Vital Stats: Lisa Druxman, 35, of Stroller Strides
Company: San Marcos, California, business offering group exercise for mothers and babies
2006 Projected Sales: $2 million
It's a biz!: After the birth of her son in 2001, Druxman's decision not to return to her position as general manager for a high-end health club brought about a new quandary: how to work part time, spend time with her newborn and stay fit. The former fitness instructor started a small, neighborhood group-exercise class targeting moms with infants. Through word-of-mouth and local TV publicity, 40 people came to the kickoff class of her second location, in San Diego. Says Druxman, "That's when I knew I had touched on something big."
Family Time: Stroller Strides are hour-long classes taught by certified instructors who combine fast-paced walking with several body-toning stops. The classes take place in parks, near lakes or even inside malls, depending on the location. While working out is the focus, Druxman maintains children are the number-one priority. Songs and activities are weaved into the class to entertain kids, and mothers of fussy babies are credited a class if they need to leave.
Globe-Trotting: When, a year into the business, one instructor had to move, she convinced Druxman to let her test-market the concept in her new city. Its transplanted success made Druxman realize she had a very special and real opportunity. "There aren't very many careers out there supportive of motherhood," says Druxman. First offering licenses in a few markets, Stroller Strides now has over 100 franchisees nationwide, with 300 U.S. locations and one in Canada. International expansion is underway. New classes are in the works, and products like a Stroller Strides stroller are already available in stores and through online retailers. Druxman is also penning a book on fit and healthy motherhood.