As a native New Jersey soccer and lacrosse player at Princeton University, Dana Falconi set out to improve her training and created Bandleball Exercise Handles®. She’s most proud of the “unexpected path” that Bandleballs has taken her on and bringing SandBarre, a barre-inspired summer fitness class, to the Jersey shore. We’re inspired by her dedication to making other women feel good about themselves while training safely, and her support of the Brendan Borek High Tide Memorial Fund for families of children with pediatric cancer. She sat down with NJMOM to discuss her plans to expand Bandleballs and her favorite place to vacation in New Jersey.
NJMOMpreneur & Co-creator of Bandleballs Dana Falconi
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Dana: Bandleball Exercise Handles® make resistance band training safer and more effective. Unlike traditional handles that tie or buckle into place, Bandleballs thread directly onto a flat band, allowing for quick tension adjustment and smooth transitions between moves. They are designed to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand and facilitate 360-degree mobility and neutral wrist alignment. This combination is completely unique and unlocks an untapped training potential for flat resistance bands. Flat Bands are an interesting exercise tool. On one hand, they are in every store with a fitness aisle and all over the Internet. Yet, when you Google “flat band training,” you’ll find boring single-plane moves. There has been no innovation. What makes Bandleball Resistance Training (BRT) so exciting is its potential to not just reinvigorate but also reinvent “flat band training.” Whether for individual workouts at home or group fitness programming, BRT is versatile, effective, and portable.
Trust your gut and take notes of every positive conversation you have surrounding your idea.” – Dana Falconi, NJMOMpreneur
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Dana: Truly, Megan and I fell into this journey organically. Bandleballs were created to solve a problem we were experiencing when using a flat band: grip discomfort. We then created SandBarre, a barre-inspired summer fitness class based in Avalon/Stone Harbor, NJ, to test market our idea. The original Bandleball prototypes were even hand-made in our garages! We knew we had something special when SandBarre grew. Over time, the positive feedback from this beautiful community of women inspired us to bring Bandleballs to market.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Dana: Co-Creating Bandleballs and thereafter, SandBarre, has made me realize that I don’t just love fitness. I love helping others to love fitness. That was something I had no idea was inside me. So to be able to merge this lifelong passion for fitness and a newfound passion for helping others to lead healthier and more active lives is very special.
NJMOM: What is your background in your business expertise?
Dana: My fitness expertise is derived from a lifelong passion for sports. I graduated from Princeton University and was a member of the Women’s Soccer and Lacrosse Teams. After working several years in NYC for a large sports and entertainment complex, I shifted gears and went to law school. It was when my children were born that I chose to stay home. I am a firm believer that the amazing and sometimes crazy experience of being a mom positively contributes to all of our individual expertise.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Dana: Megan and I often refer to this venture as our “unexpected path.” To have created a fitness tool, figured out how to manufacture it, and then brought it to market through a successful Kickstarter Campaign is an accomplishment of which we are both very proud.
NJMOM: What is something few people know about you?
Dana: I have a small notebook on my nightstand that I use to jot down thoughts I have in the middle of the night. In those times when you are sort of asleep but your mind is still going… I’m certain I’m not the only one who does this, but I’ve actually become quite adept at legibly writing on unlined paper in the dark.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year – personally and professionally?
Dana: We are so excited to have recently launched Bandleballs in a 10th studio! As more studio owners and instructors are introduced to Bandleball Resistance Training (BRT), we see a need to provide an online community for continuing education and content. There are so many innovative ways to integrate BRT into classes and creating that roadmap will help instructors to keep clients constantly challenged with new sequences and moves.
NJMOM: What charitable cause are you most passionate about?
Dana: Through SandBarre, we have had the pleasure of working with a local charitable organization called the Brendan Borek High Tide Memorial Fund, which provides access to care services to families of pediatric cancer patients of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We created a series of special SandBarre classes entitled #WomenSupportingWomen and invited fellow female entrepreneurs to join us. The fantastic Shoshana Vitale of 6ABC Fitness co-instructed a class, and the ladies of Beautycounter and Lululemon Avalon came (two favorites of ours!). All the proceeds benefitted Brendan’s Fund. I loved every moment of these events and am so excited to continue to bring together empowering women for such a wonderful local cause.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Dana: I think the best piece of advice my mom (or any mom ever gives for that matter) is to treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s pretty simple but undeniably powerful and as relevant in business as it is in life.
NJMOM: Do you have a favorite quote you live by? Why is this quote so important to you?
Dana: When I was in high school, I read a poem by Robert Frost that ended by saying,
Let the night be too dark for me to see into the future. Let what will be, be.” – Robert Frost
It really stuck with me. Whether as a young adult grappling with college and looming career choices or a new mom navigating parenthood, it brought a sense of serenity in the uncertainty.
NJMOM: What are your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?
Dana: Without a doubt, my favorite place to spend time with family is down the shore in Avalon/Stone Harbor. My parents have a home there so the girls and I spend time in the summer enjoying it. My husband comes on weekends and then for vacation. Megan, my brother, nephews, and niece are there a ton as well. I can’t imagine a more perfect summer tradition.
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Dana: Having three beautiful daughters is such a joy. I love spending time with each of them and am amazing at how different their personalities can be.
NJMOM: What are your favorite businesses in New Jersey?
Dana: When the weather is warm, we love to go to Nomad Pizza in Hopewell Borough. The girls play outside while Kyle and I enjoy wine on a patio overlooking a lovely vegetable garden. You feel like you’ve been transported abroad. Of course, the pizza is great too!
NJMOM: Where do you reside and vacation in New Jersey?
Dana: We live in the same town in which I grew-up, Pennington, NJ and enjoy vacationing down the shore in Avalon.
NJMOM: What advice might you have for a fellow NJMOMpreneur who is just starting out?
Dana: Trust your gut and take notes of every positive conversation you have surrounding your “idea.” You will confront obstacles, especially when you are outside your comfort zone. One thing I did (and still do) is keep detailed notes of every positive conversation I have had about Bandleballs. I can’t tell you how many times I go back to my notes and re-read them. It’s like a refuel. Trying to start your own business can be overwhelming and those records of positive conversations help to keep you moving forward.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms in New Jersey?
Dana: If you are a studio owner or someone just passionate about fitness and interested in learning more about how to integrate BRT into your classes/workouts, let us know. We would love to speak with you!