How businesswoman and entrepreneur Cheri Satterfield remains resilient.
Cheri Satterfield has a habit of rolling with the punches. An outsider might look at her career and assume that her plans have gone off without a hitch since she’s now the owner of multiple small businesses ranging from spa centers to daycare facilities. But as anyone who’s built a business from scratch would know, there’s no avoiding bumps in the road. What matters is how you handle them.
Satterfield got her start decades ago with a video rental store she created with her former husband. They got involved right when the industry was taking off, but ultimately, the Internet and the rise of streaming services brought on a decline in business. Rather than get discouraged, Satterfield eyed the tanning services they also offered at the rental store. “I always liked the beauty and wellness industry,” she says. “I traveled and saw things that people had in other areas. Everyone said, ’Oh, it’ll never work in our area,’ but I felt like it would.”
Satterfield took the idea and ran with it. She sent some of the best managers from her rental store back to school so they’d be prepared to work in the beauty sector full-time, she expanded services to include everything from basic to the luxe, and she turned the lemons of a struggling video store into the lemonade of a burgeoning spa empire. Now, with Tuscan Sun Spas as her biggest venture, Satterfield is always exploring and expanding into cutting-edge treatments and even eyeing opening salons in Pennsylvania and New York.
This kind of creative problem-solving has become emblematic of Satterfield’s career. Take her daycare operation. “It’s kind of a comical story,” she says with a laugh. Employees of hers kept talking about how they wished they had a reliable daycare to leave their children at while they worked. “I owned a building, and, long story short, we have a daycare with two sites and an after-school site,” she says. “That was my background in college, so it had a little bit of a learning curve, but I think we’re doing great work there.”
Highgate Carriage House, Satterfield’s wedding venue, followed a similar path. The site was initially where Satterfield’s company situated its administrative offices, and she needed a way to support the costs. “So we did a wedding venue, and we do about 25 weddings a year there,” she says. “It kind of all plays together.”
Although Satterfield has found sustainable balance with her many irons in the fire, there were those who doubted her along the way. “I think being a woman in business, especially during the years that I was building up, had its own challenges,” she says—for example, people who would say “Honey, can I talk to your husband?” and not even acknowledge her and her role.
That never sat well with Satterfield, who grew up in a home of strong women and girls, including a mother who had been successful in her own right. But she didn’t let it stop her and forged ahead regardless of what anyone thought, proving herself to everyone around her and ensuring that she kept good relationships with those who supported her. “I think that your whole life is built on relationships, and you have to get out there and make relationships, make friends, and above all, keep your word,” she says, noting that maintaining an honest, respectable reputation around the community is an important lesson for anyone who wants to be successful in business.
Given her attitude, it’s no wonder Satterfield is the winner of WV Living’s Wonder Women: 2021 Bracelets of Victory Award for Tenacity. “If you’re going to get into business, you better be able to get back up on your feet again and take more punches, because they will keep coming,” she says. But even though she’s skilled in the art of bouncing back, through it all, Satterfield has found peace in the people around her and in herself. “I am not the business. It’s all the people who work every day to make that company,” she says. “People are what make your business—not you as an owner. Your job is to steer that ship, and believe you me, that comes with a lot of responsibility.”
In the end, Satterfield’s times of struggle and uncertainty haven’t just yielded sustainable results—they have also given her the confidence to take on the world. “I trust my instinct now more than I ever did.”
READ MORE ARTICLES FROM WV LIVING’S FALL 2021 ISSUE.
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