Today we’d like to introduce you to Shilo Alvis.
Shilo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
After working for more than a decade in banking and finance, I found a passion that was healing and beneficial to lives, a low impact exercise called Pilates. I fell in love with it and its sister exercise, barre. Barre is a ramped up version of Pilates, combined with ballet moves, where you really learned to embrace the muscle fatigue then stretch out, yet staying gentle to the joints. Accepting the challenge to expand from my small home based studio, I opened Barre Forte Colorado Springs in October of 2018. This passion for barre and Pilates and their life changing benefits was something I absolutely wanted to share with my home town community. I had been to Barre Forte classes in Denver and loved the vibe, the community, the culture. Colorado Springs’ Downtown community was a perfect place to bring the Barre Forte burn.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Opening a new business has victories and challenges. The team at Barre Forte was amazing. They offered guidance and assurance as needed. They assured the panic that hits in the middle of the night is normal, but it subsides as time goes on. Opening a new business is scary, terrifying at best, but if one doesn’t take risks, then one never knows what they could have been capable of. We ended up in an incredible location with the benefit of a local landlord, someone who is also invested in the community and wants to see it thrive. They are supportive and responsive. We are in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs, walking distance for thousands of professionals.
Challenges within new businesses are normal; we are grateful because they have been minor so far. We opened in October 2018. Opening a fitness studio right before the winter holidays was challenging – people’s extra income is going towards gifts, but we rolled with it, we pushed through. In hindsight we should have planned differently. As with all businesses learning your customer base is a challenge: finding class times that thrive, class formats they love, retail styles they are willing to buy, social media posts they engage in; advertising that gets them in the door. It’s a learning curve, but delivering a service to people that is good for them, makes them happy and healthy is completely worth it.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Barre Forte Colorado Springs story. Tell us more about the business.
Barre Forte Colorado Springs provides boutique fitness classes. We offer our signature barre class, cardio barre, sculpt barre, and barre stretch. We are the only Barre Forte to offer Pilates Equipment classes as well. Our Pilates studio is one of a kind. We are now in a culture where companies are putting 10-15 people in the same room on a piece of equipment as complex as a reformer with a single instructor. We say yikes! We limit our Pilates equipment classes to three people. We believe in personalized sessions, hands on every body, eyes watching at all times. We are able to customize classes to the clients’ individual needs instead of teaching a canned class. We are helping clients reach their goals despite their limitations while maintaining safety at all times.
We aim to help people find balance in their lives and bodies. We all have muscles that compensate in different ways, we all have limitations, we all have different fitness levels. We work to find balance by working all muscle groups, all sides of the body, in all of the planes, in each and every class. We want people to see barre and Pilates as exercise that improves their quality of life that makes them stronger for their daily activities or complement their passion sport like running or cycling. We encourage people to see exercise as a form of self-care, not punishment for eating a cookie or having a soda, but as a way of taking care of themselves. We aim to provide more than just a barre or Pilates class; we are a community. We encourage each other, we hold each other up, we feel sorrow in each other’s sadness, and cheer for their victories, we are a family, a Barre Forte family.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck goes by many names, coincidence, karma, chance, God. We don’t really believe in luck, but that events happen as a result of how hard you work (or didn’t). We do believe some things happen which are entirely out of our control and always strive to see the positive in them, even when they may not be positive.
I was raised in a family that experienced massive tragedy multiple times, yet I was never encouraged to feel sorry for myself. It was just the cards we were dealt. They were events that made me stronger. I believe the adversity I experienced as a child and the lack of pity (from self and others) lead me to be a hard worker, lead me to accept life’s challenges, and gave me the wherewithal to start a business. It is not luck that lead to opening Barre Forte Colorado Springs, but years of hard work, dedication, and a passion that the benefits of barre and Pilates exercise should be shared.
The happenstance of meeting my now husband is the one thing I will attribute to luck and then leading to this incredible venture of opening Barre Forte Colorado Springs. Without my supportive husband who is willing to hold my hand and tell me each day I am capable of doing this, I probably wouldn’t have taken the leap. I would probably still be working in banking and finance with a withering soul instead of living my dream and sharing my passion.
- Address: 115 N. Tejon Street, Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
- Website: www.barreforte.com
- Phone: 719-400-6152
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @barrefortecosprings
- Facebook: @barrefortecosprings