Dance Studio Tapped as OnDeck Small Business of the Month
Brandi Nichols, business owner, dance instructor and mother of three, got her start in dance at 7 years old, performing tap, jazz and ballet in her hometown of Newport, Oregon. Years of dancing and instruction with master dancers followed and Brandi accumulated expertise in everything from West Coast Swing to West African dance. In 2011, she became an instructor at Gotta Dance Studio in Bend.
“I had been teaching dance at Gotta Dance for five years when out of the blue, the owners asked me if I’d be interested in purchasing the Studio,” says Brandi. “I had just completed my Master’s in Education and with my love of dancing, the opportunity to own the business felt like a wonderful fit.”
Brandi discussed buying the business with husband Sean. After some hesitation, the couple made the leap and purchased the existing Gotta Dance Studio in 2016.
As a small business owner, the biggest challenge Brandi faced early on was how to attract new customers. The Gotta Dance Studio had been a long time fixture in the Bend community and was associated with a different type of dance culture and instruction. Brandi worked hard to market her vision for a new type of instructional dance studio, but start-up costs ran high. She realized she needed additional capital fast.
“After a few days of searching online, I found OnDeck and decided to apply. Their application process was really easy and everyone I interacted with was very helpful,” says Brandi. “Once approved, we received the line of credit funds on the same day via our business debit card. We feel very lucky to have found OnDeck and its instant funding capability.”
Brandi used the line of credit from OnDeck to pay down expenses and make investments in marketing. She also fixed the air conditioner and the Gotta Dance storefront sign. With bills paid and a few maintenance holes plugged, Brandi was now able to concentrate on attracting new students.
Today, Gotta Dance has 10 instructors and approximately 250 new students. The studio offers a wide selection of classes, from Contemporary to Ballet and Musical Theater. Its most popular class is Pre-Hip Hop, for children ages 5-7.
“My main vision is to create a large school for performing arts,” says Brandi. “We are currently collaborating with Ovation Performing Arts in Bend, to add dance to their classes in voice and acting. I would love to see this school become a center for instruction in dance, music and acting. The hope is that Bend will become a true hub for people who are looking to learn and advance in the arts.”
To learn more about Brandi Nichols and her students at the Gotta Dance Studio and Company, visit: www.gottadancestudioandcompany.com. To see a video of Brandi and students at work in the studio, visit: https://youtu.be/mEXheXbC4G0
“OnDeck is proud to have been there with Instant Funding for Gotta Dance at a crucial time in the growth of their business,” says Andrea Gellert, chief revenue officer, OnDeck. “Brandi’s passion for dance is evident in the joy she brings to teaching children and adults. She has built a thriving small business doing what she loves and is touching the lives of so many people in her community.”