Russian Pointe Retail affiliate Seminar
It was my very great pleasure to welcome 16 Retail Affiliates to our corporate headquarters on Sunday, July 12, for our first Russian Pointe seminar in several years. Seminars are designed to help dance storeowners increase their expertise in both business and the challenging task of pointe shoe fitting, as part of Russian Pointe's global policy of providing education and resources as well as products.
RAs traveled to Chicago from states including Louisiana, Georgia, California, Ohio and Illinois for a full day of professional development, networking and camaraderie. We received wonderful feedback on our presentations and new products, and, as always, we enjoyed meeting with the amazing people who work so hard to bring Russian Pointe products to dancers throughout North America.
When we first started offering seminars, we hosted them in our Russian Pointe Dance Boutique. The boutique was such a beautiful, immersive venue! Recently, my staff reminded me that it was time to restart our seminar program in our new headquarters, and I was delighted with the results.
The value of an event like this was reinforced to me by a storeowner who has attended several seminars and will probably continue to attend. It was a good reminder that no matter how much experience we have, there is always something new to learn, especially when we have the chance to hear different perspectives.
Highlights of the day included a presentation and Q&A with Dr. Lisa Schoene, who has lent her talents to Russian Pointe before, in valuable contributions to our Parents’ Guide and website resources. Dr. Schoene talked about common injuries and how to avoid them, using a handy model of the foot’s bone structure. One of her most interesting points was about the importance of a proper fit in ballet slippers. We all know that ill-fitting pointe shoes can cause problems, but she explained that too-tight slippers can exacerbate bunions, while too-loose slippers can cause damage from too much movement in the shoe. The RAs had many detailed questions for Dr. Shoene, which she answered brilliantly.
Working with the Russian Pointe team, RAs especially enjoyed a hands-on fitting session. While fitting themselves and each other, with the full range of Russian Pointe pointe shoes at their fingertips, these storeowners were like kids in a candy shop!
My staff also spent time with our guests showing off our new products. Most of the RAs had seen prototypes at trade shows or photos in our 2015 catalog, but this was an exciting opportunity to get a close-up look at the full range of products, including those that weren’t yet available at the winter trade shows. Everyone loved Vivante (stretch slipper), Motion (jazz shoe) and Kitri (character shoe), plus the gorgeous Stages of the World collection. They admired the Stages of the World tees worn by the Russian Pointe staff – these shirts really are irresistibly comfortable – and hoped to get luggage tags for themselves.
The day was a great learning opportunity on so many levels, and everyone who attended – RAs and staff alike – enjoyed the chance to meet, converse and network. I’m already looking forward to our next Russian Pointe seminar.