Katy Richardson, the Founder of Neighborhood Barre, was on The Friday Society Podcast! They have over 25 locations nationwide and if I had to describe Katy in a few words it would be smart, intentional, and funny! I loved talking with Katy so much and I hope you enjoy this podcast because we got into all things Barre and business.
Katy started Neighborhood Barre in 2011 and listening to her founder story is truly incredible. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs so she’s had the spirit to own her own business from the beginning. In 2010 she was working as an internal auditor and knew that she wanted to be her own boss. Towards the end of 2010 she started to see the boutique fitness industry grow and decided to take all of her prior experience to open her own studio.
I love Katy’s honesty on how hard it can be as a new owner and figuring things out in real time. She was first to market in her town of Knoxville so there was a lot of marketing and educational opportunities that she integrated into the community. Her open mindedness and growth mindset were huge keys to her early success because her community embraced her from the beginning. I also love how my former employer, Lululemon, was a large part of her inclusion story. So cool!
As business owners we can be afraid to take risks because of the possibility of failure. It’s more comfortable to stay small and only do what you know or mastered. Katy was driven to take risks even at the expense of failure which is truly admirable.
Neighborhood Barre has turned into a franchisor and the road to get there was long and difficult. Owning your own business and owning a franchise are two different business models. Katy described running her business lean and mean to maximize profit margins, which was a top priority from the beginning, once she started franchising in 2014. Fast forward to 2016 she had 5 franchise locations! Today she has 25 with a growing pipeline!
Let’s talk about control for a second. As a business owner, I’m very aware of my vision, messaging, and the voice that I want to come through in my marketing. I can only imagine how it would feel to be a franchisor and having that sense of protection over branding when there are franchisee’s who may differ in opinions.
She learned over time that sometimes you just have to let things go and stop expelling energy into one small part of your business that isn’t succeeding. This experience really kickstarted how she approaches assisting franchise locations and the energy that she can give to certain situations. Providing proper controls, resources, and guidelines have really helped the franchise owners to succeed and thrive in owning a Neighborhood Barre location.
Listen for Katy’s take on what to look for if you are considering buying a franchise! This was so interesting because there has to be a fit from both sides for a franchise location to be successful. For example, as a franchisee, you should consider your margins after royalty fees, the culture, and if the franchise vision is a fit for you. It’s definitely not a fit for everyone and that’s ok!
Stay around for the rapid fire questions because Katy’s answers were so good!! I loved this conversation so much and laughed throughout the whole thing. I literally cant wait to take one of Katy’s classes!