Why You’ll Be Feeling Footloose at Encore Dancewear (Local Business)

Encore Dancewear

Taking the Baton

The story of how Louise Dekker, came to open Encore Dancewear is rather a sweet one. The shop was originally called Dance Wardrobe, based in Whitstable, and owned by a lady called Lynne who then moved it to Herne Bay. The shop became popular with local dancers, children taking local dance classes and dance mums. As Lynne neared retirement, Louise realised how important the shop had become to the Herne Bay dance community.  Louise is a keen dancer with children who also love it, and she has been a local girl all her life – a “Whitstabubblian” as she affectionately refers to herself. With her local knowledge and passion for the art, felt she could be well-placed to pick up the baton.  Louise renamed the shop Encore and opened the doors to her new business in November 2016. It’s worth noting that business-savvy Louise did not let her heart rule her head, and also looked at other potential venues. She decided that as Dance Wardrobe already had a loyal customer base, it was the right choice from a business perspective. She chose not to buy the business from Lynne, but instead purchased stock and took over the lease, so she could establish Encore as a new entity and out her stamp on it.

Mentors and Mums

Three people have been instrumental in Louise’s entrepreneurial journey.  The first, her husband Phil, knew she was feeling disillusioned with her role as a secondary school teacher and that she would like to spend more time with her own children, and he has been, Louise says, “amazingly supportive”. The second is Louise’s mum who steps in to man the shop when Louise is at dance competitions and classes with her kids.  The third, her childhood dance teacher who still has a dance school in Whitstable has taken on the role of mentor and always been on hand for expert advice. Louise is in good company as Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Bill Gates all famously had brilliant mentors who helped them on their way to becoming millionaires!

Secrets to Success

Consistency and an understanding of what dancers need are 2 of the main secrets to Encore’s success. Louise says that not only are there very few dance retailers in the area but those that do exist tend to vary their opening hours, which confuses customers. Her work ethic is “I open when I say I will, and any unavoidable changes are published to the local dance schools and on social media.  I also have a late-night opening on Thursdays as many dancers are in classes at the weekend and, with working parents, its can be difficult for them to get to the shop in normal hours. I want to make sure there was one evening where parents knew I’d be open – especially for those emergency bits needed for exams and shows.” Louise is also a qualified pointe shoe fitter having taken courses with both Grishko and Capezio and this additional service is a great value add for customers. Louise also works closely with local dance schools to ensure she stocks what their pupils require. Another great business idea was opening her own online tshirt shop to give kids, particularly boys, a bigger choice of dancewear. You can find her shop here: https://encore.teemill.co.uk

StartMyBiz & GrowMyBiz

Louise has worked with both StartMyBiz and GrowMyBiz, getting help with creating Encore’s marketing material such as flyers and 121 advice about setting up the business. Encore is doing really well and it’s clear Louise loves being an entrepreneur. She enjoys meeting all the parents and dancers and hearing about their classes, exams, auditions and performances. Best of all she says is the fact that she is running the show and any pressure comes from herself so, she can be creative, manage her own time and spend more time with family.  

You can find Encore online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/encoredancewearuk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EncoreDanceShop

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/encoredancewearuk/?hl=en


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