Her Story with Stacey Seward-Vandiver: Setting the Barre High
A few months, I experienced by first barre class. Up until that point, I thought I was in decent shape, but oh my goodness. This class made my muscles feel like they were on fire and shake like I’ve never seen them shake. I walked out feeling exhausted, but also awesome and like I was already more toned from just that one express class (I wasn’t but it did feel like it!).
It’s no surprise then that Stacey Seward-Vandiver, who teaches, creates and co-runs her own barre and group exercise business for a living, looks like a fitness model. AND she is one of the nicest and most positively energized people you will ever meet.
I met Stacey back in 2015 though my day job and have gotten to stay in touch with her beyond a client relationship. Stacy and her business partner, Ann Marie Barbour, are always on the go, traveling the world, bringing barre and group fitness and their positive energy to as many people as they can. We don’t get to talk much, but whenever we do my day is better off because of it and I always feel a jolt of inspiration and optimism.
She’s also a mom of 4 and has been able to grow her passion into a successful business. Below, Stacey shares about how her business got its start, what it’s like to have a business partner, a big reminder to always think about as you build your business, and TONS of marketing and personal development resources.
I know we have a lot of multi-passionate ladies in this group, so if fitness and teaching is one of them, Stacey also shares a little about being a part of her SQUAD.
1) You can find her in Baltimore, MD
2) She’s a mama to 4 kiddos
3) Best part of being a mom: Watching your children develop and grow into strong, smart individuals and having them all around the dinner table at once (life goes by quickly and now one is in college! I cherish the time I have with my family all together!!) Another part is when they ask you for your opinion…I feel honored because it means something I am saying is registering :D
4) Most challenging part of being a working mom: Traveling and having all my ducks in a row: dinners, practices, homework, etc. All my kids are pretty responsible and have taken on the increased travel pretty well…super proud of them!
5) Biggest parent lesson learned so far: Give them independence, let them make their own mistakes, and let the learn from those mistakes. I feel this doesn’t happen enough these days.
6) What she does to relax: Spending time with my close network of friends. I am an active person, so vacations are usually around certain activities. I love both the sun AND the snow!!
Tell us about your business, SoulBody Barre!
SoulBody has created progressive, smart, on-trend Group Fitness Programs (currently Barre and HIIT). This helps health clubs stay ahead of the curve in their offerings to retain as well as attract new members. With constant development, SoulBody continues to create cutting-edge classes that gym members are seeking. We are proud of the tight knit group of instructors we have trained and certified and call our SQUAD. They are all out there inspiring through movement with passion and dedication!
How did it get its start?
We began teaching our method of Barre in 2010 and began to see the rise of boutique fitness. My business partner, Ann Marie Barbour and I realized that health clubs needed to have that same high caliber of class on the Group Exercise timetable to be able to compete, so we created SoulBody. The complete package of instructor training and pre-formatted choreography is the perfect solution for instructors, gyms and members as consistency is KEY! Our commitment to creating dynamic group exercise BARRE classes will continue as we develop new, innovative programming to stay on trend and progressive.
What advice would you give to women looking to start their own business?
Be patient as it takes persistence and determination to get it off the ground and the extra work of running the household can be very challenging. It is not for everyone, but if you have the passion and belief in your product as well as support from family (thank goodness for my dedicated husband!), it can happen! On top of it, make sure you know your “why” and have a solution to a problem. Keep it clear, simple and concise.
Any considerations around having a business partner?
If the relationship works, it is a definite advantage as the responsibilities can be shared, especially with all the many mom duties!
Has there been a failure you’d be willing to share here and what you learned from it?
Trying to be too much too soon! Focus on the product you are bringing to market and make it so good that you can then begin to expand.
What is a business resource that makes your life easier/better (accounting software, video platform, marketing, etc.)?
For email communications, Constant Contact has been great and they have really added some nice marketing capabilities as well.
Any business owner should be using LinkedIn. This is an excellent source for networking.
For Social Media posts, we use Canva and Word Swag a lot. Canva has also allowed us to create flyers and posters that can be shared with instructors and gyms that we work with.
Videos, we just started with Animoto and have used PicPlayPost as well.
Any book recommendations for others looking to start/grow/market their business or personal development in general?
Books: Jab, Jab, Hook. Start With Why. Lean In. Building a Story Brand.
Podcasts for fitness leaders: Fitness Business Podcast (Chantal Brodrick), Gym Owners Business Podcast (Mel Tempest), Escape Your Limits (Matthew Janusek), Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield.
Industry related magazines: Club Solutions, CBI. UKActive Review .
Blogs for health and wellness: WellToDoGlobal, Well+Good, Thrive Global
How can people find out more about you and your business and/or how they might be able to get involved?
Social media handle: Soul Body, @soulbodybarre
Is there anything else you want the group to know about being an entrepreneur or about Soul Body in general (where to go if considering a Barre program)?
SoulBody: We are always looking to grow our SoulBody SQUAD and build a team of passionate and dedicated instructors. As SoulBody expands globally, we are constantly seeking individuals that share the same vision and passion for Group Fitness. Do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Entrepreneurship: No matter what your expertise is as an entrepreneur, networking is KEY to connecting with others in your industry. LinkedIn is an excellent resource. Reach out and offer to get involved, ask questions and give back. As with anything in life, the more you give, the more you receive!
Know another amazing lady in your life that would be a great Her Story Spotlight? Drop me a line and let me know about her! Hello@herexchange.net