We are proud to introduce you to Brooke, the lovely Mom and performing arts advocate behind Tutu School. Thankfully for all of us, she was already giving our children the gift of ballet before she had children of her own. She opened 3 Tutu schools here in Orange County due to her love of ballet. Now she has 4 schools and a one year old adorable baby girl in tow. She found out really quickly that balancing her business and Mom life was going to be tough. Something had to give, she said. Find out how Brooke asked for help to better manage her work life balance, where her family loves to spend time in Orange County and her one piece of advice for Moms wanting to start their own business.
Can you please share a bit about your family and why you choose to raise your family in Orange County?
My husband and I met our junior year at UC-Irvine. He’s from Orange County and I was born & raised in Wisconsin. After attending college in southern California, there was no doubt I wanted to spend more of my life here. I fell in love with the CA coast and it’s something I want to share with my kids and family forever. My husband and I both spent time outside of Orange County after undergrad, but the weather and familiar feelings of where we met made us want to continue our life together here. Every day we know how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place.
When did you start dancing? And when did you realize that you wanted to be a dancer?
Dancing actually came a little later in my childhood! I wasn’t dancing yet at the ages that we provide classes for at Tutu School. I was a swimmer for the first 10 years of my life because I wanted to do everything my big sister did, but I always loved going to see The Nutcracker and I was drawn to the arts from a young age. I started dance at age 10 and very quickly developed a passion for it. Ballet was always my favorite style of dance to study and I love being able to share that passion with young dancers now!
Why did you decide to start TuTu School in Orange County?
Even though I wasn’t born here, I now consider Orange County my home. I felt drawn to provide an outlet to families eager to put their little ones into activities that supported performing arts. The stars aligned for Orange County to be the place where I could grow as an entrepreneur behind a mission that introduces ballet to children and families in a positive and creative way.
Can you tell us what is the best age and class to start with at TuTu School?
We provide classes for children 18 months – 8 years old. There is no time too early or too late to start within that age range at Tutu School. Our curriculum is built specifically for these early age groups and because enrollment is ongoing, newer students get the opportunity to follow along with dancers who have been taking the class for longer. Our Tutu Teachers are able to challenge each student as needed while providing a fun & creative learning environment.
How has motherhood impacted your work?
I was not prepared to say the least. I am extremely involved in my business through day to day classes, events, and growth at our Tutu School studios. Having a child forced me to take a step back that I wasn’t prepared to do. When my daughter was around four months old, I knew I needed help. I needed to find more time for my business but also help that would support her development as much as I would as a mother. It took me about another month to come to terms with needing help. I wanted to do it all and still do, but I needed to be more flexible. I still struggle with how to balance work and being a mom but each day gets a little better and I’ve learned to ask for help with our daughter & with my business. I’m still new to being a mom, but I’ve been told it evolves overtime. Each age and each stage brings new challenges and new opportunities to grow as a person, mom, entrepreneur and advocate for performing arts. It definitely keeps me on my toes!
What piece of advice would you give Mom’s trying to figure out the first year of Motherhood?
Take it day by day. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Be flexible and know that what is happening today will probably be completely different next week or next month. I’ve found that my husband and I benefit from trying to find the right roles & responsibilities for each of us, but also support each other if roles need to shift.
What advice would you give to other Moms that want to start their own business?
Be prepared to split your time. Your business is your other baby…it takes a lot of time, patience & passion.
What is your favorite thing to do or place to go with your family in Orange County?
We love to enjoy the beach as much as we can. Packing a picnic to spend time on the sand as a family is a very happy place for us.
Where is your favorite date night spot with your husband?
Most recently, our date nights consist of take-out sushi after our daughter goes to sleep. We’re still working on finding time for actual date nights just the two of us and remembering to prioritize this and get a babysitter! We both grew up working in restaurants or had family members who owned restaurants, so we both love going out to one of the many incredible restaurants that Orange County has to offer. We love and appreciate what so many restauranteurs have established in OC.
How can local families find your adorable Tutu School locations?