We caught up with the brilliant and insightful Isha Hutchinson a few weeks ago and have shared our conversation below.
Isha, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What’s been the best thing you’ve ever seen (or done yourself) to show a customer that you appreciate them?
Our class format is 1st hour, beginner dances, 2nd hour is intermediate/advanced line dancing. Some of the advanced line dances are the most challenging dances in the industry and very challenging to master. When we first started, we had students that would see the dances and refuse to even attempt to do them. We created a “Challenge of the Month” program where we would teach the dance for a month and if they were able to accomplish doing the dance we would give them a button that said “I met the 410 Line Dancers Challenge of the Month” (C.O.M.). We would get different colors and designs and quickly found that students of all skill levels and ages (our crowd is primarily 40 and up) would work very hard to get the C.O.M. dances and the recognition/awards. We decided based on a trip to a running store that we should come up with medals for the end of year and make it sort of an adult dance recital with our “Showstopper Challenge”. We tell the students that they have to get each of the dances but we primarily are just wanting to encourage the bravery to attempt them regardless of their individual talent. Since we had so many students that are supportive, we decided to come up with awards for our students and created an event called our Annual Customer Appreciation & Awards event. Each year, we give our most dedicated students awards but not only do we do that, we write a personalized speech for each recipient, have a poem or quote for each of them and we give them their medals as well as their awards there. We have asked students to come and give a speech since some are afraid of public speaking and it offers them a chance to speak publicly. These awards are THE ONLY awards for students within soul line dancing ANYWHERE, and the personalized speeches make students highly emotional and extremely appreciative.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
Founded on June 30, 2014, Isha Hutchinson opened 410 Line Dancers to be a place that is focused on fun, equity and inclusion. In 6 short years, 410 Line Dancers has become the top line dance company in the State of Texas. Our slogan “No Cliques, No Drama…Just GREAT Dancing!!!” sets the expectation that inclusion is mandatory. Class has grown from being a place to dance and have fun to several things including A place for people to meet friends, fight depression, live out their dance aspirations, be celebrated and honored, be included, and belong. 410 Line Dancers performs at minimum 8 times per year (often more). Our performers are comprised of the instructors and students, and not only serve to build brand awareness of 410 Line Dancers and our class, but also serves to build confidence in our students, positive participation within our community, encourage growth within both our group, and within the dance community.
sha found that the best way to unwind from a stressful job was to dance. He would go to local clubs in Dallas where they played the most popular line dances. He quickly found that he was excluded/ostracized from some groups.
After realizing that others may be experiencing the same things, on June 30, 2014, 410 Line Dancers was started in order to create a FAMILY of people that are INCLUDED, ACCEPTED, and are UPLIFTED.
We developed our slogan “No Cliques, No Drama…Just GREAT Dancing” in order reinforce our expectations and culture.
Our class has grown from being a place to dance and have fun to several things including:
A place for people that are new in town to come and meet friends
A place people to fight depression
A place for people healing from injuries
to become interactive
A place people can live out their dance
A place people have a family
A place people are honored and celebrated
A place people can belong at one of the top line dancing companies in the United States.
Today, 410 Line Dancers performs 8 – 12 times a year, travels to line dancing
events all over the United States, is hired to host corporate events, team building events,
and private parties.
Students that attend dance classes have varying degrees of skills and as such, can learn material at different paces. There will always be students who learn more slowly than their peers. W e adjust the learning material to accommodate students to ensure that we maximize their motivation to learn the dances.
Inclusive is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. We are an inclusive group that promotes a sense of belonging, where we practice respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of our students.
We have two rules to ensure that our environment is inclusive:
A: Students are treated with respect: A culture of inclusiveness is rooted in respect. 410 Line Dancers students are treated with and are required to treat others with civility and decency.
B: Students are valued for their strengths: Each student brings a unique talent and strength to our culture and we value each person for those strengths
Our performances have received national attention. Besides appearing on television several times, producers from America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, and World of Dance have solicited participation from 410 Line Dancers to their programming. 410 Line Dancers realizes that many of its’ students come from diverse backgrounds and have varying reasons, goals and objectives for their participation.
Some 410 Line Dancers’ students are new transplants to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and attend classes in an effort to find fun family activities, and to meet great people.
Many that attend are recovering from physical injuries and dancing (or working out is a part of their rehabilitation process).
There are others that are recovering from emotional injuries (such as depression, or a personal tragedy) and attend classes in an effort to interact and get back to having fun.
Some are looking for ways to get active and fit, and do not prefer going to a gym, joining a running or biking club, but we try to offer an alternative.
Any advice for managing a team?
For us, we celebrate our regular customers’ birthdays, and celebrate our loyal customers with our customer appreciation and awards event. Usually, I will make sure we have an annual calendar with our activities on them and I send an invite to the students when birthdays are coming up. I will select a restaurant in town, make reservations, and purchase a gift for each person individually. The other students have come up with the idea of giving the gift of our merchandise which means they purchase items from us to give their peers. This is a win win for all of us. This gives tremendously high morale and has turned into a lucrative revenue stream.
Secondly our customer appreciation and awards event we give students the only awards in the industry for students. We give personalized speeches on what we think of each of the individuals students. Being seen for whom they are, and not for how well or poorly they dance makes the morale untouchable..
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
I think we have ben incredibly consistent with marketing, professionalism, and class. We are always positive and we have tried to live by every word we state on our mission vision purpose goals and objectives. We believe we are servant leaders and we try to make sure we enable our class to be a safe haven for students to be vulnerable without being judged. We try to be about the people FIRST. We operate as though if we are consistent with our positive disposition, patient, uplifting, etc, people will see the consistency. We have concentrated on being consistent and that has built and maintained our reputation within the market.
- Website: https://www.410linedancers.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/410linedancers/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/410linedancers/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/18053515/admin/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/410linedancers
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/410LineDancers
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/410-line-dancers-coppell
Marlo Hutchinson Isha Hutchinson