As owner of the Ashburn and South Riding studios in Virginia, Courtney Miller has always had a love for Pure Barre. Having taught in Northern Virginia prior to opening her studios, it was through that experience–witnessing the communities form inside the studio and seeing the dramatic evolution of clients–that called Courtney to open her first studio. Just recently, she led her first-ever BarreTHON to raise money for the Autism Society of Northern Virginia. From day one, the community has always been what drove her love for Pure Barre, and it’s what keeps her going.
Prior to Pure Barre, I was active in weight lifting, but age and the birth of my children left my body ready for a change. Once I found Pure Barre? Game over! The variety and intensity of the workout stands out on its own (second-to-none) and delivers the best results I have ever seen. However, it was the relationships–the community that Pure Barre fosters–that took it to the extra mile for me. From when I first opened the Ashburn location, my goal was to cultivate a group that supported one another unconditionally, thereby finding greater self-confidence from setting goals and achieving them–individually and collectively. My hope was that our clients would take that passion they built inside the studio and use it to make a difference in the community at large.
I took the time to hire teams that matched my vision to establish roots in the community, to build a loyal following and go from there. Easy right? Not so much, but I’ve always known that the best things take time and patience. My team and I live by the quote, “No one plans to fail, but rather fails to plan.” In the short time we’ve been open, the studios have achieved amazing things! Most notably, we won the Pure Madness Challenge a mere seven months after being open, with more than 130 clients hitting the 100 club in year one and over 25 clients joining the 250 club!
Then, in the Spring of 2016, a client sparked a creative idea, one that borrowed from the fun dance-a-thons we did in college. What if we created our own spin–a BarreTHON. We could use the event as a way to bring our communities together AND raise money for a good cause. From the day we started planning to the day of the event, everyone got incredibly into it and best part was watching the energy leading up to and especially the day of the BarreTHON.”
The big day came in October. BarreTHON 2016 was a 24-hour event we held in October to raise money for the Autism Society of Northern Virginia. We introduced the event to client six weeks prior to the event, and began fundraising four weeks before. We created “teams” that acted like a relay–one participant from each team in every class. Our teams each organized a page on Crowdrise so all donations immediately went to the Autism Society. We knew we could do more, though. So, we coupled the event with grassroots efforts like our social media check-in challenge, #30to24 (30 days to 24-hour Challenge), and prizes were awarded to the #30to24 winner, top individual fundraiser, and the top team fundraiser.
On the day of the event, we offered tons of fun extras–$20 for an exercise request, $20 for a playlist request, etc. Team members took turns to stop by and support each other–bringing snacks and coming to the middle-of-the-night classes to cheer on the teammates that drew the “short straw.” Every teacher from both studios taught a class, and our entire team participated to raise money–support that only helped to boost the morale and excited amongst our community.
When all was said and done, we raised $26,975 for the Austism Society of Northern VA. A feat that would not have been possible without the incredible community from the Ashburn and South Riding studios. The whole thing was incredible.
Events–moments like this come at the perfect time for me as an owner. All this “stuff” is often draining and I always second guess my decisions. Many times I regret doing “the extras” during the process. But like all of us, I don’t quit. I stay the course and try to remember why I started. Then the “big event” comes and it all seems so incredibly worth it. Life is not easy. This “job” is not easy. The newness and attention needed of opening a second studio, still finding time and energy to give love to the first, I have 5 little boys at home and a 6th baby on the way, a husband and household all needing attention–it’s easy to feel pulled in every direction. But I’m blessed and obsessed with my busy, chaotic life filled with all of my passions. It makes the “work” feel less like work.