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  • Writer's pictureMichael Smith

S1:E7 | Digital Wave Riders | The Renewal of Ahlara International with Scott Flowers

Updated: Jun 13

S1:E7 | Digital Wave Riders | The Renewal of Ahlara International with Scott Flowers

Scott Flower is the newest owner of Ahlara International. A premier spa in Race City USA, Mooresville, NC. In this episode, Scott gives us the story of how he and his wife sound Ahlara, learned about the incredible culture that had been built within it, and learned how to adjust that culture into the digital era.

You can learn more about Ahlara, the services offered, and about its culture at

Full Transcript.

BC Babbles (00:00.374)
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Digital Wave Riders Podcast. I'm joined today by Scott Flowers, who is the newest owner of Ahlara International, a premier spa in the beautiful race city USA, Mooresville, North Carolina. Welcome to the show, Scott.

Scott Flowers (00:15.88)
Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Glad to talk.

BC Babbles (00:18.466)
Thank you for hopping on with me. We are finally enjoying a nice brisk, fall-oriented sunny day in Mooresville. No more overcast, at least for today, which is great. So definitely looking forward to having you on the call today. I would love to first dive in about Ahlara I understand that you and your wife, Anna, are newer owners of the business, but you have a great connection with the founder of the business. And I would love to hear through that connection.

how Ahlara came to be in the Moore's Law area.

Scott Flowers (00:50.464)
Sure. Thanks Brandon. Yeah. So Allora International is a, we call it the premier spa and boutique of Lake Norman. It's got a lot of facets to it and it came about from the founder, Lynn Wiggins. And she founded this 18 years ago and she had this vision of this.

Asian type spa from all her world travels and with a boutique and a yoga studio and that's kind of built into the heart of the building and she built this building 18 years ago and had the business up until this year. And what Lynn liked to do, she traveled all around the world going to a lot of the sacred spots of the world. She's been, she's taken guided trips to Peru and Egypt and Nepal, Tibet.

BC Babbles (01:32.014)

Scott Flowers (01:43.676)
and she brought back authentic pieces from all over the world to help set up this spa. And my wife and I, we moved here in 2015 and is one of the first places my wife kind of found and it helped her in her spiritual journey and she just fell in love with it. So we've been talking for a while and you know, through the pandemic, a spa seemed like a terrible business to own and Lynn fought hard and survived and.

BC Babbles (02:00.645)

Scott Flowers (02:11.812)
And we came back to the table, you know, a year, a year and a half ago, and we've worked it out and we purchased a spa at the very end of April and it's been a wonderful opportunity. We've had just an amazing time getting, learning the business and, and growing in it. And it was, it was basically turnkey for us, you know, Lynn had everything going for 18 years.

BC Babbles (02:27.768)

BC Babbles (02:34.51)
So talk about the prospect of coming upon this business that has its history, it's got a fair amount of kind of seniority in the community and what it was like for you to plan taking on this longstanding business that as you said, survived the pandemic, it still had the capacity to really thrive. So what was your direction when it came to bringing that on as something you would purchase from the owner?

Scott Flowers (02:58.878)

Scott Flowers (03:05.02)
Sure. Well, my wife and I both come from different backgrounds in our careers. My wife's been an industrial designer. She she's worked for Lowe's corporate and Hunter ceiling fans. And she's got a fantastic eye. She actually builds trend reports and things. So she's really strong on the design side and making things look beautiful. I've been in operations for non for profits. Most of my career in education and athletics as well.

I like systems and operations. So we kind of took it on as a two headed team and we both fell naturally into our roles. So that was kind of our focus behind it. And then once we got in and you learned so much more about the actual business, it's got like four mini businesses inside it. So a third of the building is actually spa. So you're looking at.

working with massage therapists, estheticians. We provide a ton of services. Then another third of the building is our boutique. And in our boutique, we sell women's clothes that are just high-end fashion. We have a crystal shop. We also sell a lot of skincare. And that is another business in itself. And then in the heart of the building where it's kind of built around, I think Lynn.

BC Babbles (04:07.138)

Scott Flowers (04:31.528)
built this as the heart of Alar as well, is a studio and classroom that we have tons of teachings every month. We have workshops, we have expos, and then it also functions as a yoga studio as well. So it's got a lot of pieces to it.

BC Babbles (04:33.891)

BC Babbles (04:49.23)
So it's definitely what sounds like a very kind of like one stop shop for quite the spiritual, cultural experience nestled here in Mooresville.

Scott Flowers (04:57.02)
Absolutely, and that's why my wife fell in love with it. It, yeah, it just, it was some place she started coming and then, you know, it was such an easy, easy out for my son and I to buy her gifts. So we would get gift cards, we would find beautiful dresses and we, you know, we'd give her service treatments for Mother's Day and Christmas, all this. And her and Lynn built this relationship. And we, and Lynn, basically we felt like she chose us to say, hey, I'm ready to retire.

BC Babbles (05:00.023)

BC Babbles (05:20.374)

Scott Flowers (05:27.22)
And I want to make sure the business goes on. And we've talked for, again, for years and kind of figured it out. And now we're here.

BC Babbles (05:39.51)
Was there anything in particular that, and just having those conversations with Lynn that she said she really wanted to make sure was maintained over the transition, like any particular elements or ways in which those different cultures were reflected in the design or the operations that you wanted to really focus on as the new business owner?

Scott Flowers (06:03.624)
She built a family here at Ahlara I mean, we have over 20 employees and she wanted them to all maintain their jobs. She loved her team and instantly my wife and I felt really blessed to know how good a team she actually built. Almost everyone has stayed on in the transition. I think one person has left due to retirement, but she created this wonderful family and

BC Babbles (06:19.31)

Scott Flowers (06:31.328)
Now we've kind of step in as the head of it. And she wanted that to continue. That was her biggest concern is that the business, you know, she built this in her. And our kind of retirement type age, and this is her baby. And she's like, I want I want my baby in good hands. And we had we were honored that we were chosen. And hopefully, you know, my wife and I have the expertise to keep it going. But she also was very honest and saying, hey,

I'm done. I'm ready to move on to my next chapter. And it needs a lot of energy in behind it. So my wife and I, as a two-person team, we're trying to do that. And she said it needs fresh blood, it needs new energy, and it needs to go into the 21st century even more of, and that's kind of getting into some of the marketing pieces. You know, we chatted about earlier is how we can do that.

BC Babbles (07:05.599)

BC Babbles (07:22.327)

Scott Flowers (07:30.824)
you know, with being more present on social media and being online more. Because there's not, our boutique's not online yet. And that's something that she wanted us to help drive in the future.

BC Babbles (07:34.971)

BC Babbles (07:45.506)
So yeah, talk a little bit about inheriting that, what the current marketing strategy was for Ahlara and then from there, were what you and Anna decided to be the new direction. What new elements hadn't been touched yet with Ahlara? What new avenues did you want to explore?

Scott Flowers (08:02.364)
Well, if you think about it, I think she built this place back in 2005. So, you know, social media presence probably was just Twitter at the time, maybe. And it's something she didn't have to worry about. And she's done everything over 18 years. You know, she's worked with visitors bureaus in town of Mooresville and, you know, she's done classic flyers and mailers. You know.

BC Babbles (08:11.286)
Not a thing, right?

Scott Flowers (08:30.636)
Email outreach we still work through constant contact a lot. You know we have I think 16,000 people in our database and 10,000 people that we hit weekly with emails. So we have a great outreach and she built that up over the years, built up that clientele. But for us, you know it's can we reach further because being a boutique and a spa. That's not online.

BC Babbles (08:40.683)

Scott Flowers (08:58.396)
in terms of what you sell, your reach is people that can drive here, right? A day's drive. So we do have steady clients all the way from Winston-Salem, surrounding Circle through Charlotte. Let's say an hour radius, but you're narrowing there, right? Where my wife and I wanna dream big and we want our store online where people can buy stuff through a click on Instagram and we can reach.

BC Babbles (09:09.911)

Scott Flowers (09:26.6)
you know, all over the country, if not further.

BC Babbles (09:29.742)
So when it comes to, when it came to you actually diving in and working on new platforms, which is of course a big process. And when it comes to engaging with the app, like either a team or that is outside your company or within your company to develop it, you obviously wanna know the inherent direction that ultimately this platform wants to give off. So talk about...

taking this new business that you have, taking the elements that you understood had to be nurtured and fed through, and then bringing that live to your website or your current platforms.

Scott Flowers (10:12.308)
Okay, so realize that we're still in that stage. I think we've been owners for actually today's date is about four months. I think we're on our, what, say May, June, July, August, September, we're on our fifth month. And it's still a process that we're learning. One of our biggest, our first step, Anne and I said, was to come in, to listen, to learn, don't upset the herd, because they're such a good team here.

BC Babbles (10:21.292)

BC Babbles (10:40.238)
Right? Yeah.

Scott Flowers (10:42.328)
Right? And not rock the boat, but really listen to what we're doing well. What is, and then matching that in step two with our vision of kind of where we want to go. So to be fair, Rainn, we're still learning that. You know, we, one thing that we've done pretty quickly is we've kind of doubled down on social media. We've really.

BC Babbles (10:58.072)

Scott Flowers (11:08.756)
We're working with an outside contractor who helps us create content and does a lot of the posting for itself. And we've doubled down just honestly last week is when we started this new contract. And we're really trying to have that constant presence on Instagram and linking that with Facebook. So the social media presence is one. We've tried some other things. We've done...

flyers with friends and family. We've pushed out some flyers with our new yoga classes, and we've even tried a festival, and just having more of a grassroots feel, you know, meeting people in person and getting out and just showing them what Ahlara does and all it has to offer. So we're still in that phase where we're trying everything, but growing off of what Lynn had success with, again, with our outreach is already over 10,000 people.

We feel confident in what we're doing. But we're still learning the specifics of what can we tweak that's just going to give us more. The bottom line with Mooresville is the dynamic. I've been here since 2015. And it's probably changed threefold since then. So there's people that move here every day. And we have neighbors. We live in a nice community, probably 250 homes.

Scott Flowers (12:36.984)
Even the turnover in there has been so tremendous that people don't know Ahlara. So what we're trying to get is even if we're not your thing, you still know what Ahlara is and stands for, you know, being a premier day spa and a high end boutique. And even if we're not your bag, you still know people that come here. Right. And getting that word out in Mooresville is huge for us.

BC Babbles (13:02.55)
Yeah, I can definitely attest to how much it's changed being here since 04 and just seeing the incredibly dramatic evolution that's happened in this town. And with the turnover rate, I also agree. My own neighbors are kind of flipping out of here every couple of years, so it's crazy. But as you take in all the information from the family that you've inherited and you're kind of assessing this massive landscape that is marketing that's digital communications, is there anything...

Scott Flowers (13:18.75)

BC Babbles (13:31.746)
that gives you pause even when it comes to what new ideas you might wanna look into for the future, what avenues might be either not quite your bag, what doesn't quite fit the brand, the aesthetic of Elora.

Scott Flowers (13:43.712)
Sure, that's a great question because when we first got, when people found out that we were new owners, I was like, man, there's a lot of people that like us and coming to see us. And then it took me a minute to go, oh, people are figuring out this is their chance to sell to us right away. And a lot of it came in marketing companies. And I was like, oh man, I just felt really popular and proud, right? And then I realized, I was like, oh, everybody's trying to get a new client.

BC Babbles (14:01.643)

Scott Flowers (14:13.644)
Um, we have paused on all of that. And I told every single one of those people, I met some really great people right away that I do think can help us. I do think they can help us going forward, but it was understanding. And I put, I just put the pumps on the, on the breaks on saying, listen, we've only been here two or three months. I don't, I don't even know what I don't know yet. We're in our, we're in our listening phase. And when we get into our action phase,

BC Babbles (14:33.826)

Scott Flowers (14:41.756)
And we're really looking to do that the beginning of next year, of working with perhaps some digital marketing companies. We've been approached by several magazines, newsletters. I don't know how much print can still push us forward. Because again, it's one of those that I don't know if people want that in their hands anymore. So I have pumped the brakes on that. We learned a lot about going to the festival already.

BC Babbles (15:00.206)

Scott Flowers (15:10.484)
and being there in person, it's not our bag. We're already bigger than that. And it was fine. Yeah, my wife was disappointed, but I said, oh, I felt great about it because I realized more what we were, and we were already a step above that. Not that we didn't meet some great people in network, but just getting in front of a couple hundred people at a time.

BC Babbles (15:17.047)
I love that.

Scott Flowers (15:38.149)
is something that we're already looking beyond that and how we can grow regionally.

Scott Flowers (15:46.996)
So I'm pumping the brakes on the festivals for a while.

BC Babbles (15:51.278)
That's good. And I love that, excuse me, love that approach though, that you, I think a lot of companies when they're brand new or they've got a brand new set of owners, they want to hit the ground running, which inherently is a great idea when it comes to wanting to make sure business flourishes. But I love the fact that you and Anna were like, wait, hold on, let's gauge everything first. Let's, as you said, let's enter that listening phase. Let's try to assess.

Scott Flowers (16:13.038)

BC Babbles (16:18.278)
what will even work for us? Because obviously, because going off of Lin building this incredible platform and family for you guys and wanting to make sure that you address that properly. I love that you and Anna went for that direction as opposed to just hitting go on everything that came your way.

Scott Flowers (16:20.553)

Scott Flowers (16:34.396)
Yeah, and it's been hard because you want to, you want to do stuff, you want to be really active. And, you know, we still try to be here every single day, one of us at least, where we're meeting new people and we're listening to our clients as well as our employees. And you want to enact change. And to be fair, we're so excited that all our numbers are up from a year ago.

And I can't really take responsibility for it because we've not tried to change too much. What we're trying to do is we're trying to make some of the aesthetic changes where it's just updating things, whether it's new fixtures or paint or new smiles with new clients and then bringing in our people that we know and just growing a LARA still that way. But it has taken discipline because I've wanted to like

Oh, I really want to buy that or I really would love to work with this company. And we said, let's, let's hold on just a little bit until we really understand what we're, what we're getting into.

BC Babbles (17:41.454)
So if you came across somebody who was a similar entrepreneur at a similar stage as yourself and Anna, and they are either planning to, or they have just acquired a new brand, a new entity under them, and they want to hit that super fast speed of let's go, what advice would you give them coming from the angle of, well, take a slower approach, take some time to assess. What kind of thoughts would you give them in regards to?

um, that kind of counter angle than usual.

Scott Flowers (18:15.272)
Sure. I would really encourage people to be patient and to listen. You know, I've landed, my wife and I both landed in this opportunity because we are go-getters and we like to lead. So we are leading, but it's also really, really good leaders. I think listen, you know, and they truly hear, you know,

the good and the bad. When you're excited about something new like this, you're so excited to tell people and to get out there and do it. But it's also, you gotta hear sometimes the harder stuff of what is not perfect. And then we made a list. I would encourage people to make a list and then prioritize the biggest changes because you can't change everything at once.

And we know we're in this for the long haul. This for us is our next 20 years of spending our adult life here and growing a business. And I don't know. I've never done that before. I've been in a lot of non-for-profits that have kind of already been there, and I've never created one brand new. So this is, again, even though I'm not creating a brand new, it's all a new opportunity for me. So I would just encourage people to.

And then prioritize what you want the most of how you, you know, how you want to be aggressive in which facets. And I think, you know, I had dinner last night with a buddy of mine, but he sent his wife in as a client. And I said, how was her trip? And he goes, you want to be honest? I said, yeah. And he gave me the good and the bad. And it's just listening to that.

you know, and wanting honest feedback. So I think that's the hardest part is, and again, not buying everything that you think you need because you could probably function with less. Totally agree with that.

BC Babbles (20:25.742)
agree with that. Now for anyone who have yet to come across a Laura who are either maybe in the race city area or ira del kataba just haven't come across you guys yet and who might come across this episode. What are there any big things coming up with a Laura that you want to kind of share and help promote anything they should be aware of and where can they learn about those things?

Scott Flowers (20:47.168)
Okay, great. The biggest thing we're pushing right now, one of our biggest marketing pushes is our yoga studio. We offer 15 classes a week and we are a full studio and there's not one on this side of town. There used to be and it didn't survive during the pandemic. And people want it here because I know there was one on this side of town and people, that's been their biggest complaint. A lot of people drive to the other side of Mooresville.

BC Babbles (20:58.007)

Scott Flowers (21:16.852)
There's a great studio there, even Cornelius, but we wanna be on this side of 117, we wanna be the best yoga studio in town that people wanna come to. So that's one of our biggest pushes now. And yoga was here probably a decade ago and it slowly faded away. So this is brand new. It's only been back here for a month today actually. And we're proud of that and really gonna double down and just hold our guns on building a yoga studio.

BC Babbles (21:32.974)

Scott Flowers (21:45.464)
One of the biggest things we do is we offer a lot of classes. I mean, I'm looking, we offer 18 classes just in the month of October, not counting the yoga, not counting the yoga classes. So these are spiritual classes, teachings, sound baths, all sorts of great healing opportunities for people. And then and then we do something quarterly. And when you have one coming up this next month is we call them Laura Expos, where we have 12.

BC Babbles (21:53.399)

Scott Flowers (22:14.88)
I think 12 different teachers and healers that come. And those days, that's on Saturday, October 28th. And Ahlara is bumping when we have those. We'll get hundreds of people. Yeah, we'll get hundreds of people come to the door. It's a great shopping day. We usually offer some sales around it. But yeah, I think once people come in and actually check it out, they're always blown away. They're like, I had no idea this was here. Because it's a big place. It's 7,500 square feet.

BC Babbles (22:26.478)
Very nice.

BC Babbles (22:45.11)
Oof, nice.

Scott Flowers (22:45.3)
And yeah, we're a big standalone spa. And when people go through the doors, like, oh wow, how did I not know this was here? And our customer return rates really, really high. So once people kind of go, yeah, once people come and check it out, they usually become lifelong clients.

BC Babbles (22:58.642)
Awesome, that's great for you guys.

BC Babbles (23:05.878)
And where can they find you online? On websites, social media, where can they find you?

Scott Flowers (23:09.66)
Yeah, we're at Ahlara International dot com and I know Ahlara is kind of a unique name. It's A-H-L-A-R-A Ahlara and we're on Instagram, Facebook's Ahlara International, our Instagram is at Ahlara International 11 and that's where you can find everything. Our website's got so much on it. It's got classes, all the spa services and even a lot of the boutique.

BC Babbles (23:35.074)
All right, well thank you for joining me this morning on, well this afternoon I should say, on Digital Wave Writer Scott. I really appreciate you joining me and I would be happy to have you on the show again 100%.

Scott Flowers (23:46.596)
Oh, fantastic. Yeah, I would love to. I work with another organization as well called Fox Soccer Academy. And that's something new and fresh and everybody's getting excited about it. So yeah, I would love to come back and maybe chat about that sometime.

BC Babbles (24:01.474)
We may have to talk about that in the future 100%.

Scott Flowers (24:04.54)
All right. Thanks, sir.

The Renewal of Ahlara International with Scott Flowers
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