As a $390 billion industry with 17% growth projected through 2022, boutique fitness is one of the top three industries for franchising. The Barre Code offers women’s fitness classes incorporating cardio and strength training along with a strong message of empowerment. Through franchising, the company will have 50 studios open across America by the end of 2018.
Ariana Chernin and Jillian Lorenz are the Cofounders and Co-CEOs of The Barre Code, overseeing business operations and national strategy, especially helping their executive team to open new franchises and guide existing ones. “Being able to provide others the toolset and framework to own a business and be their own boss is what fuels me,” says Chernin. “Franchising a boutique fitness studio is a career path that gives you control over your own destiny and allows you to be your own boss. At The Barre Code HQ, we provide everything from the ground up, handing over a recipe that allows others to live an unconventional life where they can set their own work hours and find success all while doing something that changes lives. It’s so fulfilling and empowering.”
Chernin herself held a 9-5 job for “about two weeks” before realizing that she was miserable and would never be able to find value or passion from it. She tried bartending, investing in houses to flip and sell for profit, and a medical sales career before cofounding The Barre Code with Lorenz. “I’ve always challenged boundaries and had a do-it-yourself attitude,” Chernin says. “When I was 7 years old, I wanted a bathing suit that was out of my price range. So, I did weekly lemonade stands and made perfumes to sell on the corner for four weeks straight. Being an entrepreneur and making things happen is in my blood. The life purpose of developing my business with my partner evolved over the years, as we have grown and put together our unique strengths.”
Lorenz says she struggled with body image issues in college and saw many other women do the same. “I wanted to fix this in myself and also in our culture,” she explains. Her goal with The Barre Code is to empower women to change the way they talk about their bodies and help them support each other in communities. “We hear stories from women about how our classes and communities have helped them overcome issues from breakups, divorces, eating disorders, and job losses, to just feeling uncomfortable in their skin. No matter how big or small our impact is, the fact that we’re positively changing lives is priceless.”
Although she majored in Mechanical Engineering in college, Lorenz’s true passion from the time she could walk was dance. “But I always just thought that was for fun, not something that I could do for a job,” she says. And so, after graduating she took a job at Accenture, a global consulting firm, and worked her way up to the executive level over the next ten years. “I made a lot of money and had great job security, but something still felt like it was missing,” Lorenz says. “I started going back to the idea of ‘what you love’ and began thinking about opening my own fitness studio. The universe aligned, I met my business partner, and the rest is history.”
Being an entrepreneur is tough, Chernin and Lorenz admit. “When things go wrong, the only person you can blame is yourself, and you have to have thick skin,” Lorenz says. Chernin adds that it’s also a challenge to shut off work. “When you care so much about the outcome and the impact and you enjoy it, it’s hard to take time away for yourself and your family.”
Yet both women are grateful that they have pursued their life purpose to found and operate The Barre Code. Lorenz says, “Life is supposed to work for us, not against us, and that is something I had to learn the hard way. ‘Work’ doesn’t need to have a negative connotation. When you live from a sense of purpose, every day is fuller, regardless of the paycheck. ”