Q & A with Owner, Caitlin Walker
I sat down to chat with Owner, Caitlin Walker about barre3, business, and life. Caitlin and her husband have lived between Bellingham, WA and Vancouver, BC for the last 21 years, partnering in several successful businesses, including Scotty Brown’s in Bellingham and No. 1 Collision, both in Bellingham and Vancouver, BC. Caitlin is proud, barre3 Bellingham is her first solo business venture, working in the day to day operation – and it’s thriving! The studio is gearing up for another fantastic month with their January barre3 challenge that goes from the 4th-31st.
Q. When did you first hear about barre3 and what about it appealed to you?
A. I have to backtrack a little bit for that question because we’ve been open for about three years now. I did barre3 for about a year before making my decision to open the studio. My research took a long time – I wanted to be confident in the decision. My first barre experience was around 2009 going to Physique57 in Los Angeles, where my husband and I love to visit, they originated in New York and are one of the original barre studios. I liked it enough to do some research – do they franchise? They didn’t franchise so that’s what took me into more research about who did offer franchise and were they in my area. The closest to me was Seattle, so for a period of time, I would go to Seattle and take classes at varying barre studios – figuring out which one I liked best. I didn’t feel like I could own something and sell it if I didn’t truly believe in it. I come from a background of being a personal trainer, teaching aerobics, and group fitness but always with heavy lifting – with the idea that if you don’t keep increasing your weight or pushing yourself harder, how can you stay toned? So it intrigued me that there was this formula where you could do this class and use 2lb weights and still be toned. I really wasn’t sure, so I did the research in my own body first and then once I determined this actually does work and feels good in my own body – let’s dive into it deeper.
Q. How can barre3 help a person wanting to get in shape but also help an athlete train?
A. barre3 can be great cross training for everyone and I’ve discovered that the longer I do it. I often tell people barre3 gets harder the more you do it because you find new ways to connect, both in mind and body. Because there are so many modifications and options in class, we don’t feel like we need to offer varying levels of classes. barre3 is about being part of a community. What’s so great about class is that you can have a 20-year-old and a 70-year-old working out at their own level together. I love it when we have a mix of people and levels, it’s so cool. We motivate each other and everyone brings energy to the room. Ultimately, you’re there for yourself, even though you’re part of a community – you’re doing what works for you.
Q. Have you always been a fitness enthusiast?
A. I feel that I have. Of course, a person develops their passion or whatever they’re curious about the older they get. I have memories as a child doing aerobics with my mom and sisters. When we lived in Costa Rica we would go to a local gym and we had an instructor that that we really liked. We had a big living room that we could clear – we didn’t have much furniture anyway – and she’d teach us classes in our house. Even though my family wasn’t into sports at all we always did exercise, either bike riding, aerobics or walking. When I was 20 years old I got into teaching. An instructor at the YMCA I went to said ‘hey I think you could do this’. If I had to describe myself, I think I’m a mix of introverted and extroverted – so the idea of getting up in front of a group of people was out of my comfort zone. I followed that curiosity until it turned into a passion, because now I’m so passionate about it. I love it – it’s what I breathe, it’s what I think about all the time, it’s my lifestyle. Finding barre3 is what is going to give me longevity because it’s something I can keep doing for a long time.
Q. You’re a mother; how does that help shape barre3 Bellingham?
A. In barre3, we equate the ‘3’ to the shape of a triangle with three sides, a symbol of balance. Many people talk about wanting balance in their lives, I think it’s something we all strive towards. I don’t know if you ever really get there as a mom. From what I know of other businesses, I feel like this is one that I can balance with my children. My husband is very involved with our children as well, for example, he brings the kids to school and I pick them up. The way that the studio schedule began is the founder of barre3, Sadie Lincoln, is a mom and she wanted to be able to pick her kids up from school – which is the reason some studios don’t offer mid-afternoon classes. I hope we eventually get big enough and have enough clients that we can have classes going all day long and fill in the spots as we get busier. I still want that balance in my life so when I think about the schedule and adding times I always consider whether that is something that’s do-able for me. I never expect my staff to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. Like any other mom, I’m working throughout the day and juggling. There’s a good portion of my clientele, especially the morning classes, that are moms and it makes me relatable. I’m doing exactly what they’re doing – trying to work and fit in a workout.