Did you know Pure Barre studios are locally owned and operated by people in your community, many of whom are women! In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month, we asked three Pure Barre studio owners to share their experience as small business owners. Read their stories below and find your closest studio to support female entrepreneurship in your community! No studio nearby? Ask us about our franchise opportunities to open a Pure Barre in your area!
Please share your Pure Barre story:
Gabriella Murdocca, owner Pure Barre Goodyear, Pure Barre Glendale & Pure Barre Surprise, Arizona
I first took Pure Barre in NYC while I was in college, but I didn’t connect to the movement because I was so uncomfortable in my body. Fast forward to 2019, after moving across the country by myself after college, I was on the hunt for a job that helped connect me with a community. I applied to three fitness studios and got hired at Pure Barre. I didn’t realize it in the beginning but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I started taking classes and loved how the teachers offered individualized attention during the group classes. For once, I felt seen. In the beginning, some movements were difficult but the encouragement from the teacher and my studio community helped me reach my goals and hit milestones. Eventually, I fell in love with movement because it was fun. The music made me happy, the movements energized me. I felt stronger and slept better so I could crush my next Pure Barre class the following day. A few months later I embarked on my teacher training journey and from there I never stopped. The technique, the connection, the community and everything in between became my passion. When I moved, and the closest Pure Barre was an hour away, I made the drive for a year continuing to teach, until I was inspired to explore opening my own Pure Barre studio! Three year and three Pure Barre studios later, I’ve never been more exhilarated to be part of the Pure Barre owners community as we improve lives together, one Pure Barre class at a time!
Elizabeth Barcelona, owner Pure Barre Alamo Heights, Pure Barre Huebner Commons & Pure Barre Stone Oak, Texas
I have been teaching Pure Barre for 7 years and opened my first studio 5 years ago. In my prior career, I worked as a mental health counselor and found Pure Barre at a time when I needed to dedicate more time to my mental and physical wellness. I now own 3 studios and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. Pure Barre has been the only workout I have stuck with long term. The low-impact workouts are always fresh and fun, and have provided me results I have never received from other workouts. Having previous knee injuries, I have never been able to stick with workouts that include running or jumping. The strength, flexibility, and lean muscle development I’ve received from Pure Barre is perfect for me. I prefer being guided by an instructor, so I don’t have to think which areas of my body need to be worked, and it gives me 50 mins to disconnect from day-to-day stressors and focus on my mind and body.
Pamela “Aunt P” & Evonne Paulk, owners Pure Barre Parrish, Florida
Pamela: Evonne and I have always had a special relationship. She is my niece and we share a birthday. So we have celebrated our birthdays together since Evonne was a teenager by going on some wonderful weekend trips. We even hiked together in Scotland a few years ago. We also share a health journey that makes our bond even stronger. In 2019, Evonne was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She spent weeks with me in Baltimore having surgery and recovering.
Evonne: Then in 2020, Aunt Pamela was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I went back to Baltimore and took care of her through five (yes, five) surgeries. That time together not only brought us closer, it made us stronger, and made us appreciate our health even more.
Pamela: When I retired from a career in healthcare and moved to Florida, I found my way to Pure Barre 30-A in Santa Rosa Beach. I knew immediately that it was the workout for me. Evonne was still rebuilding her strength, so I suggested that she try it.
Evonne: When Aunt P suggested Pure Barre to me, the pandemic had started so my first experience was online. As a synchronized swimmer, I had experienced a wide variety of workouts. Pure Barre translated well for me and was the intensive, low impact workout I needed!! I immediately saw how valuable it was. Aunt P asked if I wanted to join her in buying a franchise, and I jumped at the chance.
Pamela & Evonne: Before we started, we wrote our mission, vision and values. We wanted to open a franchise only if we could bring value to the community. We wanted to build it with a family feel. Everyone calls Pamela “Aunt P” so it definitely feels like family! We wanted a space where diversity and inclusion are embraced and where members and staff feel valued and empowered. We also wanted to share our gratitude for health by making a proven exercise experience available to others. And … it had to be fun! So here we are nine months later. We feel like we are well on our way to building the community we envisioned. We are so happy to have a great team, wonderful support from the Pure Barre network, and over 350 active, engaged members. We are still growing and learning, but we feel like we are off to a great start.
Jasleen Kaur, owner Pure Barre Pleasanton, California
I fell in love with Pure Barre back in 2016 when I took my first class. I'd been frustrated, hitting the gym every day for months without seeing any real changes in my body. Pure Barre taught me more about my body and muscles than high school biology ever did. With Pure Barre, I found a workout that toned my muscles, strengthened my core, and helped me with my posture and alignment. Plus, I discovered an amazingly supportive community that I hadn't seen anywhere else. I've been a loyalist ever since, especially because Pure Barre helped me through two pregnancies and the post-partum period.
When my family decided to move from North Carolina to California in 2023, it just seemed like the perfect time for me to own a Pure Barre studio and share the benefits with the broader community. Once I acquired the studio, I decided to embrace my next adventure of becoming a teacher. It was a fresh and daunting challenge, but it has proven incredibly rewarding, thanks to the 'I can and I will' ethos that permeates the Pure Barre community. Now, as I teach our four different class formats, I've learned to delve deeper into the science of these exercises. Personally witnessing the joy on our members' faces after completing a class is a true delight. It's the very essence of why we do what we do at Pure Barre.
What does being a small business owner mean to you?
GM: Being a small business owner means marrying passion and connection. It’s the simplest way to describe it. Even though we are called “small” business owners, we have a lot of BIG responsibilities. Given that small businesses tend to take a little longer to pick up, teams tend to be smaller so BIG PASSION needs to be present. It means getting my hands dirty, making mistakes, being humbled by my team’s experience, celebrating things big and small, and having an authentic connection with our members. Our connection goes past the people we serve everyday physically and manifest emotionally. So many people share their personal stories of strength, growth and courage daily. Being a small business owner is so inspiring.
PP & EP: Being a small business owner is an opportunity to provide a service to the community. This includes employing local people doing something they love. We try to be involved in giving back to the community as much as possible. We have already been involved in two fundraising efforts – organ donation and breast cancer – that are personal to our Pure Barre family. We also attend community events and provide baskets for local fundraisers. We provide what we think is a fun place for members to exercise and make new friends.
What challenges do you face as a female small business owner?
GM: I face challenges based on my age. As a 25-year-old business owner I often have “imposter syndrome” and tend to lead too heavily with emotion. Oftentimes I doubt my own knowledge or experience given other people in the industry or even on my team have had more “real world” experience. I have to remind myself that I worked very hard to get where I am. Lots of late nights studying Pure Barre, lots of early mornings learning the business side of things and unlimited time connecting with others to deliver a great Pure Barre experience.
EB: As a female business owner, specifically a young female business owner, people don’t always take me seriously. There are a lot of assumptions that my husband runs my studios or makes the financial decisions. Terms that have been used to describe my businesses are “small”, “little”, “cute”, or “just dance classes.” I love catching people off guard with my sales knowledge or the amount of people we service in the community. A lot of people just don’t know the behind the scenes of fitness ownership. I wish I just worked out all day! Ha! Some days I am a leadership trainer, others I am a sales associate or fitness professional, a retail merchandiser, payroll specialist, IT department, a therapist, emergency team, HR, and maintenance provider. We literally do it all! To all the other female fitness owners out there….I see you!
What advice would you share with other women looking to start an entrepreneurship journey?
GM: It will never feel like the right time and it always feels scary. You cannot do it on your own - it takes a community. Having a community doesn’t make you weak or less than, it makes you brave, strong and self-aware for knowing what you need to be the best you. That leads you to be the best leader for your team so everyone can be their best for this community.
I’ve recently been exploring the idea of work-life harmony instead of work-life balance. I encourage all business owners and passionate people to look into it. As entrepreneurs specifically, it is so hard to separate the two. This new practice emphasizes that you don’t need to - if you love your job don’t push it out of your real life, just let it live in harmony.
EB: Surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed, support you, and provide you constructive guidance. Hire staff members that you want to see succeed too. Guide them, push them, and help them discover their true potential. Build and grow together. Repeat.
PP & EP: We think that women entrepreneurs benefit from networking with other women in business. The journey is different for us than the one men are on and learning from other women is very helpful. Our fellow Pure Barre owners have been especially helpful to us. Just having someone to share ideas with who know what we’re going through makes the journey easier.
JK: Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is both exciting and challenging, especially for women trailblazers. I wish I could say "just do it", but that's not how life works, especially when it involves your own money and time. My advice, from my experience, is three-fold: focus on building a conservative financial plan and financial trust with your partner (if applicable), learn to be resourceful, and never forget your North Star.
First, a robust financial plan is the foundation of success. Whether you're launching your first venture or the next, a financial plan that includes all worst case scenarios is essential for making informed decisions. If you have a partner, it's critical you establish and nurture financial trust from the start by defining roles and responsibilities. Secondly, learn to be resourceful. This was challenging for me not being local to the area I live in. Something as simple as finding a good handyman can become time-consuming and can take away your bandwidth from important things like strategy and sales. You must learn to leverage available resources like your neighbors or your staff to find the right contacts, to haul the right products and to build the right solutions for your business. Lastly, remember your north star, your passion and purpose, to stay motivated through challenges, and know that your journey has the potential to change the world. You must learn to enable ruthless prioritization to be a good business owner. You cannot do it all, but you can still fulfill your goals by choosing your battles one day at a time. Embrace the path, learn, and keep moving forward.
What is your favorite thing about Pure Barre?
GM: GOSH how cliché for me to say there are so many things… but it’s true. If I had to pick one, I’m obsessed with the way pushing past physical discomfort in class can make you feel stronger mentally. There’s something about hitting that final ten while your teacher is rooting you on. Getting your tippy toes one inch higher, tucking your hips one each deeper. Your teacher is there to guide you but you are the only one that can do it. It’s a constant thought of “I DID THAT” after the final count is cued. I transfer that to the real world and oftentimes do my best to channel my favorite instructors in my head when I’m going through a tough time.
PP: I love the positive energy in the studio. Between classes it is so noisy with members chatting with each other and staff. People are smiling and happy even when they are sweating and exhausted after class. I love that people have made new friends and now come to workout together. I love that my sister-in-law and her neighbor ride in a golf-cart together to class almost every day. I love our staff and how they support and care about one another.
EP: I love and believe in the workout. It is literally the workout that brought me back to life after my diagnosis. It has also brought me out of my shell and helped me make connections with our community. Growing up I was always part of a team and I missed that. Being at Pure Barre has brought the joy of teamwork back to me. I am now part of a fabulous community and get to help others through their health journey.
New to Pure Barre?
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