When Seymour Koblin started his career in alternative medicine in the late 1970s, the industry was inundated with sensitive hippies eager to bring instant gratification to the masses via a soothing massage. Two decades-plus later, and the circumstances have certainly changed and Koblin couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.
“It’s all grown into a more mainstream holistic medical arts,” said Koblin, founder and owner of the School of Healing Arts in Pacific Beach. “You have to know more than just the body and bone and what feels good at the moment, you have to know behaviors and be able to read the client to really make a difference in their well-being.”
Koblin started his small business in 1990 after working for three years at the Institute of Health Science, which Koblin briefly took over and then closed to make way for the new school.
Since opening in 1990, the school has grown from barely 1,000 square feet to more than 9,000 square feet, complete with classroom space and treatment rooms.
Students come for a variety of reasons, Koblin said. Most seek certifications for jobs in spas, home-based businesses and other venues, while others come simply to learn more about alternative medicine. But Koblin said that the number of students enrolling out of curiosity had dwindled in recent years because fewer people are willing to travel in traffic to make it to class in time.
Another significant challenge to Koblin’s business has been changes in the amount of study hours required by the city to award students with trade licenses. Koblin said that when he started, students had to log 110 hours, but that number has since crept up to 500, making it less appealing to those just curious about the art form.
Name: Seymour Koblin.
Company: School of Healing Arts.
Address: 1001 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach.
Phone: (858) 581-9429.
Prior business experience: Ten years as an instructor in New York and three years as dean of the Institute of Health Sciences (bought out to found School of Healing Arts).
Average hours worked weekly: 40.
Source of startup capital: Credit.
2004 revenue: $1 million.
2003 revenue: $1 million.
Number of employees: 20.
Web site: www.soharts.com.
Birthplace: Manitoba, Canada.
Education: NYC Oriental, alternative medicine training, 1978-1987.
Current home: San Diego.
Family: Son, Miles Koblin, age 15.
Hobbies: Music/drums/composer, dance, skateboarding.
Reason for getting into business: Share my discoveries of natural healing with mainstream society.
How I plan to grow the business: Launch national and international schools.
Biggest plus of business ownership: Respected base for initiating global outreach.
Biggest drawback: Having a responsibility to many different people.
Biggest business strength: Versatile curriculum that satisfies a wide variety of public needs.
Biggest business weakness: Capital to expand into needed markets.
Biggest risk: Being accepted into different markets/locations.
Smartest business decision: Delegate administrative roles to qualified employees.
Biggest business mistake: No mistakes/failures, just feedback.
Toughest career decision: Start the school.
Biggest ongoing challenge: Communication.
The most important part of my business: Inspiring the path of health.
My business works best when: People are communicating their needs and working with devotion to resolve drama and be in their dreams.
Best way to stay competitive: Offer unique, creative classes.
How I measure success: Happiness of all participants.
Goals yet to be achieved: National/international affiliates hold workshop classes on sacred sites.
My five-year business plan: Expansion to other locations.
I would sell my business only if: Illness, wouldn’t.
Guiding principles I will continue to follow: Follow my heart’s desires and let the universe work out the details.