In 2008, the very first barre3 studio opened, introducing Portland to a unique style of whole-health fitness classes committed to mind and body results. Today, the company is a flourishing, worldwide franchise with more than 100 studios and 250+ online workouts — plus a digital magazine and an annual health retreat to boot! Incredible, right? We recently caught up with barre3 founder Sadie Lincoln to learn more about how she launched her dream career.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 10-15 YEARS AGO, BEFORE BARRE3?
SL: I was living in the Bay Area with my husband and learning how rewarding (and challenging!) it was to be a new mom. I had two babies who were only 18 months apart. It was at this time I was also immersing myself into a personal yoga practice and transitioning out of a 11 year run as an executive working for the founder and CEO of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide.
IS BARRE3 YOUR DREAM JOB?
SL: I purposefully created barre3 to be just that — a dream job. And here I am 9 years later. My dream keeps evolving right alongside my company.
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH HA” MOMENT OF BARRE3?
SL: Chris came up with an idea to sell our home in the Bay Area and use that money to not work for a year, move to Bend, Oregon, and be fully present with our two little ones. This radical idea was the catalyst for creating our own company. Chris giving us permission to drop out, inspired me to manifest a career that supported my values without compromise.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN IT PRIOR?
SL: We both had a unique skill set in the fitness industry. I had taught all kinds of group exercise concepts for 25 years. I also helped grow 24 Hour Fitness from 50 gyms to over 430 worldwide working in a variety of roles ranging from concepting, sales, corporate communications, and brand strategy. Chris also worked for 24 Hour Fitness on a variety of special projects and was responsible for starting a new smaller gym concept. So, that was our resume. But the business concept came from a very personal place. We basically scratched our own itch. We decided to shut out all the legacy knowledge we had built over the years in the fitness industry. Instead, we looked inside and created something very personal and based on what we needed. We needed balance in our bodies, balance in life, and we craved deep meaningful connections.
HOW DID YOU FUND BARRE3?
SL: The majority of our financing came from selling our house on Craigslist! We put every penny of it into our first studio here in Portland, Oregon. We only have one minority partner, Mark Mastrov, who invested some at the beginning as well to get us started.
NAME 3 OF THE SCARIEST MOMENTS YOU HAD WHEN DOING THIS?
SL: #1: Believing in myself. I had a sticky on my mirror in the bathroom for the first year that simply stated “courage.” Courage was my mantra all along to help crowd out my inner critic voice. #2: Selling our house by the skin of our teeth! The day our house closed, the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle was all about the housing market crash. #3 Saying goodbye to sunny California, and bracing ourselves for rainy Portland. That being said, I have never looked back. Not once have I regretted our decision to move. Portland is rainy but it’s also incredibly nourishing and a wonderful place to raise a company and family
WHAT IS YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STOP WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND CREATE THEIR “DREAM JOB”?
SL: I would tell them to take the time to visualize what their dream job is. What does it look like? Who will work with you? Who will benefit from your creation? What are they like? How does it feel to create it? What will it be like in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years down the road? Dare to go there, and then trust that YOU HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. Sometimes just looking inside is the best business plan.
Photo credit: Melissa Marshall