It's National Small Business Week!

It's National Small Business Week!

Time to celebrate!  What's not to be happy about?  When we opened our doors on  1/11/2020, it was a joyous time!  The thought of having our local dance parents not having to travel out of state to try on dance shoes was exciting!  Getting to watch the smiling faces walk through our doors---first time dancers, professionals, teachers and my favorite---new dance moms looking for guidance...it's truly the best! 

Well....then we were closed (sigh).  It truly took the wind out of our sails, but we constantly looked on the bright side and of course, pivot, pivot, pivot.  When we re-opened, we were terrified.  Dancers were still on zoom and I sat many days in my empty store waiting for it to become alive again.  

Now, here we are!  I can hear Elton John's, "I'm still standing" in my head right now!  We still have our bad days, weeks, and months, but we are still here.  Comp season is coming to an end, but recital season within reach.  We still experience shipping challenges and backorders, but we have learned how to manage these issues instead of dread them.  When everything is "normal" it's truly going to be a breeze!  It's going to be normal again right???

So, cheers to us, all of the small business owners that stress out like me everyday, and cheers to all of YOU that help us help you!

Here's how you can support your local small businesses:

  • Buy a gift card
  • Write a great review
  • Like AND follow them on social media
  • Share their businesses on social media
  • Talk about them!  Worth of mouth is the best advertising ever!
  • Become one of their favorite customers!  
Wow!  They really DO rock!!!

Wow! They really DO rock!!!

Don't just take our word for it!  Here's what some of our boxers have to say:

"Omg I love It!! You did such a great job with it she’s going to absolutely love it!!  Thank you!!"

"Good morning! The girls are so excited about their subscription boxes and xxxx won the gift card!! So we will be seeing you soon! Thanks again for putting together such a great box!"

"Merry day after Christmas!  xxxxx loves the box my mom got her!"  

#littledanceboutique xxxxxxx loves her box. #ldbboxthatrocks

This Gives Me "All the Feels" <3

This Gives Me "All the Feels" <3

"Congratulations on your first (of hopefully many more) birthday. You have a wonderful, practical, welcoming little boutique. I love shopping at your store. The selection is awesome and my granddaughters love everything. I have been involved in dance with my daughter and now 2 granddaughters for over 40 years and believe me that’s a lot a lot of tights, shoes, leotards, hairnets and bobby-pins. Your store is so convenient and necessary to our area. Keep the faith that soon all this crap will be managed and we can go back to enjoying the world of dance and I’m sure I’ll be shopping with you and your team for anything needed. Thank you for providing the service and selection that my girls need."

This was in response to the email I sent out last week about us turning one.  It's hard to put into words the way this makes me feel...and not just saying it, but to take the time to sit and put down her thoughts...to go out of her way to make sure I know that we are having a positive impact...it just gives me all of the feels.  What a kind soul...and I thank you so very much.

Sidenote:  I used this picture because my husband actually gave me a stone about this time last year that says "believe".  It sits on my desk to remind me of what I'm capable of.  Thank you too <3

What Every Dance Studio Owner Needs to Hear Right Now

What Every Dance Studio Owner Needs to Hear Right Now

Just like every other small business owner in the world right now, you are facing unforeseen obstacles, changing your business in ways you never imagined, and you are tired.  I know, because I am too.  

We all started our businesses with an idea, a hope, a dream, and worked our tails off to make it a reality.  We admired the fruits of our labors as they became everything we had hoped...and then Covid hit.  For me, it was only 2 months and 2 days after I opened my doors.  Talk about a quick dose of reality!  

The stress, the panic, the unknown...that was and is the worst part.  I, at times, feel like the epi-center of all of the studios.  I may not be the glue that holds you all together, but I am a place of commonality...where your students prepare for the place that they call home...your studio.  

In the months that followed all of the closings, I quickly realized a few things, and I'm going to tell them to you right now...

1. You're Fabulous!  Truly, you are.  Your studio was abuzz with music, instruction, dancing and laughing..and suddenly became a building of silence.  I watched studios turn their classrooms & living rooms into television studios.  I watched Zoom & YouTube classes take the place of live instruction, and don't get me started on the recitals...canceled recitals, outdoor, staggered videos, parking lots became stages...it was incredible.  During an impossible time, you're never going to have every single parent on board, so you must do what is in the best interest of your studio, staff & students.  You adapted, and for that you are fabulous.

2.  Stay Present.  After a few weeks of sleepless nights and driving myself crazy, I implemented a technique that I learned after I suffered a great loss.  Staying present.  Every time I feel overwhelmed, I go outside, take a deep breath, look at the sky and remind myself that right now, everything is okay.  Even today, we are still playing the "what if" game.  What if we close back down?  What if I don't make the right decision?  What if, what if, what if.  Stop that.  What if everything works out and you're even bigger and better than ever?  

Once Upon a Time (before my infamous foot surgery in August), I used to go get massages for my neck & shoulder.  After 1 visit I was hooked.  Not only did my pain subside, but every time I left feeling calm, relaxed and hopeful.  My massage therapist, is not only skilled, but an amazing human being.  When I practice staying present, I bring myself back to that feeling of calm when I would leave her office.  Thank you for that Anastasia Kopceuch.

3.  Focus!  Some of you may not know this, but I'm also a dance teacher and former cheerleading coach.  I've had my share of Tiny Tot classes and getting 25 four year olds to do anything your saying is a challenge.   When they would go off the rails, I would stop and say...Whoosah.  An old co-worker would say it to me when I was ranting about something, and of course told me it was an ancient secret he learned in Russia.  I later realized it was from the movie Bad Boys II LOL.  Either way, it worked.  It was a magical word that would suddenly have them looking at me with their hands out to the side, fingers together, breathing...meditating...focusing....

The reality is that none of us know what's going to happen next.  We could choose to stress about the unknown, or we can choose to focus on the future with clear & hopeful lenses.  Remember why you started this beautiful business of yours.  Remember those first days, weeks and months of everything coming together, but don't get stuck there.  You don't live there anymore.  You are in the present (remember #2).  Focus on the students you have today, not the ones that are gone (for whatever reason).  How can you make their day amazing?  How can you make YOUR day amazing?  You have already overcome one of the craziest years in your life.  Every single day, be grateful for this amazing opportunity and use it to move you forward. Repeat those words..."today is an amazing day of opportunity"... Those tiny dancers are depending on you.

On the Second Day of Christmas...

On the Second Day of Christmas...

I'm so grateful for my sense of humor, and that my kids will be almost as funny as I am...because I am SO grateful for laughter.
December 02, 2019 — Courtney Little