What made you choose to open a barre.[d] studio?
I’ve struggled with weight and body image my entire life. After college, I got serious about getting healthy after taking a serious look at how what I ate and my sedentary activity level were affecting my overall health and well-being. A year or so into my weightloss journey, I found barre. I had tried a whole host of fitness programs and group classes up to that point, and barre was the first thing that stuck. After a year of being a student, I moved into a teaching position when barre.[d] studio opened in Charlottesville.
I call barre my “gateway drug.” Teaching classes has never felt like “work” to me. As I grew as an instructor, I realized how much I loved fitness and helping others, especially women, change their lives through health and wellness. That led me down the path of obtaining my personal training and nutrition certifications, and I’ll sit the exam to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach this fall.
To bring all of this back to my “why,” I chose to open barre.[d] studio Chapel Hill because of the belief in this brand and method as a way to impact healthy change in a positive way. We offer more than just fitness classes. We offer a community that is empowering, welcoming, and fun. The fact that you leave a little stronger than you came is really just a bonus!
We offer more than just fitness classes. We offer a community that is empowering, welcoming, and fun. The fact that you leave a little stronger than you came is really just a bonus!
Since deciding on a location, what has the process of becoming a studio owner been like?
It’s been a lot of “hurry up and wait” which can be incredibly frustrating when you’re so excited to open the doors to the Chapel Hill community. I’m a “get stuff done” sort of person, and have had to exercise my patience muscle while moving through things like permits and deliveries.
It’s also been a learning process. Not only am I opening the doors to a new business, I’m doing it in a place I’ve only lived for a few months. I’m learning a lot about Chapel Hill, it’s community and businesses, and its residents. I’m also learning how to adjust my plans, and how to let go of things out of my control (like fire sprinkler permits!) and trust in the process and the team around me.
What has been your most challenging moment in this process so far and why?
Like I mentioned above, the “hurry up and wait” has been an obstacle. I’m so ready to open the doors and get back to teaching! I also have a full-time job in marketing at UNC and do some personal training, too, so finding balance between all of those things – and still trying to maintain a social life and get enough sleep – has also been a lesson to learn. It’s really important to not be afraid to say “no” to things and to make sure you reserve time for yourself. There’s a lot of prioritizing and block scheduling going on in my life these days!
When you aren’t working on the studio…what are you up to?
Chance are pretty good I’ll be at CrossFit Local. I’m a big believer in strength training for women, and training 4-5 times a week also happens to be the perfect stress reliever! I made the transition to CrossFit and olympic lifting after moving to Chapel Hill, and I love it. If I’m not perfecting my snatch, trying to convince someone to program the “DT” WOD again, or trying to make it through the “Eva” workout, I’m probably programming a workout for one of my personal training clients, writing for my blog, or sitting on my couch with my dog and a cup of coffee, watching re-runs of Friends, Bravo on Demand (Southern Charm is my guilty pleasure), or Hallmark Christmas movies.
What would you tell someone who has never tried barre before?
I would tell them that they can do it, regardless of what stories they may tell themselves about why they can’t. I say all the time that showing up is the hardest part. Because it really, truly is. We can tell ourselves a lot of stories about how we’re “not in shape enough” or “we’re not the kind of girl that can do barre,” but that’s simply not true. Anyone can do barre, and I think our studio demonstrates that.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I lead by example. I won’t ask anyone to do something that I won’t do myself, whether that’s in the studio or with my personal training clients. I’ll teach classes, but I’ll also clean the toilets and mop the floors. I don’t love to run or bench press and would avoid it all together if I could, but I also program both for my PT clients, and if I don’t do those things, I can’t ask them to do them.
I also believe in letting people do what they are brought into the team to do. I give my instructors freedom to learn and grow, while letting them know I’m there as their support, and to help them grow as fitness professionals.
What resources have been vital to you in the process of becoming a studio owner?
Hanna has been incredibly valuable with her knowledge and know how of studio operations and leadership development skills. She definitely makes herself available to her studio owners. She’s also been great as my sounding board, whether I’m bouncing marketing ideas off of her or venting about sprinkler permit delays.
The local Chapel Hill business owners have also been an asset. I introduced myself to them early on, and they have provided me with so much insight into things like how to prepare for inspections and what businesses and organizations to reach out to for partnerships or marketing opportunities.
And I can’t forget Google Drive and Trello. My entire life can be found in these two places. I keep everything I can on my Google Drive so I can access it from anywhere, something that’s incredibly helpful when I need to refer to a contract or receipt or input an expense. Trello keeps all of my to-dos across all parts of my life in order.
Finally – coffee and Jelly Belly Jelly Beans. I run off of caffeine and the quick sugar boost those beans provide!