We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassandra Bair and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cassandra, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was inspired to combine my love for God, children, and dance into a calling, while at a leadership conference I attended in Italy in 2005. After returning home, I started teaching dance at my home church, Summit Church. I started once a week to just a few children, while also working toward my Bachelor degree. In May 2008 I graduated from the University of San Diego with my Bachelor’s in Business Administration, and in October of that same year, I partnered with Summit Church to open Blessed Feet Studios as a ministry to serve our community. We started with 20 students and a handful of classes, with a focus on offering affordable and high quality dance classes to those looking for a positive and wholesome dance studio environment. Passionate about infusing a high moral standard into every part of the studio, and combining that with my love for dance and the skills that I developed in college, Blessed Feet Studios was born!
What should our readers know about your business?
We are a recreational arts studio that offers over 35 classes a week each semester in ballet, tap, hip hop, technique, musical theatre, tumbling, and more, for ages 2yrs+. Blessed Feet was created to be a blessing to the community. We are uplifting, excellent, loving, affordable, generous, and age appropriate in all that we do. At Blessed Feet, we firmly believe we have the privilege and joy to be training not just a body, but rather a whole person. That means our class environment is always encouraging, never shaming. We pursue connection with our students, not just performance outcomes. In fact, we have joined several networks of like-minded dance educators, such as More Than Just Great Dancing, and certifying our teachers to YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) standards, to back this up. In business, I have always worked to maintain the heart of a student and I feel it has made me the business woman I am today. I’m always learning and brainstorming and open to ideas for making our studio better. I don’t want to become complacent or stop evolving with the times, and I constantly challenge myself and surround myself with people who challenge me to think outside of those mindsets. I don’t ever want to feel like we’ve ‘arrived’. This is a journey and there are always things we can do to improve. Each year we get better and better! I focus a lot of my time and energy on the details that go on behind the scenes, which are not always seen, but felt. I believe these details have been vital to our success as a studio and have set us apart and made it possible for us to have the impact that we’ve had on our community. When I think back where we started I’m amazed at how our studio has grown. We started with 20 students and have grown to 400 students over the years. It’s not an exaggeration to say that over 70% of our growth has come from word of mouth. It has been made so clear to me that part of our success is due to the fact that families are looking for studios that provide wholesome activities and age appropriate music and costumes. Running a business is definitely not easy and this year has presented some interesting challenges. But we have stayed true to our values and I am proud of how we have navigated this season with prayer and a mindfulness that God is blessing the work we are doing here.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am so blessed to live in San Diego! There is so much to do you’d probably need more than a week! Day one would need to be a beach day, but we’ve gotta stop for coffee first! My favorite coffee shop is Old Cal Coffee in San Marcos where the iced chai is my go-to drink. They’ve also got the best atmosphere! Then we head to the beach and like any SoCal local, we know the important things to look for in a good beach spot (especially if you have kiddos, like me!) would be good parking, bathrooms/showers access, and areas that don’t get too crowded. Our favorite beach spot is just north of the Oceanside pier but we also really love going to Carlsbad by the sea wall, which also happens to be near our favorite mexican food restaurant, Cessy’s. A true beach day just doesn’t feel complete without a good burrito! On days where we are needing a slower pace, one of our favorite things to do is to sleep in and then head to Flower Child in Del Mar for lunch. We love walking around the Flower Hill Promenade, shopping and taking fun pictures. It’s so pretty there! And while we are in the shopping mood, Liv 3 in San Marcos is my favorite place to shop for cute clothes. It’s a locally owned boutique and their style feels so curated and special. After an exciting day of food and shopping, I love being home with my family, making a home cooked meal and watching a movie. And you really can’t visit SoCal without a trip to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure theme park! And for that you probably need more than one day! It’s always such a magical experience. My favorite is to go around the Holidays and see all the Christmas decorations. Downtown Disney is also super fun to walk around and has a ton of great places to eat, so if you can’t afford the parks (or if they still aren’t open because of covid) it’s always a fun spot to visit! And on Sundays, we go to church at Summit Church in San Marcos and get lunch afterward with friends at a great cafe around the corner called Healthy Fresh Cafe. They have amazing smoothies! We feel so blessed to call Southern California home and we try as often as we can to take advantage of the amazing city we live in and enjoy all the amazing places and spaces it has to offer!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate my shoutout to Summit Church, and specifically to Pastors Daniel and Theresa Jones. Blessed Feet Studios started out as (and continues to be) an extension of Summit Church, and we would not exist without them. It was because of Pastors Daniel and Theresa, and their support and encouragement over the years, that I was able to turn this dream into a reality. They invested both time and money to help make Blessed Feet the studio what it is today and even turned our church warehouse into a dance studio, which we still use today! They pushed me to dream bigger and their faith in me has pushed me beyond what I could have achieved on my own. It’s because of their support that I was able to realize that we could operate on a much larger scale, and over time, open up our studio to bless more kids than I ever thought possible. I would love to give my amazing team of teachers some recognition too. Blessed Feet wouldn’t be the same without them and each brings something so special to the table. Lastly, my dedication wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my amazing husband Chris! I would definitely not be where I am today without his love and support.