Jasmin shows resilience to establish a thriving venture

Forensic anthropology graduate Jasmin J Sanjurgo is an accomplished complementary therapist but has had to battle a debilitating illness and crises of confidence to establish her Liverpool business. Tony McDonough reports

Jasmin J Sanjurgo
Jasmin J Sanjurgo, founder of Liverpool-based Karuna Wellbeing Ltd


Such is Jasmin J Sanjurgo’s ongoing commitment to delivering excellence in her work that when she won a Therapist of the Year award in June her immediate instinct was that she shouldn’t have won it.

The founder of Liverpool-based Karuna Wellbeing Ltd, which offers clients a range of complementary therapies, said: “When I won the award my first thought was ‘I don’t deserve this’. I always want to do better for my clients and I worry about whether I am always reaching the standards that I aspire to.”

However, despite her own wobbles when it comes to self-confidence in her abilities, Jasmin’s journey to becoming a wellbeing entrepreneur is one that speaks of her strength, courage and resilience.

Growing up in Widnes, she originally pivoted towards a career in forensic science, graduating from university with a degree in forensic anthropology. But then a debilitating illness put the brakes on any career plans she may have had.

“I was bedbound for 12 months,” said Jasmin. “I was classed as disabled. Doctors were just giving me medication to help alleviate the condition but I didn’t feel anything was being done to get me better and on my feet again.

“I started looking around for alternative therapies. There are lots of places offering various things but that was very much aimed at the lifestyle market, spa days etc. There were very few options within my local community for therapeutic treatments. It was a tough time. I was having operations but there didn’t seem to be an end to it.”

Fortunately, there was a way out. With the help of her sister, Jasmin enrolled on a course to learn how to deliver complementary therapies such as aromatherapy, reflexology and Swedish massage. For Jasmin, the experience was transformational.

She explained: “It was such a change for me. By using the therapies I was able to get myself off the medication that I had been taking for so long. I was back up and running. There was a time I could barely wash myself and now, here I was, out and about again.”

After successfully completing the course Jasmin took a job at a spa in Southport, where she stayed for four months. However, she found the experience frustrating. She had no control over the treatments that were being offered and wasn’t being given the opportunity to work on her initiative.

She also worked for another business in Croxteth in north Liverpool for two years but ultimately found that experience equally frustrating and yearned for an environment where she could control how she wanted to treat her clients.

“I started looking around close to my own home in south Liverpool,” said Jasmin. “There wasn’t a lot on offer so I thought this was an opportunity to work for myself. Someone suggested I approach The Women’s Organisation in Liverpool for help.

“So in December 2018 I started working with my business advisor there, Jo Mountfort, who was a fantastic help. She helped me put together a business plan and in early 2019 I started looking around for premises. Initially, I didn’t have much success but then I found a room at the back of a hair salon in Aigburth Road.”

Jasmin started to build up her client base, working out of the salon for seven months. But then the pandemic hit and, like so many other businesses, she found herself dealing with a huge once-in-a-generation challenge.

In May 2020, the salon closed down for good leaving Jasmin without a home for her business. It knocked her confidence again but her old resilience kicked in and she rose again, finding a premises in Garston that she set about converting. There was a plan to start employing people, but doubts crept back in.

Jasmin J Sanjurgo
Jasmin with her Prestige award
A treatment room at Karuna Wellbeing Ltd in Liverpool


She said: “I looked around at what some other therapists were doing and I just didn’t have the confidence they would deliver the therapies to the same standard that I aspire to. I didn’t want to hand over established clients to people I felt weren’t going to give them the service they deserve.

“My approach is holistic. It is not just about individual therapy. It is about focusing on the whole person. The atmosphere, the music, the whole approach has to be right. I have clients who have cancer, mental health problems and other challenges and I want to make sure they get the very best treatment possible when they come to us.”

Jasmin turned once again to Jo Mountfort at The Women’s Organisation. The award-winning charity is also the delivery vehicle for the Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub programme which offers support to start-up or early-stage businesses.

“I restarted my meetings with Jo and she helped me to build my confidence back up. We are now looking to rent out a second room and I am embarking on a training programme to make sure we maintain our standards.

“I have still have my wobbles. I was on antidepressants for a short time in February this year. I was anxious about delivering therapies online during lockdown. I was struggling to see how it would work and having panic attacks. But I looked around and realised I was not alone. The pandemic has had a huge impact on peoples’ mental health.”

Once again, with Jo’s support, Jasmin worked through the challenges and introduced successful online initiatives such as ‘Meditation Mondays’ and ‘Check-in Wednesdays’ where she would make sure her clients were doing ok.

Her efforts were rewarded in June when she was one of the recipients of the Manchester and North West Prestige Awards 2020/21. They celebrate small and medium-sized enterprises, localised businesses and sole traders that have thrived in their highly competitive community and have proven their success.

Over the past year 2,188 nominations were received by the awards team at Prestige Awards by industry experts, readers, and satisfied customers. For Jasmin to win an accolade is a significant achievement.

“I’m feeling really excited about the future,” she added. “The award was such a surprise. One of the judges told me how impressed they were how I had kept in touch with clients right through the pandemic. Not many therapists did that.

“We reopened the clinic in April and, because of the ongoing uncertainty over the relaxing of the restrictions, I have still had a few wobbles. But things are looking up. We have a couple of new therapists joining us and we are also offering a helping hand to Liverpool brands by selling their products at our clinic.

“What the last 18 months has taught us all is that anything can happen and we have to be ready to face challenges in life. I’ve been proud to be able to say to my clients right through this period that if they need support all they have to do is pick up the phone. We are stronger when we work together.”

Jo Mounfort from The Women’s Organisation added: “Working with Jasmin from the start of her journey has been an absolute privilege and pleasure. She has always shown resilience and determination especially navigating her own health issues whilst doing it.

“Starting a business isn’t easy and these past 18 months have been challenging but Jasmin always manages to push through and get back on her feet. I’m thrilled she has had the recognition she deserves.”

If you are thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool city region or have a new business under three years old, you can speak to the Enterprise Hub team via enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113. Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and is free to access.

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