Nguyet “Vikki” Howard

Vikki worked in chiropractic clinics, long-term care facilities and other community organizations providing healing through massage therapy. After graduating with her social work degree, she decided to open her own massage business, Skillful Touch Massage, to continue helping people dealing with physical and mental pain while having her own space and the freedom to set her own schedule.

The demand for her services rapidly increased, and then the pandemic hit. Like many others in the service industry, her business was immediately impacted. “This pandemic has hit women the hardest, especially those in the service industry. My business had an immediate client drop off and was closed for a few months due to safety and uncertainty concerns,” shared Vikki.

Eventually, Vikki’s clients started reaching out to her again as they knew she was very careful and kept her space clean and orderly. She also researched and developed a cleaning regimen by moving fabric chairs and rugs out of rooms, using biodegradable sanitizing products, masks and gloves, and allowing more time between clients.

Through LiftFund, Vikki received relief funding to make pivots and reopen her business. “LiftFund has allowed me to have a sense of security in a world where COVID-19 upended so many lives. With support from LiftFund, I had access to capital to invest in

equipment, tools and more clinical massage training and marketing courses to help me be more successful,” reflected Vikki.

Vikki’s words of encouragement for her peers are to “learn to toot your own horn. Speak up and ask for business to let people know you exist. Providing value to our clients is what counts and keeps us going. We have a gift and need to share that gift with others and be glad that we have the opportunity to do so.”