Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before Cindi Garabedian was a Studio Barre franchisee, she was working as a creative director for a skincare brand. Working for the Beverly Hill-based company meant hours in traffic every day and that Garabedian's hard work didn't help advance her career – it simply helped her employer's. So, she decided to start a business of her own as Studio Barre's first franchisee. Here's what she has learned.
Name: Cindi Garabedian
Franchise owned: Studio Barre in Newbury Park, Calif.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I love the idea of buying into a successful business that is pre-existing, and having the support and knowledge that comes with it. I was familiar with and had experienced the Studio Barre brand on a consumer level and knew that it was the perfect fit for me.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I was the creative director for a Beverly Hills skincare brand. I spent three hours a day commuting in LA traffic and working for someone else. The more I worked, the better someone’s life became. I wanted to work hard to better my life and my family’s life.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
Health and fitness has always been a priority to me. But what I love about the Studio Barre franchise is the supportive community that the business nurtures. From the top down, everyone is treated with love, respect and genuine care.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
$29,000: Franchise fee
$82,000: Build out
$39,000: Other startup costs (training, retail purchases, equipment, etc.)
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
The internet, other business owners, friends and family.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Handling the state and federal taxes, sales tax, payroll and payroll taxes and all the legal aspects that go along with having a team of employees.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Be passionate about your business. I spend almost every waking minute thinking about my business, but LOVE it! It consumes my thoughts, but it is so fun, exciting and challenging. I know I am directly and positively making a difference in people’s lives every day, so all the time I put into making my business successful is more than worth it! I am passionate and happy, which translates into a happy home and family life.
What’s next for you and your business?
Things have been going so well that I’m hopeful I’ll be in a position to open another Studio Barre location two years from now. From there, I’d plan on continuing to grow by adding more locations as we become more successful, adding jobs and giving my current employees the opportunity to grow with us.