I enjoy a variety of workouts – I run, walk, practice yoga, and more (I also just sit on the couch and eat, by the way). I need to move my body every day for my sanity. Not only is exercise good for my body, but it also allows me a chance to get out of the house and spend time on myself.
One of my favorite places to work out in Columbia is barre3. I have been going to barre3 Lake Murray since they opened. When the world shut down in March 2020 because of COVID-19, I was concerned about all sorts of things – toilet paper, the health of my friends and family, and how in the world I was going to stay sane with all of my favorite places shut down.
Lauren Truslow, the owner of barre3 Columbia, barre3 Lake Murray, and two locations of The Nail barre, literally saved my sanity. Every day, I joined her (and other barre3 members) on Facebook Live for a workout. She made the workouts hard. She made them funny. She created a space where it was okay to feel sad, angry, bored – all the things. I am so grateful for her and the community she has created! Even before COVID-19, I admired Truslow for her business sense and the obvious love she has for her family.
I wanted to learn more about how she manages four businesses and a large family, so I asked her a few questions.
Tell me a little about yourself before barre3/The Nail barre. Did you always want to own your own business?
I have grown up in the family business, so entrepreneurship is in my blood. My mom and dad bought my gymnastics studio when I was young when it was failing, and our whole family had to jump in and help! I hung leotards, taught little kid classes, refilled the vending machines, and worked the front desk. Fast forward to post-college and I started teaching group fitness. After a few years, I decided I wanted to open my own business and follow my dreams of being a working mom with flexibility.
Tell me about your family.
I met my sweet hubby in college, and we have been together 12 years this May. Neal and I have four beautiful kiddos- Peyton-8, Harper and Emma- 5, and Gunner-3!
Talk to me about the history of barre3/ The Nail barre in Columbia.
I opened my first barre3 in 2014 with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. We grew quickly and had lots of clients driving from the lake. Less than two years after the first studio opened, we found our second location, and barre3 Lake Murray was born. Life was busy with my four little ones and two studios, but I kept having this feeling about a business that was on my mind a few years ago. The Nail barre had a folder in my nightstand on all the things I wanted in a nail salon. One day I just decided to do it. Once my mind is made up it is full steam ahead. The first location of The Nail barre was opened in June of 2017 and our second location opened in March 2019. Four businesses and four kiddos require a lot of juggling, but I would not have it any other way.
Barre3 has such an amazing “feel” – I truly do not know what I would do without it and I know I am not alone in that feeling. It is clear that building a community of supportive people is important to you – why?
I am a busy mom and I do not have a lot of me-time. Our studio and our classes give me so much joy, confidence, and a sense of community and self. Over the years I have seen and heard countless stories of what barre3 means to our clients and I feel like it is my job to continue to cultivate it for everyone. I see women create friendships, cry at the end of class when they have an emotional release, get stronger mentally and physically and gain confidence. This is why I do what I do-our studios are truly magic for our clients, staff, and myself.
At the beginning of COVID, how many classes did you share when it was just you popping up on FB Live? What was that like? What is it like to be a business owner during a pandemic?
The week leading up to closure was a lot of emotions and tears. I started filming live classes on our members’ Facebook group that week trying to pivot quickly. Once we closed I was devastated, but vowed to keep our barre3 community moving, laughing and smiling. I was the only one teaching classes because of all of the circumstances and it ended up being over 100 classes, virtual wine tastings, virtual girls nights, and virtual date nights. I went to the empty studio every day, turned on the lights and camera, and virtually sweated with my barre3 community.
You have four children, a spouse, and four businesses. How in the world do you keep everything balanced?
I am a super planner and love organization. I prioritize my hours, days, weeks, etc. I do have long days for sure, but I truly love what I do and the people I do it with. My hubby and kids come first. I want to pick them up from school, take them to practice, have dinner at night and tuck them in at night. In turn, I do work a lot at night and all the hours in between, but it is all worth it!
What are your favorite trips to take with your family – local and further away.
A favorite family trip is Disney! We go every year with matching Disney shirts, all the princess meet and greets, and magic at every turn. Our favorite place in South Carolina is Palmetto Bluff. We ride bikes, roast s’mores, play family games, take golf cart rides singing and laughing and connecting with nature.
What are your favorite restaurants to visit with your family or on a date night?
My kiddos love spaghetti and breadsticks and their go-to is always Za’s. When Neal and I get a date night we love to spread the small business love – Motor Supply, Terra, Tombo’s, and Hall’s. No matter what we always love to support our local restaurants.
My main takeaway from my interview with Lauren is that you have to prioritize. Put first what is most important to you, plan, and be sure to have a little (or a lot) of fun too.