This story is part of our 1,000 stories campaign. What’s your story?

Name: Darby Brender

Business: Fusion Fitness, fitness studios in the Kansas City metro area

Industry: Health & Beauty

Location: Kansas City, Kansas, United States

Reason for starting: I was passionate about exercise …. not just be boppin around the gym – but really working out hard. Seeing results and having fun listening to music while doing. This made me feel so much better about myself and I knew it would make other women feel better about themselves. I started a small studio and taught class the way I worked out – I played the music that inspired me – loud… and people seemed to like it. Ladies were getting results and classes started filling up. We created a health minded community. We expanded. Opened other locations. Made videos. Made clothes. We are still growing and trying to reach as many people as we can.

Related: Read about another fitness expert who turned her passion into a business here.

How do you define success? Making your passion your profession. Setting goals and accomplishing them on time. Seeing other people succeed with your lead. Being recognized in your community as a leader. I have had goals of a world wide fitness business.  We are beginning to accomplish that goal by selling our DVD’s all over the world.  We get orders from Asia, Australia, and all over Europe. I also had a goal of being able to offer 2 specific people full times positions with our company, that goal has been accomplished and now we are working to further our full time employment.  Another goal was to be recognized in a national brand magazine.  Shape Magazine has now featured our studio and workouts various times.  It’s fun to see the growth of our accomplishments!

Biggest Success: Impacting our community in a healthful and positive manner. Helping our city loose over 8000 pounds and seeing the smiles light up on our clients that have discovered more life. Growing a community of like minded people who are eager to support one another through tragedy and triumph has also been our biggest success. In particular, one of our instructor’s son was diagnosed with Leukemia last year. Our community of instructors and clients bonded together and formed a team that has helped raise over $25,000 for the local LLS chapter and over $60,000 for a charity that helps make hospital stays more comfortable for families staying at Children’s Mercy.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Growing Pains. It’s tough to grown a business, add employees, add locations – but still keep a business small and personal. You have to take a leap of faith nearly every quarter – know when to expand, when to reign in, and and when to sit still. Taxes are a huge challenge, I think all small business owners would agree. New York just rolled out a huge tax incentive for small businesses – allowing no income tax for business owners in New York for 10 years, that is some major incentive!

Related: How Often Do I Need to File Taxes?

Who is your most important role model? Our team. As a group they provide inspiration and a fierce “can do” attitude.  The positive energy runs like wild fire through our studio. Whether its positivity towards a fitness goal, career goal, or family goal…. you can count on this group to always bring your spirits and hopes up!

Twitter   @fusionfitnesskc

Tell us your story!
Read about another Health & Beauty entrepreneur here

Edited by The Story Exchange