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The Story of Tocca

January 10, 2018, Tocca celebrated its SEVENTH birthday! I am so grateful to all of you who have helped me to make it to 7! I have no idea what that “Seven-Year-Itch” is that people talk about – I love what I do!

Though I realize that not all of you have been with me for this whole, adventure-filled ride. I wanted to share a little about how this all got started.

Early in my career I worked with a busy chiropractic office. The experience made me feel more like an assembly line worker than a specialist. I had imagined a career where I could engage with and learn about my clients’ needs. I had hoped to be able to get to know them as humans and not as opportunities to bill out a service. I wanted to develop a rapport with my clients and I’m pretty sure that if you try that at an assembly line you lose a finger.

I found a space with 150 square feet and a 6-month lease, and decided to give my own business a try. I figured that the worst thing that could happen is I have to close up shop after 6 months. Lesson learned. Or not. Because now it’s been 7 years, 3 locations, and 1600 square feet and I’m loving celebrating year 7 with a team of 9 amazing people.

From day one I wanted to create a company like TOMS or Love Your Melon – companies that give equal to what they get. However, it appears that one big difference between those companies and me, is they sell products. The profit margin with products is much higher than with services, thus making the “buy one, give one” concept much more achievable. I gave money nationally and locally, but I wasn’t getting the warm fuzzies I usually get when I do something good. I put the idea on the backburner until I could figure out a better way to give.

In 2014 my team and I started working with the Brighton High School Girls Cross Country team simply by performing massages for them before the state meet. I received my yoga teacher certification the next year, and talked to the coach about adding yoga to their training. The coach and I noticed fewer injuries and more confidence with the girls that season. And, let’s be honest, I LOVED working with the team. As a result of this relationship, I came up with my next great idea! We use yoga to raise money and give college scholarships to Brighton High School female athletes. Matt at Brewery Becker was supportive of my idea to hold yoga classes in their brewery to raise money for the college scholarships. Finally. I had our unique but genuine way to give back.

In 2017 we made it official and created the Knuth Family Foundation, a 501c3. So far, with yoga and very generous donors, we have awarded $14,500 in scholarships!

I chose the word “Tocca” for my studio because it means “to touch” in Italian. At the time it was more indicative of the massage part of my life, and a nod to my Italian grandmother. Now I feel it represents both the physical and emotional parts of what we can do for you, and for our community.

Ashley Knuth