There are a thousand different ways people open a business. Some are purposeful like mine, some are by accident, some just happen over time. I was very intentional with opening mine. I knew exactly what I wanted to open, how I wanted to create the culture and what my vision for every step of it was. So intentional it is annoying to others. Some people do it because no one else is, some do it to make money, some do it because they are so passionate about it they can’t NOT. I picked Pure Barre specifically because it was something that changed me and gave me so much. I wanted to give back. I wanted to give this gift to others.
There are tons of ways to be a franchise owner. A lot of people do it for the money. They look at the financial projections of that particular chain and markets around the world and it is an investment, much like the stock market, or owning rental homes. Shaq owns like over 300 businesses (at least he did in a 2019 if he has not sold them), I don’t know his life, but I imagine he has not visited them all, I imagine he has not even been in the towns some of them are in. I wanted to be a little different than that. When I started this I still had a vision of continuing my full time job. I imagined I would be a teacher and come visit the studio and own it but float above it. I realized quickly, that was not my style (I am too controlling) and that is not what I believed. I wanted to walk every path of the business, know every job, work every hour and understand what I was asking people to do if I asked them to work a shift.
I can talk about that more later, who I wanted to be as a business owner and how that has been easy or impossible. First, lets start with Why Pure Barre?
As you might remember, I have been a fitness junkie. I have loved it all and looked to so many places. The first week I tried PB I thought, not that impressive. And if you only take one class you will be confused. I stole my first 4 classes. Literally Megan (Ogar) Noble is like my spirit angel given to me from a higher power to whisper in my ear my next move. She sent me the tweet that got me my first job and gave me 4 Pure Barre Classes in Columbia, Missouri after she moved and did not want to lose the credits. (HIGHLY ILLEGAL). Here is what I learned after becoming a Pure Barre Taker:
- This for me was the first workout I saw changes in my body I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. I always wanted that line that goes up the outside of your thigh and never had it ever before PB. I saw arms attached to my body I never thought I would have. My inner thighs stopped rubbing against one another requiring me to need some type of ointment every time I ran a race. It was crazy. So vapidly, I fell in love because it made my body different. I thought that was pretty cool.
- There is something about the class, the teachers and I know now, but trade secrets we cannot share with you, that for some weird reason makes you feel. I did yoga, every day for an entire year, and never felt what I am talking about. When I moved to Indianapolis for 6 short months, I was a mess. I was getting a divorce, I was living in a house I bought that I could barely afford, I thought I was going to have a social network but it is hard, I was battling an eating disorder that popped up out of nowhere. I was depressed. I had terrifying fantasies of self harm desperately seeking relief. I was all of it. The one comfort, was 4 blocks from my adorable home with a leaky basement and a payment I could barely make; a brand new just opened Pure Barre Studio (PB Broad Ripple). I would take class, and at the end during the stretch, I would cry… every single class. No one noticed. But I would cry because I had to go back. The class takes you away from it all for just a moment, but it takes you away from the pain, anxiety, stress, and hatred I had grown for myself. It gave me reprieve when every element of my life reminded me of my imperfections and failures. It was more freeing than running, more relaxing than yoga and more vulnerable then therapy for me. It reminded me I can do hard things, and I am good at something.
- Finally, the community of women was beyond, beyond, beyond inspiring. It was grown up sorority for me. People cared about my story, and didn’t only like me for the shell. They praised progress and kept critiques in whispers and made it about growth instead of failure. They made you realize the problems you faced on the outside were just that outside, and inside you were the exact person you thought you were at 5 years old… awesome. They were the only people I talked to on the weekends… the only hug I got all summer on Saturdays and Sundays. They asked me where I had been when I got back from traveling. They gave me coffee at 5:30 am (in their Keurig) when I did not have a coffee pot yet. When it is at it’s best, it is remarkable.
This brand is more than a way to make money… but something I had to protect. 90% of the studio owners are women. It has been listed in the Forbes 500 best companies to be owned by a woman. Most just like me, one off, people who love it. It feels different. It feels personal. It feels like you know the team is there holding one another up, ready to catch you and cheer for you. It is real.