Pure Barre Studio Owner, Jennifer Bodin, Shares Part Two of Her Story and How She Found Pure Barre
Now that you know how Pure Barre changed my life, let me tell how I ultimately ended up choosing Pure Barre for my career.
“How did you get into Pure Barre?” It’s a question that I get asked often, very often.
Well, let me tell you, it’s in my blood …
My grandparents, from Southern Alabama, owned a family restaurant, a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and had various other businesses throughout their lives – including selling watermelons on the side of the road. My dad learned how to run a business from the ground up through his amazing parents who were true entrepreneurs. My 80 year old grandmother has owned and operated her Century 21 franchise for 40 years and still works everyday because she wants to … we can’t get her to retire … (She also manages to attend church 5x a week, grow her own vegetables, cook everything from scratch and attend every special event! Grandma’s seriously have superpowers.)
When my grandparents closed down the family restaurant, they encouraged my dad to go work for the new McDonald’s in town. So in 1976, my dad started as a crew person at his local McDonald’s in Ozark, Alabama. Having never gone to college, he worked his way up and purchased his first McDonald’s at age 30. He’s now been in the business for over 38 years and has multiple locations.
Image Credit: Alan Hess via Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
As a little girl, I remember working in the restaurants passing out orders to customers in the drive thru, bringing my elementary school principle McDonald’s for breakfast most mornings, taking a day off school to help my dad market our local community, drive the county with my dad to pass out McDonald’s report card covers to local schools, I judged Chicken McNugget eating contests, yes, I did that, I also remember sitting in my dad’s office punching random numbers on the calculator thinking I was paying bills and processing payroll … (maybe that’s why I got an office supply every year for Christmas!)
Even though it all seemed “fun” at the time, I still remember the underlying values my dad taught me early on about business. I was fortunate enough to grow up in one of the world’s biggest and best franchises, but I was even more fortunate to have had a father who instilled in me invaluable business sense – stuff you can’t learn in school.
So what did I learn in school?
Well, my major was graphic design. I learned html, photography, how to design websites, create fonts and logos, package design, branding, letterpress … I basically learned the entire creative side of marketing. I really loved it and thought I wanted to be in advertising design, specifically designing creative and innovative new campaigns for McDonald’s.
After college, I moved home to work for my dad as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations. My dad is the most brilliant business minded person I’ve ever met and I was fortunate enough to learn so many essential business and life skills while working for him for two years. However, during that time was when I went through the most painful and devastating part of my life, my divorce. I was living “Jennifer’s plan” – not “God’s plan.” Luckily, I lived close to my family which gave me the strength and courage to get out of that horrid, abusive relationship. (I will talk more details of how I overcame this at a later date.) Overcoming that situation was where I learned my worth, started to pursue my passions again and got back on “God’s plan.”
Live your passions and take risks …
I wrote down a list of things I was passionate about and since I had danced for 17 years, dance was obviously something I was missing and needed in my life. I took a risk and tried out with 150+ women for a spot on the New Orleans Saints Cheerleading Team. That risk turned out to be one of the best years in my life. From networking at various appearances with local celebrities, NFL players, and NFL owners to shooting for the swimsuit calendar and other publications, I was blessed to be a part of a great organization; When the Saints won the NFC championship for the first time and then went on to win the Super Bowl, it was a once in a lifetime experience that I was fortunate to be a part of.
My life at the time: McDonald’s & The New Orleans Saints
One of my favorite appearances while being a Saintsation was cooking with John Besh at his house.
During the Super Bowl run I was surrounded by the best of the best in the industry – from the best film crews, best entertainment companies, best lighting crews – you name it! This huge once in a lifetime experience + being surrounded by so much talent led me to a moment I’ll never forget:
I was standing on the sidelines and looked up at streamers that exploded in the sky after they announced WE were the new World Champions. I remember thinking to myself, there’s nothing in this world that I can’t do.
I immediately knew I needed to start pursing my true passions – as a living.
New Orleans Saints | SBXLIV circa 2010
Throwback: My First Super Bowl | SBXXIV circa 1997 – I didn’t realize when I took THIS photo, that one day I would be dancing on the sidelines for my home team’s first Super Bowl victory. Things REALLY do come full circle. 🙂
When I found Pure Barre …
I went to a wedding in Birmingham, AL in March of 2010 and that’s where I was introduced to Pure Barre. Some friends of mine had just opened up their location and I was immediately captivated and knew that this was something that I wanted to pursue. At that time, I never had a chance to see if it was a realistic option for me because I was asked to go to visit our troops in Iraq with the USO. Honoring my responsibilities as a Saints cheerleader, I took time off of work to entertain the troops for 15 days. The thing that impacted me the most about this trip was meeting soldiers from New Orleans.
To feel the spirit of our city and its resilient people across the world was powerful. I could relate to complete strangers because we had survived Hurricane Katrina together and four years later, were united because of a Super Bowl victory.
USO Tour | Iraq 2010
After my incredible trip to Iraq, I couldn’t stop thinking about the things in life that I was most grateful for and which one of my passions I could ultimately make into my lifelong career. Pure Barre seemed to fit my lifestyle and it had everything that I was passionate about built into oneopportunity. From dance, cheerleading, graphic design, and growing up around the McDonaldʼs family business, my life experiences and my passion for people, fitness, leading my community and healthy living lead me to opening up Pure Barre.
Pure Barre just felt right, it made sense. I wanted to continue to be an ambassador for my city by promoting fitness through Pure Barre and all it had to offer.
I had always wanted to own and operate a business and I had everything in line to one day become a McDonaldʼs franchisee. Even though that may be my family’s business, I knew that I would not be satisfied settling on something that I wasn’t 100% passionate about.
Why I chose Pure Barre …
Just like my family’s business, Pure Barre started from humble beginnings. It started in a basement. The values which Pure Barre stood for and the purity of the technique really captivated me. Also, I was extremely familiar with the franchisee/franchisor relationship. (My grandmother owns a Century 21, My dad owns McDonald’s and my brother owns Smoothie King – I mean, it’s in my blood, right?)
Being a part of Pure Barre allows me the chance to be a part of something that’s bigger than myself– and that’s meaningful. I witness so many success stories and first handedly get to see the difference Pure Barre makes in people’s lives. I get to be a part of an uplifting, positive community where I’m surrounded by strong and motivating women daily – and that’s impactful.
I work with the most amazing, dynamic group, of women who I really couldn’t run Pure Barre without. Through Pure Barre’s Pure Give program I’m able to give back to my local community, which I’m really passionate about – That’s one of my FAVORITE things! I get to be directly involved with the leading barre technique which is always evolving, plus I get to wear stretchy pants to work everyday! I mean, come on … who wouldn’t want to show up to work everyday wearing fashionable spandex?
My AMAZING Pure Barre New Orleans & Metairie Rd. Team – I couldn’t do it without them!
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater New Orleans is just one of the charities I’ve been able to help out through our Pure Give program. See … Life does come full circle – You get what you give!
Life if more meaningful when you are doing something that you love …
I live a life that I love – and worked hard for. I’ve made good and bad decisions but ultimately, I appreciate the journey I had to take in order to get to where I am now. I’ve learned that God keeps a strong hold on his people, even when we venture off his path (like I did after college), things always come full circle and to trust in God’s perfect timing. I’ve learned to live life passionately, as it’s more meaningful that way. I’m looking forward to an amazing career ahead of me – with a ton more lives to touch and bodies to transform – and I’m thankful I’ve got an incredible partner to share the rest of my journey with!
I’m exactly where I want to be and although I don’t feel like I’m working – I feel like I’ve never worked harder. Fellow business owners, know what I mean? Just like that saying goes … if it were easy, everyone would do it.
I encourage you to write down your passions, take a risk and to live your life doing something that you love. Life is simply more meaningful that way, don’t you think?
Photo Credit: Christie Froom Photography
Jennifer Bodin is the owner of Pure Barre New Orleans and Pure Barre Metairie Road, Louisiana and creator of Health Hard, a lifestyle community that encourages healthy habits and motivates you to press on no matter what life throws your way. Learn more about Jenn and Health Hard here.