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Life and Work with Vanessa DiPentino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa DiPentino.

Vanessa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I grew up very active: cheerleading, doing gymnastics, and competitive horseback riding. In 2010, I found Studio Barre La Costa and instantly fell in love with the challenge and the ballet barre. I went to college at The University of Arizona and would come home and take classes on my breaks and every chance I got. When I graduated college in 2013, I was able to finally take classes consistently and noticed the incredible changes that happened within my body and mind! My degree was in Veterinary Science, but after graduating college and working in a Veterinary office, I realized that I wanted to take a different direction. I always knew I wanted to own my own business, but I switched gears from a Veterinary practice to wanting to teach barre and ultimately open my own barre studio. Around the same time, I had met the love of my life (My fiancé now!) and made the decision to move to Charlotte, North Carolina to live with him. I thought about potentially opening a barre studio there and he even started looking for the right spot before I had even moved! As fate would have it, in the days leading up to my move, Studio Barre announced that they were franchising!

Now, I am a step-by-step kinda girl, so in my mind, I couldn’t open a studio without learning how to be an instructor first. So I set out to find a job as a barre instructor and was able to find a studio in my new town that was not only hiring but opening a second location! I reached out, stepped out of my comfort zone to audition, and got the job! That is where I quickly learned that teaching barre was kind of my jam. The technique/form aspects + the musicality + the relationships with clients. This was IT – my passion!

In 2016, my fiancé and I decided we wanted to move closer to family and back into a bigger city. At the same time, I was searching and searching for ways and places to open a Studio Barre in my home state of California — even thinking about going back into a long distance relationship with my fiancé to make it work! We ended up settling on moving to Denver, Colorado and continuing to search for a spot from there. Upon getting to know the Greater Denver area, I knew this was the place! After almost two years of navigating all of the red tape and site selection, Studio Barre Highlands Ranch was born!

When I went to San Diego to train in the Studio Barre Technique, I was a little nervous that I might be rusty on the mic. Lo’ and behold. It all came right back, and that same passion and fire that just comes out on the mic was still there!

This month, Studio Barre Highlands Ranch turns two! It is the most incredible community of women and men coming to get the best workout to achieve strength and definition. We pride ourselves on being music-driven, creating long lean muscles, and having a really good time while doing it. Our clients have 100% adopted our welcoming, root-each-other-on atmosphere and that is the thing I am the most proud of! Barre studios can be scary! Ours is not! When things get tough – that is what I hold onto!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Does anyone answer yes to this question? If so, I want to know their secret!

Opening a brick and mortar business at 27 years old is no joke. The biggest thing I’ve learned is, there aren’t any moments where there isn’t a struggle – the struggle just changes. On the road to get the doors open, finding open space that fit the parameters of the studio felt near impossible. When I thought I had secured one, it fell through at the last minute. Looking back now, that spot was definitely not the right one, so it was a blessing in disguise. Hiring an attorney, navigating and negotiating a lease, securing a small business loan, and bidding out and managing a build out, hiring staff for the first time – all things that felt near impossible at the time, but now two years in feel like the least of my worries!

Now that I am in business, the struggle is balancing all the hats you wear. Managing staff, making sure daily operations are running, figuring out how to grow the business, all while teaching kick-butt classes – It’s a lot! Having your own business is truly like having a child, its a living, breathing thing that you can’t just decide to walk away from when you’re tired, or turn off when the clock strikes 5.

My biggest advice for other women who are just starting – don’t be afraid, but also don’t assume. If you are watching another entrepreneur do what you want to do and making it look easy, don’t assume that it is. But also, don’t let it scare you! Find a way to ask that person if you can help them – intern, learn, be in their shoes. Fight to learn every aspect so that when you take the leap, you are as prepared as possible for the good and the bad.

Owning a business and being an entrepreneur has a lot of good, but there is a whole lot of HARD. Enjoy the highs and try to move on quickly from the lows! Look at every day as a fresh start!

Please tell us about Studio Barre Highlands Ranch.
At Studio Barre Highlands Ranch, we pride ourselves on being the BEST barre in town. Studio Barre is a premier boutique fitness offering a 60-minute, calorie-torching, music bumping, personalized barre workout for all fitness levels. We use small isolated movements while incorporating cardio and stretching to lift and tone your entire body. Our ever-changing sassy vibe will help keep your cray at bay!

We are known for our super challenging workouts and our upbeat music! The bodies walking out of our studio are the proof that what we do WORKS! BUT more than that, we are a community. I know, I know, every fitness studio says that. But we truly are. I have told my staff from day one that I want our studio to feel so welcoming from the moment clients walk through the doors. Group Fitness can be intimidating and barre studios can be. Barre takes strength and focus, so it can feel really scary to a newbie. Luckily, our clients have picked up on what we’re puttin’ out. They are the first to tell you that every class kicks their butts, but they are also the first to encourage you to keep coming! When we shoutout someone’s name in class, all of the other clients hoot, holler, and cheer. THAT is what lights me on fire. Our clients encourage each other, and friendships are born on a daily basis!

We are truly the BARRE where everyone knows your name!

Are there any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve benefited from using?
I just discovered podcasts in the last year or so! I know, I know….. bad Millennial. My favorites are The Rise podcast by Rachel Hollis and Rise Together by Rachel and Dave Hollis. I also love to listen to their morning show on Instagram in the mornings while I get ready! My fiancé is always saying, “These people again!?” — YES! They talk all things from business to motivation, to just life, and it gets my day started the right way!

On my commute to and from the studio, I listen to their podcasts or an Audible book by Jen Sincero. My favorites are You are a Badass and You are a Badass at Making Money. These help give me more of a feeling of control when things can feel a little out of control!

I have been reading a barre studio owner’s blog for years now – Griffin McKenzie. She opened a barre studio around the same age as me. I LOVE reading her business blogs and will often go back and re-read her blogs from the early days of owning a studio to remind myself that the season I am in is normal for a new business. Mostly, I love her honesty!

My last and arguably most important resources are the other owners in my franchise! If I didn’t have a circle of other owners with businesses close in age to mine to bounce things off of, collaborate with, and celebrate with, I don’t know what I would do! A support system of people who know what owning a business feels like is so so important!


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