Freestyle Dancewear owner Jo Steadman wasn't sure of the path she wanted to take when contemplating a career in dance.
Starting late in life as a dancer, Steadman felt her opportunities as a careerwoman in the art form were limited. Enlightened to the idea of the fashion end of dance, she knew that she had her chance.
"I never dreamt of owning a retail store," Steadman said. "It's awesome and scary at the same time."
Freestyle Dancewear owner Jo Steadman fixes a shoe on display in the shoe room.
Clothing merchandise for dancers is on display for purchase in Freestyle Dancewear.
"Dancers like to pick their gear," Steadman said. "I don't consider myself a fashionista, but in the dance world, I know what's hot and what works."
Freestyle Dancewear, 96 N. Main St., Hughesville, opened in July with guest attendant Kameron Brink, a finalist from "So You Think You Can Dance?" who held a meet and greet.
"That was a huge, huge thing," Steadman said, adding that she hopes to do something bigger on the one-year anniversary.
Steadman added that with lots of dance studios in the area, a place dancers could go to to shop for their gear was something she feels was convenient if not necessary.
"It's been great," Steadman said. "We needed a store like this in the community."
Self-educating herself in the realm of entreprenuership and owning a business, Steadman was able to develop what she wanted to market and how to stylize her shop to reflect the dance studio.
With dancers being very visual, Steadman said, she wanted the layout of her store to be very line-oriented, which reflects the art form. Also, she places large mirrors throughout the store to heighten the connection to the studio.
Using bright colors and modern lighting to accentuate the clothing, Steadman wanted to create a "hip, young place."
"It's creative," she added. "It's the creative release that's very important."
The creativity brought to the store is an imitation to the creativity on the dance floor.
And creativity is something shoppers will have a chance to experiment with when choosing from the clothing lines Steadman inventories.
Freestyle Dancewear houses two of the largest lines, BLOCH and Capezio.
Also, urbanwear for hip-hop dancing is available as well, such as Sugar and Bruno, Wildchild Nation and Nappytabs.
Nappytabs, one of Steadman's favorite lines, is a line developed by husband and wife choreographers from "So You Think You Can Dance?"
While the majority of the store's clientele are female, Steadman carries men's dancewear gear too.
"The age of customers is across the board," she said. "From toddlers to ladies who do ballroom dancing."
Steadman said that her goal is to reach the studios around the area, to work with instructors to advise and inspire dancers on how to move forward, and eventually expand her market into those featuring nightclub clothing.
Also, the idea for holding educational seminars to help dancers understand how to audition and eat properly is another aspect of the store she would like to add.
Steadman said that she is searching for graphic designers to help her get started on developing her own clothing line.
"That's something I'm working on for the next year," she said.
As an avid dancer, Steadman understands the physical and emotional challenges that comes along with the art form.
Not only does it provide challenges emotionally and physically, dancing provides a platform for self-expression and style, which Steadman feels fashion is a supplemental tool to that expression.
"It's a way to express yourself through style," Steadman said. "Style makes you feel different."