The Barre Code
The Barre Code helps its clients improve their fitness as well as their self-acceptance.
By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media
In nearly 10 years, The Barre Code has grown to 60 women’s fitness studios in 18 states while staying true to its mission of personal growth and self-acceptance. “We’ve created our vision, which is to have a positive impact on the people we touch,” co-founder and co-CEO Jillian Lorenz says.
Lorenz started the Chicago-based company in 2010 with co-founder and co-CEO Ariana Chernin in 2010. “I grew up with a love for dance,” Lorenz recalls, adding that she pursued a career as a mechanical engineer but stayed tied to her passion through side activities such as summer dance camps.
When she met Chernin in 2009, she discovered that her business partner also was a personal trainer and had an athletics background in volleyball, soccer and track before going into medical sales. “It was kind of a soul sister moment,” Lorenz says. “We really bonded over fitness.”
During a dinner party, Lorenz, Chernin and their future husbands played a game where they told their goals for the next year. After Lorenz announced she wanted to start a business, Chernin asked if she could join her. “I said, ‘Sure,’” Lorenz recalls.
Developing the Vision
When Lorenz and Chernin began discussing their future business, they looked at what they liked about fitness. Ultimately, the two decided that The Barre Code should not only provide a best-in-class fitness program, but also embody the philosophies of personal growth and self-acceptance.
The two also wanted its studios to be centered on female empowerment and support. “Those three mission points have driven everything we’ve done in our business,” Lorenz says, noting that the company opened its first studio in July 2010.
After opening several more, Lorenz and Chernin explored franchising, but wanted the locations to retain the core culture. For example, in its studios, “We speak in terms of gain versus loss,” Lorenz says. “Everything in our studio is about what you can gain.
“For women, that’s vastly different,” she continues. “We wanted to shift the mentality for women to love and embrace the skin they’re in. That resonated with clients and that’s the reason we were able to take off so quickly.”
As The Barre Code has expanded via franchising, it has ensured the consistency of its culture with its “Actionable Eight” tenets that set the direction of the company culture. “We used eight because everything we do is in an eight count in the studio. Also, the number eight on its side is the infinity symbol, as we are striving for infinite growth,” Lorenz says.
“They take our core values and they put them into actionable items,” she continues, noting that these include being the bright spot in someone’s day, and using fitness to deepen the connection between yourself and those around you.
“Fitness is about encouraging people to allow themselves to have that 50 minutes to be more centered and more aligned,” she explains. “[It’s also about] bringing yourself into the moment so you can be more impactful throughout your day.”
“Its values also include making work a part of your life by finding what you love, and owning your own energy. “It’s pretty amazing to know you are in control of the energy you put out there,” Chernin says.
“If you see yourself going down a negative path, take a moment, acknowledge it, give yourself some time and move on,” she recommends, adding that this fits well with many of the company’s owners who are mothers. “We have a lot of responsibilities, and if you have a bad day and something went wrong, just own it.”
The Barre Code also encourages looking inward before projecting outward, seeking growth and embracing change, and earning trust and making yourself worthy of it. “It’s not about being perfect, but it’s about transparency,” Lorenz says. “That transparency will allow us to grow together as a community.”
Making a Difference
When recruiting franchisees, The Barre Code looks for people with passion and strong business sense. “We definitely need a strong entrepreneur-spirited woman or man who wants to make a difference outside of making a great living,” Chernin says.
“We want someone that wants to authentically make a difference for the better,” she continues, adding that a Barre Code franchise is a wise investment. “Our franchisees are true partners in the company and we provide so many tools to ensure success.”
Lorenz’s background in engineering helped her create its franchisee program, which provides hands-on support, extensive training and marketing services.
The Long Win
Lorenz sees growth ahead for The Barre Code. “We’re excited to continue to expand our footprint,” Lorenz says.
“We want to grow as fast as possible, but with the right people,” she explains. “It’s about bringing the right people into our culture and into our company. We prioritize the long win over short-term success.”