Russian Pointe® Retailer: Prima Dancewear
“Having that brand has brought a lot of people into our store,” she says. “People come from up to an hour away because we offer Russian Pointes®.”
Carrying Russian Pointe® shoes increases calls to the store, too. She says she recently shipped a pair to someone in Florida who was looking for a hard-to-find size and model.
Ashleigh-Dean says she appreciates Russians Pointe®’s design and durability. “I love their sleek look. They’ve served us really well for a lot of our dancers that were just breaking through every shoe. They have a great lifespan,” she says. “It’s a shoe that I can recommend that will look great on their foot and will really last.”
A native of Modesto, CA, Ashleigh-Dean studied ballet throughout high school and majored in dance at the University of California, Irvine. After college, she performed with local companies until she was injured in a car accident, cutting her professional dance career short.
At the time, the school where she was teaching on the side went up for sale, and Ashleigh-Dean decided to buy it, becoming a dance studio owner at the age of 24.
Today, she continues to run the studio, South Bay Dance Center, which serves about 500 dancers, as well as Prima Dancewear, a retail store located on the opposite side of the same shopping center.
When she opened the store about two and a half years ago, part of her goal was to provide dance supplies that other stores overlooked. That’s why she now carries everything from hair nets to hair pins, makeup and items for sore feet like foot tape and corn pads. And, of course, she also offers a wide variety of pointe shoes.
As a former dancer, Ashleigh-Dean says she gets a lot of satisfaction from helping dancers find the perfect shoe that will help them succeed. She says dancers will bring their old pointe shoes into the store, and she’ll analyze where the shoes have worn down to determine how to fit the dancers properly in a new pair.
“It’s kind of a project to find the perfect shoe for these dancers,” she says.
Ashleigh-Dean says it’s a joy to work at the store, where girls are excited to buy new outfits and parents are snapping pictures. Plus, as the mother of three boys ages 10, 8 and 5, she loves spending time in a store that is decorated with a pink chandelier and a purple couch. “I get to buy all the girly clothes I don’t get to have at home,” she laughs.