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Tired of Making Other People Money, This Entrepreneur Launched the DivaDance Franchise

Jami Stigliano loved dance as a child, so when she decided to build something for herself, she went back to her roots with a flexible dance studio business.

Jami Stigliano, founder and CEO of DivaDance, started the brand after having a realization that she wanted to build something more meaningful for herself. What started as a “hobby business” that she ran by renting existing studio space in New York City has now grown into a 47-unit adult dance class franchise that caters to people wanting to keep the joyful movement of dance in their lives.

Stigliano recently joined 1851 Franchise Publisher Nick Powills on the “Meet the Zor” podcast to dive into her franchising journey and the key differentiators that make DivaDance special.

“I started, when I was a child, creating choreography and dance routines in my bedroom and at slumber parties. Who knew that, many years later, I would turn this into a now-internationally franchised brand?” Stigliano said. “I was looking to transition out of the music business. I was tired of making rappers and pop stars rich and famous, and I looked at my hobby business and said, ‘This needs to be in more cities! Let’s see what we can do with this.’”

When Stigliano first launched the brand, she was leading welcoming, inclusive dance classes out of preexisting studio spaces that she rented in New York City. Her vision for the brand was something more than an instructor-led dance fitness class. DivaDance is for people who have known and loved the joy of dance and want to keep it as a part of their lives.

The model quickly gained traction and soon, people were traveling to New York City for girls’ weekends and bachelorette parties with DivaDance.

“They were saying, ‘Man, I wish we had this in [my city],’ and I always kind of blew it off. This is just in New York; it’s just my hobby,” Stigliano said. “Until I had a moment where, again, I’m looking to exit the music business and I’m like, ‘What if I could?’ Rather than dismissing people that think DivaDance would be great in their city, what if I just looked at this through a different lens?”

As she worked with franchise professionals to launch the franchise model, Stigliano continued to work in the entertainment industry to fund the growth of the franchise. Now, as she grows, she’s offering a flexible model for franchisees who have a similar hustle mentality. 

One of the ways DivaDance stands out is that franchisees are not required to own their own studio building to join the system. Rather, owners can follow the same model Stigliano did as she grew, renting out existing studio spaces to support a growing customer base and solidifying their presence in the market before investing in a brick-and-mortar location. With this, Stigliano is seeking strategic entrepreneurs who want to be a part of the brand’s explosion.

“This is such a great time to be a part of our brand,” she said. “We’re at a beautiful spot where people can still contribute to our growth and be part of an explosion, but we have great systems, great training, a great marketing playbook and an amazing team. It’s a really exciting time to be part of the future of our brand.”

Listen to the full conversation above or by clicking here.