Hello, and welcome back to Gracie Meets…! Have you ever been to a dance studio? Well, in today’s episode, I interview Mr. Jay and Mrs. Anneliese Troxell. They own TipToz Dance Company in Kansas. They’re here to tell us about the ins and outs of owning a dance studio, so if you’re a dance fanatic, this episode is for you!
Show Music: 2019 07 25 cello pizz 01 and 250109 rhodes 02 by Morusque used under Creative Commons License CC BY. No alterations were made to the original composition.
Cover Art: Kyleigh Kinsey. Instagram: @ato._.noodle
Intro Music 00:00
Gracie Solomon 00:13
Hello and welcome back to Gracie Meets… Famous actress and dancer Ginger Rogers once said, I did everything he did, but backwards and in high heels. Dancers are some of the hardest working people I know. So this quote definitely fits in with today’s interview topic. Today I’m interviewing Mr. Jay and Mrs. Anneliese Troxell, dance studio owners.
Anneliese Troxell 00:35
My name is Anneliese and I’m a 34-year-old mother of two. I was born in Houston, Texas, and raised in Council Grove, Kansas, a small town and moved to Germany for a few years while my husband was in the service. Now we’re back in our hometown and we, my husband and I, own a dance studio here in our small town and a couple other dance studios and we work together to run those and provide dance education for the areas around here.
Jay Troxell 01:16
My name is Jay Troxell. I’m 36. I was born in Council Grove, Kansas, which is, I think the population is around 2200 people that live here. And once I graduated high school here, went to college at Kansas State and then join the Air Force after college. And after we got out of the Air Force, we started running our businesses together.
Gracie Solomon 01:39
So what makes your job unique?
Anneliese Troxell 01:42
Well, we’re entrepreneurs. So you know, most jobs, you go into work and someone tells you what to do, when to do it, how to do it. But, you know, as our own bosses, we, we get to decide what we do, how we do it, when we do it. So that in itself, I feel like is unique. But our demographic is, is something that is unique as well, as well as our industry. So we’re, we’re providing dance education in rural areas, communities that are less than 5000 people. So both of those things together, create a unique environment for what we do. A lot of dance studios run, they operate in bigger towns. So working with smaller communities is it just it’s a totally different set of needs that we have to meet for the communities.
Jay Troxell 02:47
And it’s also unique because we’re husband and wife, and we both run the business together. We both work from home during the day, and then during evening we go to the different studios that were We’re raising our kids. We’re running our businesses, and we’re kind of doing it all from our house and from our locations, which is a unique challenge, but we really enjoy it.
Gracie Solomon 03:12
Cool. Why did you want to open a dance studio?
Anneliese Troxell 03:16
Well, this is me. I don’t think my husband ever really dreamed of owning a dance studio. Maybe the opposite, actually. But I’ve always danced throughout my life and loved it. And I started teaching in high school and I loved it. I kept teaching in college and I loved it. When I went to college, I thought, well, I need to get a real degree, something that you know, will be, you know, make money or whatever. And so I have a master’s degree in interior architecture and product design. And, as I, you know, graduated and moved away from home, I worked a few design jobs, and they were okay. The pay was okay. I like them but I didn’t love them and I just kept falling into more and more dance jobs they just kind of kept happening. And really that’s I would say how it came to be, is the need was just there, and it fell in our in my lap anyway and then the more I took on the more consumed you know, my life and my family’s life so we kind of just decided to embrace that and go with it and now I mean, we’re not just a husband and wife that run the run the business, we’re a family owned business because Jay’s mom helps us a lot to business and even our kids are getting involved with helping us run studios and keep things going and my parents are from the same area and they’ve helped us with a lot of stuff as well. My sister is one of our teachers, one of our best teachers. So I mean, it’s a full on family affair at this point. So it’s just kind of grown organically. I don’t know that we ever planned this at all. I mean, I might have had dreams about it when I was younger, but it’s just kind of how things have unfolded for us. While the whole family trees
Gracie Solomon 05:21
Wow, the whole family. What are some tips you would give to someone who wanted to open their own studio?
Anneliese Troxell 05:27
Well, first of all, make sure you surround yourself with lots of people that support you and can help you because no matter how good you are at it, you will need help. You definitely need help and the more people you have to guide you and to just assist you when you need it, the more benefit you’ll see the quicker things will happen for you, and the happier you’ll be. And if you’re not happy, you’re not going to be able to keep going. You’ll get burnt out pretty quick if you try to do it all by yourself. So that would be my number one tip is to just to be open to any help you can get.
Jay Troxell 06:11
I don’t think a college education like is necessary. What we do, but I think having like accounting classes and finance classes and business classes would be a huge help for someone starting out in our industry just to have like a basic financial blueprint of how to run a business.
Anneliese Troxell 06:32
You don’t have to have a college degree in dance because I don’t have a college degree in dance. But I think that being able to learn to complete a degree is important. Sorry, not meaning to have an argument on the podcast, but I do think you should get a degree. I do. I do. Education is very important.
Gracie Solomon 06:55
Those are great tips. How would a high schooler like me become someone like you
Jay Troxell 07:01
They probably need to start out teaching at a studio somewhere. We have kids that are you know junior instructors who are in middle school who help out with teach their classes. And then when they get into high school, they help out more. And then a lot of kids that come from our studio, when they go to college, they come back and then they become full instructors. So they just kind of start out as a kid, helping the teachers and being around the studio and learning from learning from the full-time teachers.
Anneliese Troxell 07:33
Yeah, I would say that, and this could go for any, any career field, any high school kid that has an idea of what they want to do. I would say just foster your interest with as much as you can. So for me, dance was my thing. So I did as much as I could. I taught dance in high school in two different, at two different studios. I was, you know, the captain of the dance team, any trips that I could take or clinics I could go to that related to dance I did, and then I continued that in college. I know I even I took at studios in college. I took on campus classes. I even took a belly dancing class, which, even though it was, you know, not something I use regularly now, it was, it was really, I mean, part of what helped me develop my, you know, full understanding of the world at the end. So I think just giving yourself the freedom to do you know, when you’re young, especially as much as you can, that you’re interested in because the more knowledge and experience you have, the better you will know like, yes, this is something I would be happy doing the rest of my life or no, you know, I’ve had enough, I’m not motivated anymore, but you can do that for anything, not as dance. I mean, if you’re into art, you can do the same thing. You do all the art you can. If you’re into healthcare, you could they have like clubs and HOSA [Future Health Professionals Organization] or whatever.
Jay and Anneliese Troxell 09:09
Surround yourself. Yeah. With people in the same industry that want to be in. Yeah, network. Network!
Gracie Solomon 09:15
So what is the best part of your job?
Jay Troxell 09:19
I think the best part of our job is us working together. You know, we don’t have a boss, but we’re our own bosses. So we’re accountable for everything. The harder we work, the more, the more reward we get out of it. And the lifestyle we get to kind of have with our family, we get to take time off and take a break and play with our kids or we just kind of set our own schedule and we work a lot. But we kind of work our schedule around the family and try to try to do that. We don’t have to be a certain place at a certain time. Every day, you know, we just we can dictate our own hours and however hard we work.
Anneliese Troxell 10:02
We dictate everything. We can even dictate what kind of clients we have, you know, like we if we don’t want to work with grumpy people, you know, it’s pretty easy to have those grumpy people, move them out of the studio. If we if we want to work with, you know, people that you know, support what we support. That’s kind of what we build. So I agree like it’s the ability to build our own lifestyle is what’s the best about the career path we’ve chosen.
Gracie Solomon 10:31
I think it’s really cool that you get to decide like, who you want in your studio as not to bring other people down with their attitudes and stuff.
Jay Troxell 10:43
Yeah, it’s for sure there’s, there’s people that can be hard to get along with or cause problems. And if you just don’t invite those people back then it kind of uplifts the studio as a whole and everybody gets better and then surround yourself with positivity then just become a more positive environment for everybody.
Gracie Solomon 11:05
Thanks for letting me interview you. It means a lot to me that you gave me this time.
Jay and Anneliese Troxell 11:12
You’re welcome. Yeah. Thanks for letting me talk about myself.
Gracie Solomon 11:14
Life is going to be hard. Many times you’re going to be asked to do a lot, then sometimes you’re going to be asked to do everything everyone else is doing, but backwards and in high heels. It’s not going to be easy or feel normal at all. But then again, show me a normal teenager. Thanks for listening.
Gracie Solomon 11:38
Thanks for tuning in. If you like Gracie Meets… subscribe so you can listen every time a new episode is dropped. And follow Gracie Meets… on Instagram at Gracie dot Meets (@gracie.meets). Tune in next Saturday for a helpful interview with a marine biologist.