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Strides for New Mothers
Southern California native, Lisa Druxman, has had a passion for physical fitness ever since she was a child. Druxman’s father is a psychologist, and his discussions about motivation and the power of the mind sparked a curiosity within her about why women spend so much time and energy dieting instead of focusing on exercise and the positive changes it brings. In satisfying her curiosity, Druxman got her Masters Degree in psychology with an emphasis in exercise adherence from San Diego University, expecting her work as a fitness instructor and personal trainer to culminate in a career in fitness management.
Druxman was on the fitness career track, helping women make the choice to be healthy and strong, when she happily got pregnant. As they say, a baby changes everything, and suddenly the thought of leaving her infant while she worked (even to work-out) wasn’t so appealing anymore. Yet, she wanted to lose her baby weight and being a stay-at-home mom in expensive San Diego County wasn’t really an option, so she had to figure something out or face going back to work full-time.
While taking her baby for a walk in a jogging stroller during her maternity leave one day, Druxman decided to create a fitness routine for herself, and a light bulb went off in her head! If she could create a workout to help lose her own baby weight, she could offer it to other new mothers as well.
Druxman developed the idea to include a formatted class that offers new mothers not only the chance to exercise, but to do it with benefit to the child as well, so she added songs and nursery rhymes for the children. Also, most new mothers are unsure of themselves, so advice from an instructor and other mothers on how to handle common situations from sleeping through the night to teething and up through potty training is welcome and gives the mothers a chance to talk as they walk. She decided to call the business Stroller Strides.
Druxman started by promoting a class in her neighborhood and got responses from four other moms. Word spread and soon a local TV station came to interview her. Within days, she had over 75 calls and emails asking for information. Calling on other certified fitness instructors she knew, Druxman began setting up classes in other neighborhoods. To help participants feel more like a group, Druxman created adorable t-shirts which became very popular, so she added workout clothes, exercise aids and even a top-of-the-line jogging stroller she helped design.
By the end of 2002 Druxman had 12 locations and over 1000 moms participating. She started getting calls from fitness instructors who were interested nationwide, so when one of her best instructors moved to Monterey, Druxman provided her with a license, class formats, marketing materials, and administrative assistance. When the Monterey instructor duplicated the formula successfully, Druxman knew she could take the business nationwide. Stroller Strides’ growth was exponential with its first 10 licenses selling out immediately. Currently, Stroller Strides is available in over 200 cities nationwide and has been featured on The Today Show and in Woman’s Day, Pregnancy and Self magazines.
The Small Business Professors' Words of Wisdom
Lisa Druxman tapped into a waking market in America – moms. She did it in two ways. Her business provides a service that new moms both want and need, but it also provides an opportunity for women to have a career that is supportive of motherhood. It is a business opportunity that is rewarding and stimulating, has a positive influence in communities and society alike, while only requiring a part-time schedule convenient for mothers.
Druxman practices what she teaches, bringing her 3 month-old infant with her to a recent meeting with a mall management company to work out arrangements for Stroller Strides classes during bad weather. She talks about working during fringe time and calls her early morning work time, “The 5:00 am Club”. Druxman wants women to place their emphasis on being good mothers, but is committed to the vision of flexibility, multi-tasking and organization as the key to having a fulfilling business life as well.
- Case History: Stroller Strides www.strollerstrides.com
- Entrepreneur’s Strategy: Provide a service and a business opportunity to new mothers.
- Could This Work For Me? If you could have a service provided to you, what would it be and how much would you be willing to pay? Are there others like you? If so, you may have a viable business opportunity.
Word spread and soon a local TV station came to interview her. Within days, she had over 75 calls and emails asking for information.