The Best Sweat-Proof Mascara


When you own a boutique fitness studio, it’s ok to let ‘em see you sweat.  But it’s never ok to have your mascara flake off or run down your face while doing it.

I’ve been wearing Trish McEvoy “Lash Curling” Mascara in Jet Black ($31.50) for about 7 years and it’s nothing short of spectacular.  The wand creates a tube around your lash that stays put until you remove it with warm water.  No need for any special eye makeup remover and no stains or mess on your wash cloth.


Trish McEvoy “Lash Curling” Mascara in Jet Black ($31.50)

When Things Just Don’t Go Your Way in Business

Have you ever reached a point in your business where things just weren’t going your way?  I’m struggling with that right now.  Nothing is happening fast enough and some things just aren’t happening the way I want them to.

I’m at a point in my business lifecycle where I need to think about how the studios are going to continue to grow.  In my Winston-Salem studio, we currently offer 48 classes each week and have been experiencing capacity in all classes of about 75%.  This means that almost all of our classes are full and our most popular times have long wait lists.  Some people might call this a “good problem to have,” however, I’m not so sure.  If new clients want to start taking class with us, they might have a hard time signing up for the class times they want, which would in turn make them unhappy and not choose to become long-term members at Pure Barre.

I thought the best way to move forward would be to open a third location, but I’m running into some obstacles.  What kind of obstacles?  Well, I thought I found the perfect space to lease, however, the convenient parking just steps away is not available for public use anymore.  In addition, the buildout to create the interior of the studio is cost prohibitive.  So … then I found another space that isn’t perfect, but could work.  Now I’m running into some pretty significant problems with that space too.  And this is barely the beginning of the process.  Like not even the beginning—before the beginning.  The preamble, the preface, the prelude.

Should I accept that things just aren’t working out and move on?  Or should I just be patient and keep working towards this goal?  And also important, should this really be this hard?!

Coincidentally, I’m reading a book called Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance written by Angela Duckworth.  Duckworth set out to determine what sets high achievers apart from everyone else.  She asks: “What makes the highly successful so successful?  How do they do it?”  She explains that a special combination of intense passion and perseverance (beyond determination, more like steadfast direction) creates the thing that makes all high achievers special.  In other words, they have grit.

She even includes a test to determine your level of grit.  I’m sure it’s no surprise for anyone that knows me personally, my grittiness score was pretty high.  So why aren’t I just charging ahead on this third location to make it work, like I have with everything else?

Good question.  I’m not sure I have the answer right now, but I think it falls somewhere in the middle of: “I really don’t have to do this” and “There are a lot of other things I’d like to do with that money instead.”

I’ve got some decisions to make.

Unlucky for me, my TV broke this weekend.  But lucky for you, that gives me more time to write until I figure out which model to buy as a replacement.  On Thursday, I’ll give you the in’s and out’s on a very serious topic: what mascara I wear when I teach and take class.  Trust me, you’ll want all the details on that!

Until then, stay on your toes!

Check out Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance 

4 Reasons Why Your Fitness Studio Should Make More Money

One of my bucket list items is to write a book and I’ve actually started doing just that.  I’m writing about how to run a successful boutique fitness studio and of course, I’m drawing heavily from stories from my own experience owning Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons.

Since writing my book, I’ve come to the conclusion that owning a boutique fitness studio comes with some special business considerations.  Just about every boutique fitness studio owner has encountered the following 5 problems:

  1. The perception that making money is “bad” in boutique fitness since making money is often associated with greed, miserly-ness and unjust corporate power—the opposite of the environment we’re trying to create for our clients to enjoy when they come to take class or workout.
  2. Lack of business experience or expertise. Many boutique fitness owners have no formal business training.  They love the classes they teach and the studio environment.  They are great teachers, but don’t know how to run a business.
  3. Lack of leadership experience. Many owners don’t know how to motivate employees or teach them how to sell.
  4. Most employees are part-time, dis-engaged and lack business savvy. Many boutique fitness employees float from job-to-job and often don’t stay at the studio long-term.
  5. Since teaching and taking class literally requires the owner to work to exhaustion, finding time to work on the business is difficult or limited.

It’s the first problem that I’d like to delve into with this post.  There is a perception that making money is “bad” in boutique fitness since making money is often associated with greed, miserly-ness and unjust corporate power—the opposite of the environment we’re trying to create for our clients to enjoy when they come to take class or workout.

The goal of every business, even in fitness, has to be to make money.  If you’re not making money, you’re going to be forced to close your doors pretty quick.  Unfortunately, your landlord, utility companies and employees need to be paid.  You need to be paid too!

But is it bad to want to make money?  Is it greedy to want to make more money?  Is there such a thing as making too much money?  No!  And here’s why…

No Money, No Growth:  Growing your business requires money and the ability to qualify for credit.  If you don’t have any cash reserves, you won’t be able to expand your service offerings, buy new equipment or hire more employees.  If you don’t have a solid business plan that shows a profit, you won’t be able to get credit from a bank to make bigger investments, like adding another location.

This Thing Called Inflation:  Ever notice how everything gets more expensive each year?  That’s called inflation and it effects everyone including your business.  If you can increase your business earnings you can help mitigate the hidden costs of inflation.

If You Don’t Make Money, Your Competitors Will:  Competition in fitness is fierce.  The industry is by definition, competitive.  If your clients don’t pay you for classes or access to workout in your studio, they’ll pay your competitors.  Those who are health conscious will stay focused on health and working out.  If they don’t pay your studio, they’ll just find somewhere else to spend their fitness dollar.

Money Can Do Good:  At my studios, a huge part of our business is helping our clients discover how strong they really are.  This involves encouraging them to work hard in classes, but it also means teaching them to get away from saying things like “I can’t” or “That’s too hard.”  No, it’s not!  You just have to try.  Or come up with a plan to get there.  Helping someone reach their fitness goals is extremely rewarding.  And it’s no small task.  Maybe it’s time to change the way you perceive making money and think of all the good things you can do with it including, helping your clients and   providing jobs in the community.  Both of these things are pretty admirable.

So, no, it’s not bad to make money at your studio.  Making money doesn’t run counter to the atmosphere you’re trying to create for your clients when they chose you to work out.  In fact, making money can help you do some amazing things in your community beyond helping clients and creating jobs.

Beyond ensuring I have enough to live on, feed the dogs and retire comfortably, I have 2 really big money goals that I’d like to use my businesses to help me reach.  I’d like to donate to create a scholarship for a student-athlete interested in majoring in business at Wake Forest.  That will take $100,000.  And I’d also like to reduce all food insecure children in Winston-Salem to 0 (zero).  I currently support the Forsyth County Backpack Program to help make this happen.  I have no idea how much this will cost, but I’m sure there are a lot of zero’s.  I’m going to have to work hard with other individuals and businesses in Winston-Salem to make this reality.  I think it’ll happen.  Why?  Because “I can” and “It’s not too hard.”  I just have to keep working at it and make more money to make it happen!

I’ve been working on some things with my studios that are taking longer than I thought.  Nothing is happening fast enough for me.  Next week, I’ll talk about staying positive, even when things don’t seem to be going your way.

Until then, stay on your toes!

How to Make Your Business Matter

It’s time to get real—if something is important to you, you’ll make time for it.  If it’s not important to you, you won’t.  Simple.

Being in the fitness industry, I hear a lot of excuses.  So many that I’m kind of numb to hearing them.  I’ve heard them all.  Occasionally someone invents one that is so outrageous that I have to applaud them for it—true or not, still an excuse.  If you really wanted to do it, there wouldn’t be an excuse.

I bring this up because last week I didn’t post because I just wasn’t into writing.  It wasn’t important enough to make time to do it.  I hate that it happened and I’m sorry, but I had a chance to recharge and work with my Team more this week, so now I actually have some great things to write about.  Good times!

Ok, so a few weeks ago I had a chance to attend an incredible presentation about business given by Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a non-profit organization with a mission to create a world that’s full of giving.  B1G1 helps small and medium-sized businesses achieve a more social impact by embedding giving activities into their everyday business operations.

The main takeaway from Paul’s speech was that the true challenge of business in today’s world of the Internet, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and countless other social media outlets is to matter.  As a business, you must choose to matter to your clients and move from being dispensable to being indispensable.

Paul told us that in 1 second, there are 7,519 Tweets typed, 2,472 Snaps sent, 58,875 Google searches made, 68,234 YouTube videos watched, and 2,566,295 emails sent.  Incredible!  But, as a business, how are you supposed to compete with that?!  How can you stay relevant or important to your clients with all those other activities?  Or ahem, distractions?  How do you make your business matter in the midst of all these other things happening each second?!

According to Paul, the answer is to get smaller.  What?  Smaller?  How is getting smaller going to make your business matter more?  It’s all about getting bigger and growing.  Having more, means your business is getting more successful.

Paul would argue that instead of marketing to the masses, you need to drill down and be irresistible to a specific group of people.  In order to get smaller and matter to your clients, you also have to figure out the “why” of your business.  Why is your business opening its doors every day?  Why do you do what you do?

This weekend, I had the chance to get together with several members of my team to talk about a lot of these things.  The purpose of our meeting was to figure out how Pure Barre Winston-Salem and Pure Barre Clemmons can matter more to our clients and specifically, how we can update our membership perks to add more value to our clients and increase the quality of their experience with us.

This is why I love being a business owner.  This type of meeting and interaction with my Team is what gets me going.  Solving problems like how to be better at what we do and getting my Team’s thoughts on how to solve these problems—there’s nothing better than that in the business world.  We spent 2 hours collaborating and came up with some great ideas!

In addition to attending Paul’s speech, I’ve also read 2 great books that I think you should check out:

The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue, Robbie Kellman Baxter

Smart Retail: Practical Winning Ideas and Strategies from the Most Successful Retailers in the World, 4th Edition, Richard Hammond

To start our meeting, we first took some time to create a list of the qualities and likes of our typical Pure Barre Platinum client.  Pure Barre Platinum is our 12-month contract that offers the best pricing and most membership benefits.  Approximately half of our active clients take class as Platinum members.  It had been at least a year since we last updated our Platinum benefits, so it was definitely a priority to see what else we can do for our most loyal and engaged clients.

I’m glad that my Team was excited about talking through who our typical Platinum client is, because they came up with some great ideas, that I had not thought of.  Of course, our typical client lives within proximity to the studios and is health conscious with disposable income to spend on exercise and fitness.  But my Team also identified that they want to be ahead of trends, they are also goal-oriented and in some cases extremely competitive.  Once we had a good list of the things are clients represent and value, we could take a better look at how to add more value to our Platinum membership.

We realized that we could do a better job engaging our clients and incorporating nutrition and healthy eating into our offerings at Pure Barre.  Specifically, we discussed doing the following:

  • Allowing clients to bring unlimited free friends to the studio to take class. Right now, we just allow 1 free friend each month, although if someone wants to bring more, we are always accommodating.  This is something we’ll definitely adopt.
  • Working on partnerships or events around healthy food.
  • Creating a private Facebook group for Platinum clients that would give them access to all the things that are important to us as teachers, healthy eating, staying on trend, enjoying time with friends or getting support from the group.
  • Alerting Platinum clients when new retail comes in before it arrives.
  • Inviting clients to take over our Instagram accounts for a day and show us what they are up to.
  • Create videos to help clients stay on trend. We were especially excited about creating one called “How to take your best barre selfie.”  Who wouldn’t want to learn that?! Haha!
  • Offering birthday discounts so clients can treat themselves on retail when they are celebrating themselves.
  • More marketing of our Bride-to-Be and Baby-Bounce-Back packages on Facebook to bring in new clients.
  • Creating better or more-easy-to-understand marketing documents to sell Pure Barre class packages.

Ok, so some of these ideas don’t necessarily just offer value to our Platinum memberships, but that’s kind of the beauty of getting the Team together, you start to have great ideas about other parts of the business or you realize that doing something else that’s pretty simple would improve the business.  Since a lot of my clients might be reading this, I’m not sure if or when we’ll adopt any or all of these ideas.  If you feel strongly about one or all of them, please let me know so we have that input!

By completing this exercise, we also stumbled upon our “why.”  Sure, we offer Pure Barre classes and provide a killer workout, but that doesn’t really encompass why we do what we do.  Our “why” is this:

“We challenge people so they can learn their true strength.  Being strong is about being fit and eating well.  When you prioritize being fit and eating well, you live well and your possibilities are limitless.  Taking care of your mind and body allows you to take care of everything that is important to you.  We make that happen for you.”

 Pretty powerful.  Figuring out our “why” makes taking care of our clients easier because we know how to get smaller and matter.  We can now become irresistible to a specific group of people and that is how we’ll continue to be successful by increasing our clients on our Pure Barre Platinum membership.

Next week, I want to tell you about another presentation I got a chance to listen to given by the Founder of ActionCOACH, Brad Sugars.  It was a big pump-up presentation with jumping and shouting.  One of the chants was “I am a money magnet” and we all had to stand up and shout it.  But, what can you do with the money to matter?  I’ll delve into that in my next post.

Until then, stay on your toes!