Episode 4: Zumba with Phoebe
Episode 4: Zumba with Phoebe
Editors Note: Running a small business can be rewarding and maddening in equal measures, just ask Geoff Welch, President and Co-Owner of Date-Line Digital Printing. If you actually want to ask him that, you’ll probably have to catch him between acts of spreading thanks, destroying outdated machinery, and writing about running an independent small business at INDIE*FBX.
So moved were we by Geoff’s dedication to helping small businesses in Fairbanks, we invited him to be a part of this website. With this new series, you’ll get a glimpse into the worlds of ten local businesses as seen through the eyes of one of their peers and in their own words. Without further ado, your Small Business Insider.
Can I tell you a secret? I’ve never actually met Phoebe Flanagan of Zumba with Phoebe fame.
I do know enough people who have taken her classes, participated in her Zumba flash mobs, and ridden in the limo she charters for her dancers at the Cham Fashional to know that she has a cult-like following among Fairbanks’ Zumba enthusiasts. For a small business, such a following is the holy grail of customer loyalty, so I knew I had to ask her a few questions about how she goes about the work of building a tribe of fanatics.
My mind is always on how I can improve or innovate so it’s easy to make the time. I couldn’t not do it.
Though we’ve only exchanged a few phone calls and emails, and have yet to meet face to face, I am incredibly impressed by how she cares about and nurtures her fans. It is evident in how she talks about her clients and, much more importantly, how her clients talk about her.
A frequent class participant, Ashley Lund, had this to share with me:
“Phoebe has a knack for making everyone feel comfortable and, more than anything, have a great time. Funky beats, sassy moves, and lots of fun people. It’s like going out dancing with your friends except you trade the heels for tennis shoes and burn more calories!’
Clearly, Phoebe is doing something right.
What makes Fairbanks such a great place to do business?
I think Fairbanks is a great place to start a business because of all the opportunity there is here. There’s a lot of excitement when we get something new in Fairbanks and people really try to go out of their way to support it when they like something to keep it going. I also think Fairbanks is great for business because most people are willing to give your business a chance and look past some things when you first starting out (i.e. less than perfect storefront, homemade website/marketing materials, etc.) that would’ve squashed my business in the beginning in a different city.
How do you spend the first hour of your work day?
The first hour of my work day is always different. Sometimes I start with (personal) training clients, other days returning calls, emails, printing marketing materials, cleaning the studio, researching and practicing routines, making playlists, but weekends I get to start by checking in excited Zumba fanatics for class and working them out for an hour in a party-like atmosphere.
How do you make time to innovate and push your business forward?
My business is my passion. I always loved fitness and exercising and being able to do it everyday and make a living doing it is the biggest blessing. I put the majority of my time/life into keeping my business going and making my product something I’m proud of because I want my business to continue to succeed. My mind is always on how I can improve or innovate so it’s easy to make the time. I couldn’t not do it.
What is the most useful piece of technology you have?
The most useful piece of technology has to be my iPhone. Not only for calls/emails/texts, but I can basically plug it in anywhere and share a Zumba party with anyone. I use it everyday for my music playlist and to take payments with my Square account as well.
If you could travel back to the time when you started your business, what would you tell yourself to do differently?
I’m not sure that I would change anything if I had the chance because it might change the outcome. I see how everything I’ve done over the years has helped me build my classes/clientele and it seems to have happened in the right order and for a reason.
Why do you think your classes have such a tremendous following?
I think there’s a huge following for the classes because Zumba is fun, it’s addicting, you see changes in your body, and it can turn a bad day into a good one after only an hour. But once you look past all that and look at the people in class it’s basically like a community. We have such awesome, real people in Fairbanks and the Zumba classes really give them an opportunity to come together and make friends and support each other. I’m really thankful for how many wonderful people and friends Zumba has brought into my life.
What are ways that you strengthen the “tribe” of people that are so in love with your classes?
I just try to keep them in ‘love’ with the classes. I try to find ways to make it fun or interesting, whether it’s a new routine or dance step, a fun contest on Facebook, or a group performance at a local event.
What is your favorite part of the work you do?
I would have to say my favorite part is the fact that I get to take a small part in helping other women feel good about themselves. It’s such a great feeling when someone comes up to me after class and tells me that they’ve lost weight, or seen an improvement in their health. You can see how happy they are and their eyes are all lit up. I see them change not just their bodies but also their confidence. I absolutely love it.
Photos by: Ronn Murray Photography
Zumba with Phoebe