With Sveta’s, dream becomes reality for russian immigrant.

With Sveta’s, dream becomes reality for Russian immigrant. At 21, Sveta Yakubovich felt like she hadn’t done anything with her life.

At 30, the possibilities looked endless.

And today at 41, she can say she’s accomplished quite a bit without yet being satisfied. She has a thriving business – Sveta’s in Bradley Fair – a happy marriage and two children.

“I feel like I can do anything,” she said.

It’s a world apart from the future that seemed laid out before in her native Russia.

Yakubovich grew up in Nizhny Novgorod, the former Gorky and the fifth largest city in Russia.

After Mikhail Gorbachev ushered in the glasnost era, one of Yakubovich’s aunts made her way to Wichita, with help from the Mid-­‐Kansas Jewish Federation. Yakubovich wanted to go as well, but life got in the way for a while. She married, graduated from college and got pregnant.

Yakubovich worked as a physical education teacher.

But she couldn’t afford a nice pair of shoes, couldn’t travel, and saw no hope of advancement in Russia for herself or her son. And when a stranger’s comment on a bus drove home the reality of discrimination against Jews in her homeland, Yakubovich made the decision to emigrate.

“Here I felt like you could have a job and a normal life,” she said.

She arrived in 1993 with $500 and two suitcases to her name. She spoke no English. She had a 6-­‐month-­‐old son, Misha. She received public and private aid.

Her teaching degree from Russia meant nothing here. But she was able to put to use the massage training she’d received while earning that degree. “In Russia, massage is a huge part of sports training,” she said.

She worked as a masseuse in what was then the Wichita Racquet Club, now Genesis.

She communicated with flash cards and phrases learned from customers, all of which she practiced in front of the mirror and with fellow Russian immigrants.

She still remembers one of the first ones: “Please lie back with your head on the table.”

She took English classes at Butler Community College and acupuncture classes at the Kansas College of Chinese Medicine. She absorbed everything she could from customers, who often became friends and mentors.

When one of them, Bradley Fair developer George Laham, suggested she open a spa in his upscale shopping center, Yakubovich said her first reaction was: “Are you insane?”

She opened Sveta’s in 2000.

“I didn’t know that every third business fails, which is good,” she said.

She started with five employees. She gradually added services – facials, pedicures and manicures, waxing, chemical peels and makeup.

Like every business dependent on discretionary spending, Sveta’s saw a significant downturn in the 2008 recession. But it survived, and in 2010 it expanded into the space next door, going from five rooms and 1,100 square feet to 10 rooms and 2,200 square feet. Today more than 20 people work for Yakubovich, most on a part-­‐time basis, which she said is the norm in the industry.

The spa has a couples room and, thanks to its overall size, can accommodate large parties and special events. Prices range from $25 for a basic manicure or waxing up to

$367 for the Imperial Package – deluxe massage, facial, pedicure and manicure. The average customer spends about $80.

She said her clientele is about evenly split between men and women, with men getting the majority of massages and women the other services.

Yakubovich sells a line of skin and body products with her name on them that are made by a Canadian company. A letter campaign has gotten her featured in trade publications such as DaySpa magazine.

Yakubovich said she thinks she’s succeeded by growing slowly, in response to customer demand for services, and avoiding fads “that come and go.”

She puts a big emphasis on personalized service, urging her staff to remember whether a customer prefers bottled water before or after a massage, for instance. Little bags of candy are set out for customers around the spa, and Yakubovich confesses to being a stickler for cleanliness.

The opportunity she sought as a teenager has become a reality. Her son, Misha, is a student at the University of California. Her daughter, Masha, is 10 – “my obsession,” she said.

Her husband, Simon, works as a massage therapist at Wichita Country Club.

She seems to appreciate freedom in the way that perhaps only somebody who’s lived without can.

“Here you can do anything,” Yakubovich said. “You don’t have to be super-­‐smart here. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. You just have to have determination.”

The Wichita Eagle

Sveta’s Skin & Body Therapy to Double in Size at Bradley Fair

WICHITA — A decade after opening at Bradley Fair, Sveta Yakubovich is doubling the size of her Sveta’s Skin & Body Therapy.

“We’re still keeping . . . who we are,” she says. “It’s just kind of time to grow.” Part of the reason with the timing is because Zumo Juice will be leaving its space.

Sveta’s has 1,000 square feet and will now have 2,200 square feet with the Zumo space. Construction starts in October, and the business will remain open during the expansion.

The additional space will allow for double bookings for, say, a mother and daughter who might like to schedule appointments at the same time.

“We’re turning down lots of business like that,” Yakubovich says. “That would add, I think, a lot.”

She’ll also have a larger room for training employees and offering clients classes for things such as couples massage.

The reception area also will be larger, and there will be a private relaxation area for clients to use between services.

Spangenberg Phillips Tice is the project architect. Key Construction is the contractor. Sveta’s expansion is one of several new things happening at Bradley Fair.

LBD, etc., a women’s clothing boutique, and Carla’s Love It, a clothing and gift store, recently opened. Newport Grill, a seafood concept by the owners of Yia Yia’s EuroBistro, opens in November.

Yakubovich says a down economy is a great time to expand. “When the economy changes and becomes better, we’ll be ready.”

The Wichita Eagle

Happy Anniversary Sveta’s!

Happy Anniversary Sveta’s!

Trained in massage therapy and as a physical education teacher in Gorky, Russia, Sveta Yakubovich came with her family to America in 1993 with only $500, speaking very little English, but a strong will to make a better life. Wichita seems to be her perfect fit. In October of 2000, she opened Sveta’s Skin & Body Therapy in Bradley Fair and now nine years later; her salon offers a wide range of therapeutic massage services, reflexology, acupuncture, herbal medicine, deep cupping therapy, facials, body treatments, waxing, nails and her own line of skin care products.

You’ve just celebrated your ninth year in business, congratulations. What do you see for the future of Sveta’s Skin & Body Therapy? Are there changes you are thinking of making or additions you would like to see happen?

Thank you, nine years has gone by fast. Last year we started our instant Gift Certificate service. Customers can personally print out Gift Certificates or E“ mail them to someone. Our E“ Gift Certificates are great when the weather is bad and people can’t get out, but need a gift. You can go on“ line, pay with a credit card or PayPal, and then print the certificate out to use as your gift, or they can be mailed to you or the recipient. In addition to that we have an on“ line store. Many clients, who have moved, yet love our products take advantage of it. Our web“ site,www.svetas.com, is a great reference for potential clients before they come into our facility. Sveta’s also provides massage therapy to hunters at Flint Oaks, a hunting lodge about an hour“ and “ a“ half from Wichita. Down the road, once the economy improves and if the space becomes available, I would love to expand because I really like our location.

When you came to America, did you think you would be successful?

I never really thought in terms of being successful — I ultimately was looking for a better life for my family. Massage therapy for me was more about survival. The opportunity came along to open my business and I seized it. We’ve been growing for the past nine years and I believe the success comes from the fact that I love what I’m doing.

You offer acupressure and acupuncture services, have you seen an increase in the demand or need for these services? (Sveta passed the national certification acupuncture exam in 2002 and received her Master’s in Oriental Medicine in 2008 from the Kansas College of Chinese Medicine in Wichita.)

Yes, more people are trying acupressure and acupuncture. More doctors are sending some of their patients our way, as well, especially those with chronic pain or other ailments that Western medicine can’t seem to help. I love to work on people like that

— those who’ve tried everything else, yet nothing seemed to work. In the future, I think there will continue to be an increase in demand for services like acupuncture. Several patients I see for pain relief have seen the cortisone shots they receive become less effective, or they simply want to avoid surgery. As more people become aware and knowledgeable of how acupuncture can help them, I see more of them using it.

What does having a regular massage do for people and do you have any health tips to pass on?

Massage is very healthy for you. Besides helping to calm and relax people, it enhances circulation and speeds up recovery. Personally, I don’t think people are touched enough in their lives. Massage is an effective way to provide for the basic human need for touch, along with promoting one’s health. It’s also very good for people of all ages, even for those who are very active by keeping their ligaments and tendons limber. As for general health tips, besides staying hydrated and eating well, people should look more to maintain balance in their lives. Along with devoting time to work and family, health wellness and disease prevention should be a personal priority. Massage can be an essential part of this dynamic — a selfish luxury that promotes your well-­‐being.

If you need a massage, whom do you go to?

I get one from my employees. They’re all excellent. If they are unavailable though, I get one from my husband. We give each other massages.

The Wichita Eagle

Hard Work, Professionalism Makes Dream Come True

Hard work, professionalism makes dream come true


Sveta Yakubovich had a dream-­‐ of being independent, doing what she loved to do and giving her family a better quality of life. This dream brought her to the United States.


As a Russian immigrant, Yakubovich faced many challenges including not speaking English. But her tenacity, focus and a lot of elbow grease-­ literally- ­enabled her to grab hold of her dream and today she is the owner of one of Wichita’s leading massage therapy businesses.


Sveta’s Body Therapy in the Bradley Fair Shopping Center, caters to a high-profile client list that includes doctors, bank presidents, developers, stockbrokers and other professionals.


“Nothing is impossible,” said Yakubovich, who in 1993 immigrated to the United States with her husband, Simon, a massage therapist at the Wichita Country Club, her then infant son, Misha, her mother, and her grandfather. She was 22.


Trained in massage therapy and working as a physical education teacher in Gorky, Russia, Yakubovich was earning the American equivalent of about $2 a month. She was determined to give her family a better way of life in the United States and came to Wichita because she had relatives here.


She spoke no English and was unsure what direction to take, but she soon earned her massage therapy certification and began working at The Wichita Racquet Club in February 1994. She worked there for six years, earning a reputation for professionalism and quality service and then opened her own business, Sveta’s Body Therapy, in 2000. In December, 2002, she opened a second location in the Genesis Health Club at 1551 N. Rock Rd., previously the Wichita Racquet Club.


Both locations offer therapeutic massage services including Swedish, deep tissue massage, reflexology, body dynamics and pregnancy, aroma therapy massage, acupuncture and acupressure, deep-­heat stone therapy, and parafango wraps. Sveta’s also offers facials, natural nails, waxing and other body treatments but massage therapy, Yakubovich said, is the core of her business.


“People come to me all stressed and in pain,” she said. “One hour later I am sending a whole new person out into the world.”


Yakubovich said she’s grateful to be independent and to be helping other people, including her 14 employees, achieve their potential. She does not define success by dollars in the bank or numbers through her doors, but rather the peace that comes from doing what she enjoys and providing a quality service to others.


“I do what I love,” she said. “I can provide other people possibilities to do what they love to do.”


Yakubovich’s other love is her family and being a mother to Misha, now 11, and Masha, a daughter who will turn 2 this month.


“I have so many things in my life,” she said. “My greatest challenge is to try and balance them all. To be the best mom, the best masseuse, the best wife I can be.”


“I’ve been successful because of all the great people I’ve met here in America,” Yakubovich said. That list includes developer George Laham, Michael Michaelis of Emprise Bank, Rick Mae, who gave her a start at The Wichita Racquet Club, many friends and, of course, her mother and husband.


“I believe that behind every successful person there is a family supporting them,” she said.


Yakubovich earned diplomas of acupuncture from the Kansas College of Chinese Medicine and the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

The Wichita Eagle

Sveta’s Body Therapy Opens Second Branch

Sveta’s Body Therapy opens second branch

Sveta Yakubovich and her family arrived in the United States from Russia nine years ago with $500.

Now she is adding a second location of her massage business, Sveta’s Body Therapy, inside the Genesis Health Club at 1551 N. Rock Road.

It has been a long trip, and she has been grateful for the reception she has received here.

“I’ve been successful because of all the great people I’ve met here in America.” Trained as a teacher, she moved from Gorky with her husband, a 6“ month“

old son, her mother, and her grandfather in 1993. They were able to emigrate easily because the Russian government had a special program to allow Jews to leave.

Hundreds of thousands left for Israel and the United States.]

She and her family came to Wichita because she had an aunt and uncle here. She and her husband had also trained as massage therapists in Russia and got work doing that. She worked at the Wichita Racquet Club. Bradley Fair developer George Laham encouraged her to open her own place, which she did two years ago.

And now, she is opening back up at the Racquet Club building, which Genesis bought in 2001.

She said she really likes what she does.

“They come in all full of stress, and in one hour they are a completely different person“ and they pay me for it,” she said.

Sveta’s Body Therapy is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The number at the new location is 634“ 3818.