Sidonie, CEO & Co-founder, Barrefit Bcn
Company and Role:
CEO & Co-founder, Barrefit Bcn
Tell us about your business, and what makes it special to you?
Barrefit has been a long time in the making. In 2019 I completed my barre certification in Toronto, the studio where I took my first barre class almost a decade ago. The owner and staff of this studio have encouraged me throughout the years to follow my dream of opening a studio here in Barcelona, so it very much feels like they are a part of Barrefit Bcn. I set out to create my company in the fall of 2019. Construction began March 1st and everything came to a halt 13 days later when the State of Alarm was declared here in Barcelona. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, bills multiplied and I must have redone my business plan a hundred times. It never once occurred to me to back down and opt for a digital company. Today my vision of a space for health and community and my long term vision for Barrefit are clearer than ever. One thing that makes Barrefit special to me is a promise I made myself to collaborate with women. My architect, my designer, my photographer, my videographer, my clients... thus far, all women. :)
Tell us about the defining moment that propelled you to start your business, or follow your dreams.
When I moved to Barcelona I had intended to stay a year for a masters. I wound up getting a job in digital marketing and loved it. I realized the future of so many businesses lies within their own hands, harnessing this power. I moved from one company to another and before I knew it 7 years had gone by, and I still hadn't made the move to create Barrefit. I was working hectic hours and not taking care of my body. My work was no longer fulfilling me but I held on because of the stability it gave me. Then the back pain started. It came slowly and I was too disconnected to realize what was happening. A year later something simple like sitting down in a chair would cause tears to pour down my cheeks. Doctors told me I have scoliosis, a rotated vertebrae and my coxis is out of place. That was the last straw and I knew then life was pushing me in the direction I had to go to follow my dream.
What problem is your business solving? Why is this personal to you?
Barrefit Bcn is an extremely personal project; I have put my love and time into every little detail of the studio, wondering how people would feel when they entered, saw this or that. I wanted the studio to be a space where people would arrive and instantly feel at ease. The feedback I have been receiving from the women who frequent the studio has been really overwhelmingly positive and confirms my mission: to create a place where women can achieve their full health potential in a safe, fun and original way. Health, community, empowerment and inclusivity are the pillars on which I've built the company.
Tell us how you stay inspired as an entrepreneur.
I am fortunate that my work gives me a lot of energy. Every time my clients come up to me after class to tell me how much they loved it, every time I discover a new review on google or social media... I forget about the months of struggle it took to create this company in the midst of a pandemic! I am also fortunate to be surrounded by other inspiring female entrepreneurs and other intelligent, motivated women who keep me motivated.
Tell us about a defining career milestone or job that impacted your personal trajectory.
My career was not headed in the direction I wanted to go. I realized if I wanted a change I would have to start from the very bottom again and I decided to do an Executive Masters in Marketing and Sales in ESADE. It totally changed my business mentality and I doubt I would have the confidence to be an entrepreneur if I hadn't done that program!
Tell us about a woman who inspired you.
The woman who inspires me is an archetype, one I've composed of various elements I've observed in other women around me. This woman is empowered, strong, bold, intelligent. She leads with kindness and compassion, and will never compromise her well-being or the well-being of others to achieve her goals. She is generous, warm, adventurous, funny and cares for the environment. This archetype makes me weigh my actions and keeps me authentic.
Do you feel you've mastered work/life balance? What could be improved or what would you like to work on?
We are in the very early stages of Barrefit so there is never enough time in a day to do everything I need to get done! However I've learned to be organized, leave things for tomorrow, exercise, eat, see friends and have alone time. If I don't have down time I don't have time to gain perspective and think of new ideas.
How do you release and unwind?
Yoga, playing the piano, being in nature or a glass of wine :)
What's the next big step for your business?
Barrefit Bcn is just beginning. The upcoming year will be challenging not just as a new business but a new business navigating a pandemic and the post-pandemic economic repercussions. In the short term we will be launching Barrefit online, partnering with some great brands (coming very soon!) and adding more amazing women to the Barrefit team.
Is there a quote/mantra that guides you?
What you seek is seeking you. - Rumi
What does the future of business look like for your industry? How are you a part of this change?
The future of my business and my industry - I believe - is a mix of digital and physical. How every company will blend technology and human-first offline interactions will be interesting to observe.
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