Shop: Dance Depot
Shop Owner: Ashley Kelly
Location: South Daytona, Florida
Expertise: We love troubleshooting pointe shoes. My favorite fittings are those who have had a negative experience in the past and come to us for a fix. Figuring out how to fix the problems they are having in their current shoes is so satisfying.
What is your background and what led you to start your business?
I grew up dancing in my area studying ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, and pointe. I continued dancing through college. Fast forward ten years to when my now middle child was only three years old. She was ready to start her first dance class at the studio I grew up in, so I went to the local dance store I shopped at as a child to get her supplies. During my shopping trip, I found out that the owner of the store wanted to retire. God put a spark in my spirit!
I went home and told my husband I wanted to buy the business. Naturally, he thought I was crazy at the time, but after three months of talking, checking with business advisors and a lot of prayer, I purchased Dance Depot, and I've never looked back!
What keeps you going and doing what you're doing as a store owner?
My customers and my love of dance! I absolutely LOVE working with my customers, finding the perfect shoe or leotard, or even helping them with custom designs. I don't believe that brick and mortar is a dying business, and my store is proof of that. I am so grateful for every customer who walks in my doors, and I make sure to tell them that as often as I can.
What do you love most about providing dancewear to your community?
The relationships we build through the process. I have customers who have truly become like family.
What are some favorite brands that your store carries, and why?
We carry all of the major dancewear brands, but there are a few that I love working with most. I love working with Eurotard because of their commitment to brick and mortar retail stores. They do not sell direct to consumer, and instead refer online sales to the closest retailer and will bend over backwards to make sure they get you the items you need when you need them.
Só Dança is close to me in Florida, so I get my orders in 1-2 days, which is amazing. We love their canvas ballet shoes, no drawstring leather ballet flats and their apparel.
Nikolay is one of my favorite brands to work with because they are extremely versatile and accommodating, and they support the retailer by not selling direct to consumer. The fact that they own their own manufacturing facilities right there where I place my orders to customer service allows them to make virtually anything! I have had custom leotards and skirts made for costuming, leotards made in colors they don't come in, pointe shoes customized down to the millimeter. All of these "specialties" ship in two weeks.
What sets your store apart from other dancewear retailers, and why?
I think a lot of retailers in our industry are fantastic, and I'm grateful to know so many. I would say that what sets us apart would be our customer service. Building relationships with our customers and helping them in any way we can is why they continue to come back to us instead of big box stores or online.
Are there any new dancewear and/or accessory trends you’ve noticed lately?
I know this isn't dance related, but they sell really well in my store. Teleties hair ties are very popular in my area, and my customers love that they can get them from me! We also sell pop-its, and we can't seem to keep them in-stock!
What are some of your best-selling products?
Canvas ballet flats, jazz shoes, tights, and fashion leotards.
A lot of dancers struggle to find pointe shoes that fit correctly and flatter their feet. Do you have any advice for finding the perfect pair of pointe shoes?
Go to a trusted fitter! I would not recommend any dancer trying to figure it out on their own. Find a fitter that has been thoroughly trained and is well versed in many different models of shoes and types of feet. Once you find this fitter, no matter how far away he/she is...make the drive! It's always worth it to have properly fitted pointe shoes!
In your opinion, is there a “must-have” item for any dancer?
This list could be quite long, but if I had to choose one item, I would probably say Therabands.
What made you make the decision to carry Pointe Paint?
I absolutely love that any dancer can change her shoe color without the wait of custom ordering them or the fear of the fabric shrinking from makeup or calamine lotion.
What’s one thing you want customers to know about you and/or your store?
For me, this is a HEART business. We truly love what we do and aim to be a one stop shop for everything you could need as a dancer. We go above and beyond to meet the needs of our customers.
Location: 1635 S Ridgewood Ave Suite 108 | South Daytona, FL 32119