We had the good fortune of connecting with Emma Scheets and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emma, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The main thought I first asked myself when determining to start my own business was, “am I doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life”? I had been working as a certified child life specialist at a clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Like many others, I had been furloughed. I had sixteen weeks to determine if I wanted to live in Wisconsin and work at the clinic for the rest of my life. Ultimately, I decided that I needed to do more to help children and their families.
I had loved my job but had known for a long time that there was something missing, in the sense that I was meant to do more. It took some time to determine what I wanted my business to offer to families, but once I returned to my job, it became clear. I had access to the emergency room census at my clinic and the same names appeared in the same week. Adults and children who were having mental health crises. Starting my own mental health therapy center continued to develop as I continued to see the trends that proved to me that mental health care and education was falling through the cracks.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Rae Therapies is a mental health therapy center for children. I feel as though there are many different that separate my business and brand from other centers that may offer similar services. Rae Therapies offers holistic and comprehensive evidence based services. We offer music therapy, art therapy, mental health therapy, and services from a registered dietitian. Children can receive services from all of the therapists for well rounded mental health/preventative care, or they can choose one therapy that they are the most interested in receiving. One of the goals from my business that sets Rae Therapies apart from other facilities, is that we maintain a small/welcoming team and space, while providing as many therapies and services as possible. It is important to families that they do not have to travel around the entire valley while making sure their children receive the services they need.
Many therapy centers have a niche. This means they prefer to only work with/treat specific diagnoses or concerns. Rae Therapies’ niche is children. We want to work with children who have anxiety, depression, chronic pain, developmental disabilities, or are healthy, typically developing children. Our therapists are certified and highly skilled in working with kids, no matter the reason they or their caregiver has sought our services for them.
We also provide additional benefits that are not common from similar facilities. We want to serve the entire family, not just the clients who receive therapy. We have a library where children and their caregivers can check out books, toys to check out, a sibling center, and a sensory room. (In addition to the tools the therapists use, all items are cleaned after each use!) These benefits are free for families when they have a child or children who come to Rae Therapies for therapy.
These books are meant provide education, promote families spending quality time together, and fun! In addition to the books that are in our library, we have a special selection of books that are about a variety of life experiences. We have books that can help caregivers explain cancer diagnoses, foster care, adoption, death, and many other life experiences that a caregiver may not know how to age appropriately explain to a child. I created over 100 resources that we will give to a family if they are facing a situation that they need assistance understanding, or explaining to their children. Rae Therapies is here to help families with stressful and traumatic situations, not just the reason why they decided to bring their child for therapy. I have found that some facilities that have similar services bill parents or health insurance specifically for time spent talking to a family. I do not believe in this and I want families to seek me out to ask for help. I believe in family-centered care and this means involving the family in helping advocate for themselves and working on goals for themselves and their children outside the clinical setting. In order for them to be able to do that, we need to involve them in discussions and not charge them for the time spent on those discussions. It is important to me that I use Rae Therapies to educate families and the community as a whole.
As fore mentioned, I feel as there are many ways that Rae Therapies stands out from other facilities, but I will only highlight one more aspect that is very important to me. Philanthropy is important to many people, but I think that the variety of ways that I will use Rae Therapies, sets us above others. We accept AHCCCS and health insurance, but not every health insurance may pay for services due to their policies. Throughout the entire year I planned and prepared to open Rae Therapies, I reached out to foundations across the United States that will provide funding to families whose health insurance companies may not fund services or for families who do not have health insurance when their child needs therapy. I will fill out grants for families rather than adding something to the plate of a caregiver. Rae Therapies will also create a grant funding program once we have been in business long enough to have sufficient funds to support such a program. Another way that I want to assist the community is by holding item drives and donating funds to non-profits in Maricopa County.
I am proud of myself and Rae Therapies as a whole. I have had help along the way from Janice (SCORE mentor) and good friends, but I have done almost everything by myself. I wrote a business plan, found a 9 room space, determined that a book checkout was necessary, and essentially everything that makes Rae Therapies what it is. It was not easy but I worked on Rae Therapies everyday (including weekends) from Wisconsin, while I was working a full time job in health care, during COVID. While there have been challenges, I have used meditation, my resiliency, and the help of others to overcome challenges. I have also had to be flexible as sometimes plans have had to change due to challenges. Change and being flexible isn’t always easy, but neither is opening a business! Something I’ve learned along the way is that health care insurance is not streamlined and that it can be difficult to communicate with companies. I’ve had to be very patient when determining the process of (at least 10) health insurance companies and how to enroll with plans. While it is sometimes difficult for me, I keep families in mind as coverage of these services is important.
It is important to me that I want others to know about me is that I am proof that no matter what you have experienced in life, you can become whatever you want and do whatever you want. I am a survivor of childhood domestic abuse and while statistically people like me are more likely to be homeless, have less education, and/or have addictions, I was able to be resilient, get a college degree, have a professional job, and start my own business. I want to help families who have had similar experiences so that they can have healthier lives.
I also want the world to know that I sleep, eat, breathe Rae Therapies. I believe that I was meant to serve children and their families and that Rae Therapies is always here for them and that my business is the most important thing in the world to me. Maybe with the exception of my two dogs, Nola and Zella, though!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think that a week long trip to visit me in Phoenix would mostly consist of eating! I love food and with the exceptions of my friends I met while I lived in New Orleans, would appreciate the variety of food to try here.
Restaurants that I would take my best friends from Wisconsin to include- Fry Bread House, SoSoBa, Ono Hawaiian BBQ, and Mad Greens. I also love Persian Room Fine Dining in Scottsdale. We would stop at Caspian Food Market to check out Middle Eastern groceries to take home after eating at Persian Room. Feta is one of my favorite foods and you can get fresh feta there! (I’m from Wisconsin, and yes, cheese is a staple of our diets.) My favorite food is pho, so we would get a meal at Pho 32 Vietnamese Kitchen. We would also go to several restaurants that I can’t wait to try. Those include Brunch & Sip and Tee Pee Mexican Food.
We would also potentially go to Culvers if they are homesick. There are quite a few of them in the valley, but not many people know it is a Wisconsin chain.
No day on vacation in Phoenix can end before you get dessert. I would take my best friends to whatever event or farmer’s market that Beignet Babe is at. I love her raspberry filled beignets. I live in Arcadia, so we would take a trip the Crumbl Cookies near my apartment. I would probably have to get a peanut butter brittle or funfetti milkshake cookie. Additional dessert places we would visit during the week would be Dessert in Desert and Soda Jerk, both are in Scottsdale. Dessert places that I will take my best friends to that I will try for the first time include The Yard Milkshake Bar and Nothing Bundt Cakes.
I enjoy sitting at the pool and so we would spend time lounging at the outdoor pool at Rise Uptown. Papago Park is another spot that we would go to in order to relax.
I grew up in Marshfield, Wisconsin, with Arizona D-Backs catcher, Daulton Varsho, so we would go to a home game and watch him hit some home runs.
Before a baseball game in downtown Phoenix, we would head to Roosevelt Row to admire the amazing murals. I love the beauty of the art, especially the mural of the Indigenous woman that is meant to remind everyone of the enormous number of Indigenous and Native women that have gone missing and that investigations, or better investigations, that are necessary to find them and give them justice.
While on Roosevelt Row, we would head to Bunky Boutique so that they can purchase adorable souvenirs.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mentor from SCORE-Janise Blanco She met with me whenever I needed to help me determine which steps to take to start my business.
Linkedin: Rae Therapies
Other: Tik Tok-raetherapiesllc