Growing up in an environment with a cultural bias toward the professions did not stop Lavania turning her passion for dance and fitness into a business which continues to flourish and grow.
What’s your story?
I was born into a conservative Indian family that only encouraged professions like being a doctor, lawyer or a failure. Dance was a strict no and therefore when I started working on my own and funding my own studies, I started to venture into the realm of dance and fitness. I realised my passion only grew stronger from attending classes and then eventually started my company Dance Embassy which has been featured on several international media platforms like Business Insider, Entrepreneur.com, Channelnewsasia etc.
What excites you most about your industry?
The dance and fitness industry is worth billions of dollars. Some make it and some don’t. Those who do run unicorn companies are backed by tech and heavy funding. I have been bootstrapping Dance Embassy since it’s inception 10 years ago and even when Covid hit, while other companies and studios were closing down, Dance Embassy was thriving. I believe the only reason for that is the close community that we have grown. Our classes give people the much needed joy and the hour of escape they need for their sanity and mental wellness.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I am always pushing the boundaries of my business which involves the people who help run it. From my website developers, to my instructors, to my social media managers. Am always asking them what can we do differently, how can we be more creative in what we do. This sets us apart from our competitors. Our clients choose us because we are able to tailor to their needs and add an extra oomph to their expectations. And if ever we do not meet their expectations, we return their money.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
That when you are an entrepreneur, it’s a life sentence. You constantly have to learn and evolve. Even though I have a social media manager, I am still taking courses and learning from the experts to learn how I can make best use of these platforms. I learn as much I can when it comes to running a business effectively. Even if I know I’m investing lots of time and money in this, I look at it as planting seeds for a more successful future.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Entrepreneurship is a learning curve no matter how old you are. I remember sitting in a panel with the owner of Tata himself and even though in his prime years, he humbly shared those words. That stuck by me.
Who inspires you?
There are many who inspire me. I admire people who channel their pain to power and that can be everyday people as well. It’s hard to pinpoint just one name. I am blessed to be surrounded by people who inspire me everyday. Even my 2 year old inspires me with this resilience!
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
That people are always watching what you do. You just have to show up everyday. During the pandemic, a student I knew from years ago said she has been seeing my posts and reached out to tell me that her company is interested in releasing a dance fitness podcast, the first of its kind in the world. That blew me away. We successfully launched it and ever since then, I have told myself that you will not be forgotten. People will find you as long as you show up.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Some events are inevitable. I have had instructors who have tried poaching my clients and setting up businesses replicating every word and service that I provide. Every step in my entrepreneurial journey has been a learning process but I’m not as naïve as I was. As much as I have a great relationship with my current instructors, I do set professional boundaries and this is evident through my working relationship with them.
How do you unwind?
I love quiet time. It’s hard to get quiet time when you have a family. So I love my nights when I go to bed and my early mornings when I start off the day with my bible.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
You don’t grow if you don’t ask for help. When I was relaunching my website and creating my app, I got to a point of standstill because I wasn’t sufficiently tech savvy for what I had envisioned. I sought the help of one of my instructors who’s tech gifted and she helped me through it all.
Everyone in business should read this book:
I’ve read many business books but the one that has stuck with me is the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferris. I plan to revisit the book again.
Shameless plug for your business:
If you are looking for a happy and joyful community to be a part of, Dance Embassy is the place to be! We live it up like YOLO!
How can people connect with you?
Instagram will be best. @lavaniarosie
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.