How Scott Harris founded Revolution Dancewear with a minor coup from his family’s business

Scott Harris, founder and chief creative officer, Revolution Dancewear

Scott Harris, founder and chief creative officer, Revolution Dancewear

Private Equity/Venture Capital Backed

WINNER

Revolution Dancewear knows the meaning of repeat customer. Since 2008, the company has retained an astounding 86.5 percent of its top 500 customers.

That’s a good showing for a business that was started in a basement in 1996. Scott Harris founded the company, now a leading designer and marketer of dancewear, costumes and footwear that sells directly to dance studios in the U.S. and Canada and directly to studios and consumers in Europe.

Those impressive facts had their origins with Harris’s experiences as a lifelong entrepreneur. He co-founded a radio station during high school and then a home security business during college. After college, he joined his family’s third-generation dancewear manufacturing business.

When his vision for the dancewear business differed from his family’s vision, he left the security of that business and founded Revolution Dancewear. His plan was to bring an innovative business model to the dancewear industry and to provide the ultimate customer experience. Harris’s goals also were to provide superior product quality and instant shipping directly to dance studios — still key goals of the company.

Introducing an innovative business model did not come without challenges. Harris’s vision was to sell his dancewear products directly to dance studios, since they were the ones best suited to determine what students’ needs were. At first, he had to convince studio owners to sell dancewear. Many studio owners are dancers and teachers first — and business operators second. Few had ever sold dancewear, and many were concerned that it would distract them from their passion to teach.

He taught them that dancewear could improve their bottom line while simultaneously improving the experience of their customers by allowing studios to become a one-stop location for dance education and supplies.

Harris promised his dance studio customers that Revolution Dancewear products would be exclusively distributed through dance studios and not directly to consumers. He has kept this promise throughout 17 years of business.

How to reach: Revolution Dancewear, www.revolutiondance.com

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