Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in dance education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kellye Hall, Co-Owner of NC Dance District, Inc., located in Charlotte, NC, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Hip Hop Dance Studio training from beginner to professional dancers. Ages 10 and up are allowed, but we are predominantly an adult studio.
Tell us about yourself
I actually started out as a student in the studio. Founder and CEO Ana Ogbueze taught a class at a community day I was volunteering at. I enjoyed the class so much that I decided to take a class at the studio and was instantly in love. In December 2018, I performed in our seasonal show Project: FULL OUT, and from there, Ana and I began forming a friendship. Once she decided she wanted to achieve some other goals, we formed a partnership in 2019 and reopened in a new location in January 2020 as Co-Owners. I then took over day-to-day operations while she served in an advisory role. The dance itself motivates me. As a former Emergency Physician, I was burned out with medicine. My lifetime passion for dance became what reinvigorated me. The thought of making Charlotte a real force in the dance industry is what keeps me motivated.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was making it through COVID-19 when so many other businesses had to shut down for good.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that come with being a business owner is being able to reinvent ourselves every year. You can't grow as a business with the same ideas. You always have to look for new and exciting ways to keep people coming, especially in a city like Charlotte, where most of the city residents are from other states, and there's a constant revolving door of residents that move to the city, then relocate at a later time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You're going to have to have faith and trust in God because starting and running a business is not easy, but maintaining it is even harder.
- Be patient. Growth doesn't happen overnight.
- Don't try to do it alone. You'll burn out quickly. Have at least one person to rely on and assist with the business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The choreographers that teach at my studio are multi-faceted. Some are former or current NBA Dancers. All have some sort of entertainment industry credentials. Many have danced with or choreographed for mainstream artists such as Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Da Baby, and Uncle Luke, and one was a dancer on Lizzo's reality show, "Watch Out For The Big Grrrls!" Some have danced in movies such as "Coming 2 America." We rent out the studio for private rehearsals, guest choreographers to teach class, or event space. We have choreographers from LA, NY, and ATL come to teach workshops at our studio. Some are featured on the Disney channel, and some choreograph for artists like Beyonce. While we offer professional services, we have many services for beginners through group classes and private lessons. For beginners, it's not necessarily the steps that keep them coming back. It's the warm and encouraging environment that keeps them returning. Some people just need an outlet to find confidence in themselves. We help them develop their best self.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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