Why becoming a barre3 franchise owner is the best decision I’ve ever madeAuthor: barre3
The owner of barre3 Vancouver | Felida share her journey
What’s it really like to own a barre3 franchise? Below, Amy Grabenkort, owner of barre3 Vancouver | Felida, shares how she went from being a school principal to a barre3 studio owner—and why it’s the best decision she’s ever made.
I always thought I knew what my career path would look like: I’d be an elementary-school teacher, and then I’d become a principal. I love lifting people up whose job is lifting other people up, and being a principal, I knew, would allow me to do that.
And for a while, my path did look like that. I taught elementary school, and then I was appointed to school principal. I was pregnant at the time, and I remember my boss saying, “You’ll rock being a mom and a principal.”
I tried to do just that, but I soon realized I was feeling out of balance. Someone else was raising my kids while I took care of everyone I worked with. I knew this was not my best life—but it was the one I’d planned for as long as I could remember.
Being honest about my priorities
One of my biggest pain points with my work/life situation was that I had no time for exercise. As a lifelong athlete, physical movement had always been my coping mechanism. Now that was gone, and I was feeling perpetually off. That’s when I first tried a barre3 class. I loved it immediately, and I quickly became a regular client at the studio closest to me. I was extremely busy—I’d change from workout gear into my work clothes in the car on the way to meetings. But I noticed that on the days I moved my body, I was a better boss, a better mom, and a better wife. I was a better me.
One day I was in a meeting at work, and I just thought, I’m so much happier when I have barre3 in my life. I went to the website to book a class, and my eye went to the Own a Studio page.
Trusting my gut—and the process
To be honest, I wasn’t sure I was qualified to be a franchise owner—could someone with my career background really run a studio? But before I knew it, I had already dreamed up a lifestyle that was balanced with movement, where I was surrounded by supportive women doing the same thing and feeling connected to my family. It just felt so right.
So I filled out the form, and the next thing I knew, I was meeting with Sadie. I signed my barre3 franchise agreement in April, finished the school year as a principal…and then I realized there was no open inventory in my town for a studio at that moment. I waited about a year, which gave me time to really dive into the business end of being a franchise owner. This was such a good thing. As a principal, I had studied for eight years and undergone training for how to do the job. Being a barre3 franchise owner was completely different, and I loved that about it.
Defining what success means to me
Before talking to Sadie, I assumed owning a franchise would be “barre3 in a box.” I was after something different, and that’s exactly what barre3 offered. For the first time in my life, I had the luxury of choosing what success looked like for me. I knew I wanted to be happy and successful, and I wanted to be the boss of my own success. With barre3, I felt like that was available to me. It was clear even in Sadie’s language. She didn’t ask me to work for her; she asked me to be her business partner. That’s what being a barre3 franchise owner is—being a partner—and I took that title and responsibility really seriously.
The support you get as a barre3 franchise owner starts right when you sign on. You go through extensive training before you open, and there’s an entire franchise team dedicated to helping you build a successful studio, but at the same time, you’re given so much trust and freedom. It’s so empowering.
While I loved the freedom, I also wanted a thriving business, I was willing to do the work that comes with that. I had left a lucrative career for this, and I needed to make a good living. I didn’t come to barre3 with an MBA, but I did come with drive. I’m drawn to a challenge, and I thrive on creative problem solving. I also know the value of building an incredible team, so I made that a priority—and I’m convinced they’re the reason I’m successful. I’m always looking for ways to grow even stronger, to thrive even more, and that’s why I love that barre3 is a learning company. Just as the company is constantly evolving, so are the franchise owners. We learn and grow together.
Beyond barre3’s franchise and marketing teams, owners also get support from the huge network of other barre3 owners all over the country (and beyond!). It’s the first job I’ve ever had where there’s no competitive vibe. We can throw our biggest, hairiest problems out to our fellow owners, and we help each other come up with solutions. Just as Sadie is standing next to us as owners, we’re standing next to each other.
The ripple effect of empowerment
When I opened my barre3 studio, my dream was to run a business where I get to bring together the most inspiring, empowered women I know and lift them up so they can lift others up—and I love that I’ve been able to do that. What I didn’t know was that this environment would create a ripple effect. When clients come into the studio, they feel the support, and they in turn support one another. When you read the reviews clients leave, they gush just as much about the community and the support as they do about the workout. There’s so much talk in the world right now of women empowering other women. At barre3, it’s not just talk. We’re walking the walk. It’s the most amazing feeling, and it’s why, from the day I opened four years ago, there hasn’t been a single morning when I haven’t woken up excited.
Learn more about owning your own barre3 franchise by calling us at (866) 382-9923 or filling out our form.