Dreams Coming True is a Thursday feature on my blog, a way to highlight those whose goal is to create community. The dream might be a blog, a published book, a small business, volunteering, or even fundraising for a charity. Something that makes the world a better place . . . for others.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zechariah 4:10, NLT).
Welcome Lauren Fike, owner of Pure Barre San Francisco – West Portal, to Dreams Coming True!
Tell us a little about yourself, Lauren:
I’m 26 years old, I have twin brothers Mark and Cole, parents Rhonda and Steve who have been happily married for 35 years. My husband Riley and I live together with our dog Whiskey in San Francisco. I grew up in Danville, CA, went to San Ramon Valley High School and attended UC Davis on a soccer scholarship.
When did this creative dream begin?
In college I discovered a strong passion for fitness and nutrition. I knew that I wanted to do something that involved helping people, I just wasn’t sure what that was going to be. I had been working in commercial real estate for a few years and wasn’t completely convinced that it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Riley and I were engaged in May 2012 and I was in search of a workout that would get me wedding-dress ready. Pure Barre opened around the corner from my apartment and I committed to going at least 4 times a week before my June 2013 wedding. The results were amazing, and I felt that even after all the years of being in “soccer shape,” I felt that I had discovered the best version of myself through this workout. It was then that I knew I had to make Pure Barre a permanent part of my life and share the experience I had with other people.
How did this project/idea get started?
I applied through Pure Barre corporate to become a franchisee and was then flown back to Spartanburg, SC for an in-person interview with the corporate team. After being approved, I then went on a search to find the perfect location. I found an amazing location in the West Portal neighborhood of San Francisco.
What makes your studio stand out from the crowd?
Pure Barre is an athletic barre workout, which is what immediately appealed to me and won me over the other barre workouts. It is fast paced, core intensive and the music selection is fun and motivating. Pure Barre is more than just a workout, it is a community that empowers and encourages women of all shapes and sizes and walks of life.
What are the goals and intentions of this project?
I want to create an environment for my clients that is non-judgmental, positive and motivating. My goal is to inspire my clients to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
How does your project create community?
The studio is a haven for women to come and spend an hour on themselves where the stress from their life is put on hold, they see familiar faces and it helps hold them accountable. We also do fun things for our clients such as Bring on the Men (clients bring their significant others to a class), Sip and Shop (take class, have a glass of wine and shop), or have private events such as an upcoming M.O.M.S. group (Ministry of Mothers Sharing). The M.O.M.S group is a group to remind women who they were before they became mothers. Women are encouraged to reflect on themselves and the roles they hold in life. They take the time to look at their strengths, weakness, feelings, and friendships and how God’s grace plays role in all the aspects of their lives.
Many have creative ideas but trouble following through with them. What advice would you give to creative types who start projects eagerly . . . but then enthusiasm drizzles off?
Put down all of your ideas on paper, write down the action steps to create the project, and then ask around to see if there is a need or an interest before you spend too much time.
What’s been the hardest part about getting it off the ground?
Hiring smart and personable people to help out when I am not there. My studio is open 7 days a week, 6 AM to 8 PM and there’s no way for me to be physically present at all times. It’s hard to let go off the reins and let someone take over when I’m not there.
What have you learned?
Starting your own business is not for the weak of heart, you put many more hours than you could have ever expected. I have learned, and am still learning, balance—how to juggle personal life, family, friends, my own health and spirituality. I have learned that if you aren’t firm and set your expectations with people in the beginning you will find yourself on a treadmill constantly changing your policies to try and make everyone happy which is just not possible at the end of the day.
Have there been any unexpected surprises?
Yes, I didn’t expect so many people to come to classes on opening day—we had over 100 people come through the studio that day. I also did not expect add more classes and hire more teachers so quickly. We added 7 more classes after being open for only month because some of our class times were being impacted.
What are the biggest misconceptions people have about starting your project?
That the studio can just run itself because the brand is so strong. In reality, there is so much time and energy that goes into building up the studio. Each person that walks through the door is a potential new client, it is so important for me to be the face of the studio and make sure that I am making the best first impression possible.
What are some ways you promote your studio?
Facebook, every door direct mail, fun social events in the studio such as: bring on the men, sip and shop, march madness (20 classes in 30 days), breaking down the barre (a workshop to understand the technique behind pure barre)
Creating something is one skill. Marketing and promoting it is an entirely different skill set. How has that gone for you? Shocked by the amount of work marketing takes? Or pleasantly surprised?
Pleasantly surprised by our marketing efforts, however marketing is a constant every day to-do item, it never ends. Just when you think you are on top of things, you need to be planning for the next week or even month.
Any marketing mistakes you would avoid?
On the whole, all of our marketing efforts have been beneficial. The best marketing is your location and network of people who can refer their friends.
What social network has worked best for you?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, NextDoor.
What advice would you give someone else who has a creative dream like yours?
Follow what you feel in your heart, and don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young or too inexperienced. If you have a passion and have the drive to make it a reality, you can do it.
Where do you see this project in five years?
I hope to have clients that are celebrating their 100th, 200th, and even 300th class with us in 5 years!
How can we find your creative dream come true? www.purebarre.com/ca-westportal