travelling, but yes; now I can spend more time doing so. This summer I travelled to places out of Bali such as Lombok, Flores and Sumba with my children and last year I was in Borneo and Sumatra twice. I love Indonesia. Each island has its own culture, art and geography. It’s amazing. During monsoon I visit Akasha in Hawaii and Siran in California, and we usually go skiing in Aspen or Vail, Colorado. Then I come back and am off to India and sometimes Europe; Germany and Amsterdam.
What do you think about all the changes in Bali? How can we properly sustain such growth?
It is sad to see the changes. I am worried about the direction it is taking and the impact the growing infrastructure has on the environment. My hope is that the Balinese and the expats living here can work towards a clean and sustainable future, maintaining the traditions of reverence for nature and beauty, which make up the Balinese culture. I see good changes as well, so many great causes addressed by expats and locals with such compassion. Actions taken to improve the lives of the impoverished and the handicapped, and a strong movement towards clean and green. Bali is the perfect place to set an example using non-invasive natural energy sources. It would boost eco tourism and create a more balanced economic society.
I totally agree! Community and compassion are the answer, along with a shift in consciousness. So can you get me in for a massage and bubble bath later today?
Of course! But I’ll have to call and see if I can book it. Even I have to make appointments for myself these days!
Thanks Regina! To get in touch, call Bodyworks at +62 (0) 361 733317.