Meet The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental - Kalamazoo, MI

Shop: The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental

Store Owner: Jennifer Ward

Location: Kalamazoo, MI

Expertise: Our leotard selection is how a lot of customers find us!

The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental kalamazoo michigan

 The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental, Kalamazoo, MI

What is your background and what led you to start your business?

I have an educational background in retail and marketing. My vocational background is in retail sporting goods and marketing research. When I started the business, there was a void in our city for quality dancewear and professional studio space that was accessible to the community. I decided to see if combining the two businesses into one would be enough to balance revenue in a smaller city. The future looks good!

What keeps you going and doing what you're doing as a store owner?

Running a dancewear shop has been a tough pandemic gig, for sure. We are a very small business, so, as a shop owner, I never get bored. Somedays I am buying, some days organizing, some days working with customers, some days sweeping the floor, some days posting on social media, etc. Never a dull moment!

What do you love most about providing dancewear to your community?

The most heartwarming moments are when we have a dancer come in who has been struggling with confidence, either because she doesn't have the right dancewear or she is just in a stage of life when she doubts herself. When she finds a leotard that fits her body and personality, or we help her find a pair of pointe shoes that work better for her feet, it's like we offer her a new dance trajectory that she can control. You can see an immediate boost in confidence.

What are some favorite brands that your store carries, and why?

BalletRosa, Eleve Dancewear and Suffolk are some of my favorite brands for leotards. All three brands offer excellent quality and a diverse offering from simple and sophisticated to show-stopping prints and silhouettes.

 The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental, Kalamazoo, MI

 The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental, Kalamazoo, MI

What sets your store apart from other dancewear retailers, and why?

For most of the year, our shop footprint is TINY. Our shop is 14'x19'. What we don't have in square footage, we make up for in height and creative merchandising. During the back-to-dance season and for special events, we spread the shop out into one of our studios for more shopping space.

Are there any new dancewear and/or accessory trends you’ve noticed lately?

In leotards, there are lots of unique uses of mesh, as an overlay to a printed bodice or embroidered to add texture. One ingenious new accessory we have just brought in is Links by Scar and Co. We love that dancers don't have to put pins through their nice leotards for auditions or competitions.

What are some of your best-selling products?

Black leotards, stretch-canvas ballet slippers, pointe shoes and tap shoes.

 The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental, Kalamazoo, MI

 The Station: Dancewear and Studio Rental, Kalamazoo, MI

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?

Keep trying!

Every retailer is going to have different shoe options. You may need to contact a few different retailers to explain your situation and see if they have some shoes and/or ideas for your situation. You will need to be your own advocate, so communicate with your fitter if something feels painful.

It's not a bad idea to request an appointment on a less busy day or request extra time with a fitter. Some feet take longer to figure out, so the more you communicate with your fitter (ahead of time and during your fitting), the better you can partner to find the best shoes and fitting aids for your unique feet.

In your opinion, is there a “must-have” item for any dancer or specific type of dancer?

Proper foot care items: massage balls, gentle foot scrubs, foot spritz bottles, dance socks (instead of barefoot when you can), etc.

Dancer feet work hard and need to be protected at all costs (well, these items really aren't that expensive, lol).

What made you make the decision to carry Pointe Paint?

I was sold when I saw, "better than sharpies". Nothing freaks out the owner of good studio marley more than the smell of sharpies in the studio. Even sharpied shoes that seem dry leave long-lasting marks on the floor.

What’s one thing you want customers to know about you and/or your store?

We offer a boutique experience for both our local customers and online customers. No matter how our customers shop with us, we are available for questions and conversations about their needs. Successful online dancewear shopping isn't impossible with a little teamwork.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the PointePeople community?

Our BIG Summer Sale will be the last two weeks of July. With the pandemic hitting our state especially hard, we have a lot of extra inventory this year. The sale will be live online and in-person.

Follow us on Instagram to get more details. And, we are always happy to help with sizing recommendations, even for sale items.

Contact information:
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Phone: 269-870-5226
Instagram: @thestationdancewearkalamazoo Facebook

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