As a professional dancer, Justin loved his craft and dreamed of sharing it with others. In 2016, he made this dream a reality when he founded The Dance Conservatory in Westchester. His background in physical therapy and injury prevention training helped him cultivate not only ballerinas in their prime, but lifelong dancers.
How Did COVID Impact Justin’s Business?
Shutdowns forced a hiatus from in-person classes, devastating to a studio that celebrates its communal passion for dance. But the pandemic also offered new opportunities for virtual classes and a population of young customers who were home from school and looking for activities.
How Did TAP Help?
Two TAP consultants, Robbie Oxnard Bent and Souha Alameddine, quickly dove in and worked with Justin to expand enrollment and reduce spending. They leveraged TAP’s customer segmentation tool to help him understand who his clients were and what financial restrictions they had. TAP then advised Justin to adopt a more flexible pricing strategy. Robbie and Souha also urged him to clearly communicate the steps he was taking to make his studio COVID-safe, so that dancers could feel comfortable returning to class. To help reduce expenses, TAP updated Justin’s accounting system and worked with him to devise a negotiation strategy so he could talk to his landlord about lowering his lease payments.
Where is He Now?
With better communication and a reworked pricing system, Justin was able to top 2019’s pre-pandemic enrollment numbers. He taped out seven by seven-foot squares on his studio floor and provided individual bars so every (masked) dancer could stay within their space. Students actually appreciated the new small class sizes, as they received more attention from teachers. Justin used his website, social media, and email to communicate the Conservatory’s additional safety precautions. He reassured parents and students that, while he’d keep offering virtual options, they could safely return to the studio in person — and once they were in the door, they kept coming.
Stylish Spoon, a modern bakery founded by mom Ilana Eck, is geared toward professional women and busy parents looking for easy and healthy grab-and-go breakfast and snacks. Ilana's best-selling OatMEAL Cup, sold online directly to consumers, was inspired by her own need for a one-handed breakfast that she could enjoy and feel good about while nursing her newborn.
How Did COVID Impact Ilana’s Business?
The pandemic swiftly brought an end to in-person sampling and marketing events, Ilana’s primary marketing tool. She also lost a lucrative contract with a NYC grocery store chain.
How Did TAP Help?
TAP consultants Adelma Hand and Robbie Oxnard Bent provided Ilana with marketing and financial resources typically available only to Fortune 500 companies. Their sales analysis resulted in a shift to focus on her popular, high-margin OatMEAL Cups. Talking to consumers in focus groups inspired a rebranding strategy; not only did this new approach help Ilana target the right consumers, but it also informed a new virtual marketing strategy with a targeted referral program, perfect for her highly loyal consumer base. In addition, the TAP consultants created an inventory tracking tool to help Ilana time her package purchasing decisions, and they customized TAP’s PPP loan tracking tool to help her maximize loan forgiveness.
Where is She Now?
Ilana was able to cut costs and is thrilled to be reporting her first positive margin. TAP's recommendations for shifts in marketing, operations and finance have helped Stylish Spoon not merely weather the pandemic, but flourish.
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