Hello, Working Girl: Stephanie Spalding of Pure Barre Fort Collins
Meet Stephanie, the upbeat and entrepreneurial owner of Pure Barre Fort Collins. Learn more about Stephanie's path to owning her own business, which is all rooted in her lifelong love for dance!
Q: Prior to opening your own Pure Barre studio in Colorado, how did your love for dance and your business-minded attitude prepare you for the role that you have today?
A: Dance has been a part of my life from a very young age and somehow I don’t think I could live without it or something similar, like Pure Barre. My dance training undoubtedly played a huge role in preparing me with the skills needed to teach a Pure Barre class. Having a strong foundation in physical movement along with body awareness, control, and musicality all are must-haves to be a good Pure Barre teacher.
On the business side, I run the whole kit-and-caboodle, so having a background in business certainly helps give me confidence in my decision making. From pricing strategy and marketing to customer relations and human resources, I make decisions every day that impact my business, my staff, and my personal life. While a lot of things are trial and error, I like to minimize the errors. And let’s be honest, I get lots of advice from my husband, too, of course.
Q: Walk us through what a day in the life of Stephanie is like – morning coffee, teaching classes, keeping in touch with clients?
A: My alarm goes off at 5:25 a.m and soon after I’m out the door to take class at 6 a.m. I’m home by 7:15 to shower, eat a big breakfast (no coffee for me), and plan my classes for the day. I then head back to the studio to work the front desk or teach. My day is filled with greeting clients, answering the phone and responding to email, ordering retail, planning fun studio events, or drumming up new marketing ideas. Unless I’m teaching in the evening, I try to be home for dinner and bed by 9:30-10 p.m.
Q: How do you stay motivated and focused during an otherwise hectic workweek?
A: Sleep! I try to get a solid 8 hours in each night and I drink lots of water during the day. Some days I work from home in the afternoons (I’m typing this from the couch right now!), which feels like “downtime” and helps keep me balanced.
Q: How do you think that earning your MBA prepared you for owning your own successful business? Would you recommend that other women seeking to own their own businesses pursue an advanced degree?
A: I was looking for a career change but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, so I decided to get my MBA in hopes that it would help spur something new. Did it ever! I don’t think I would have decided to open my own Pure Barre studio if I hadn’t been inspired by my entrepreneurship classes at CU Boulder, so for me it absolutely helped prepare me. I often think about and use the skills I learned in my marketing, accounting, leadership, and strategy classes in particular. Do Pure Barre owners (or any small business owners, really) need an MBA to be successful? Absolutely not, but it certainly helps!
Q: For fellow career-oriented women looking to embark on their own business endeavors, what would your best advice be for taking the “leap” and starting up a successful project or business
A: My advice for other women looking to own a business is to really understand themselves first. Are you business-savvy with a clear idea on how to be profitable? Or are you more of a big-picture, creative thinker who gets lost in the details? If the latter, know your limitations and find a mentor, partner, or manager who can help with the details, because in business there are lots of them! If you truly have an interest in business but just don't have a formal education, there are lots of options – business books, community classes, or even an advanced degree can get you there. Anyone in business has to know and love the numbers, so get comfortable with spreadsheets.
Q: In your opinion, what facet of owning Pure Barre Fort Collins is your favorite and most fulfilling?
A: Hands down, the clients. It is so incredibly rewarding to watch people transform their lives and play an active role in helping them achieve their goals. From the first nervous class, to about a month in where they start to “get it” to hearing their success stories (“I lost XX pounds!” “I wore a bikini post-baby!” “I felt so strong on my run/hike/ski trip!” “I’m off my meds!”), I have never had a more rewarding job. The clients motivate me to be a better teacher, and help them bring out the best version of themselves.