When QUEST Alumna, Lauren Filocco (Q17), wanted to open a barre studio she “knew it had to be in College Park.” Less than a year later, OpenBarre had its grand opening in February, just off Route One. Barre classes, the focus of the studio, are a combination of yoga, ballet, and pilates and provide a fun, low impact workout for participants. The studio is the kind of place that makes you want to work out; it’s all the best parts of an Instagram gym photo: sunny, bright wood floors, and neat piles of exercise equipment.
While right next to a college, where students have access to gyms on campus, might seem like an odd location to put a fitness studio – it’s one that’s working for OpenBarre. By focusing on the customer experience, a familiar concept to any QUEST student, Lauren and her team have been able to fill a gap in the community. As she points out, if a person goes to Eppley Recreation Center, where group fitness classes are crowded, they have to be comfortable exercising in front of a lot of other people; it’s not a perfect system. “Also,” she laughs, “I lived in Commons – it’s far [away].”
It’s easy to see how QUEST prepares students for entrepreneurial pursuits, but when I asked her how QUEST has influenced her career Lauren actually referenced her full-time work at McCormick. The 490H consulting project really taught her how to be confident when speaking to people who have more technical knowledge of a subject, which is a skill that carried over to her job in procurement.
So how does one go from a job in procurement to opening a fitness studio? Lauren credits a large part to the mentorship received from the owner of the barre studio she frequented, who encouraged her to pursue her idea. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she says, the benefits you receive from the people who are willing to help far outweigh the times people choose not to respond.