Name: Natalie Burrowes
Business: Soca’Robics® Fitness
Location: Windsor Mill, Maryland, U.S.
Industry: Healthcare, Wellness & Fitness
Reason for starting? I created a class called Soca’Robics in 2002 because I wanted to combine my fitness passion with my favorite music and my Caribbean culture. There were no other Caribbean-based fitness classes in the area, and this was perfect for me. I could work out and hear my favorite music at the same time. I also wanted to introduce the music to people who may not have been familiar with reggae or soca music. Once they tried a class or two, they were easily hooked. As time went on, I taught at other gyms and fitness centers, and after 14 years I decided it was time to give Soca’Robics a home of its own. The Soca’Robics Fitness Studio will open on January 1, 2017. There I will continue to teach the class as well as other group fitness classes catering to both men and women.
How do you define success? My definition of success is being able to do what I love to do and to see how happy it makes other people as well. I feed off my members in each class and to see them reach their fitness goals by taking the Soca’Robics classes. That to me is success. My goal is to help those who may be a little shy about dancing to be more comfortable. Seeing them forget about their surroundings and just have fun dancing gives me the motivation to keep going.
Biggest success: My biggest success so far has been able to pursue fitness full time. I’ve always worked a regular job and taught classes part time. In June 2015 I made a decision to pursue fitness full time. My second biggest success is the opening of Soca’Robics Fitness Studio in January 2017.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Years ago, when I first started teaching, all I needed was a space. Most marketing was done by the studio or gym. As time went on, I took more control of the marketing, as I knew the end goal was to have a studio of my own. Early marketing included street teams leaving flyers on cars and door to door. With social media now, along with a website, the marketing has gotten easier. Word of mouth has also become a great tool for me as well. The members come to class and enjoy it, so they share it with their friends and family. Being able to pursue fitness full time has also given me the opportunity to spend more time with my 5-year-old son.
Who is your most important role model? My role model is my mother. We are all from Jamaica and with nine other siblings, my mother made the decision to come to the U.S. to make a better life for us. She worked hard for us to succeed in life, so I made a plan to work just as hard to show her how much I appreciate all that she’s done for us.
Edited by The Story Exchange