As a company created by two women, we know how important it is to celebrate female founders. That’s why we’ve started our Boss Babes series. Each month we’ll highlight one woman who’s built a cool company and is absolutely crushing it, in business and in life. Here, they’ll answer questions on everything from how they started out and advice they think every woman should know, plus their beauty routines and how they take care of themselves. This month: Sadie Lincoln of Barre3.
Empowering women to be happy, healthy, and strong has always been a passion for Sadie Lincoln — so much so that in 2008 she turned that drive into a wildly successful fitness studio called Barre3. As CEO and co-founder, Sadie has since turned that one little Portland, Oregon studio into a full-fledged sensation culminating in over 140 franchise studios and a global fitness streaming service. She’s been named one of Inc. magazine’s Top 100 Female Founders and has redefined what it means to be successful in fitness — and still finds time to teach classes back at her OG studio in Portland. We asked Sadie to tell us about her journey, how Barre3 empowers women to be leaders, and why hating exercise isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you start your business? Why did you choose this as your passion?
I am a mother of two teens and two rescue pups. My husband and father of my kids is also the co-founder and COO of Barre3. We started Barre3 10 years ago to build a fitness community that valued meaningful relationships just as much as exercise.
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#ThrowbackThursday goes out to that magical moment when we open our studio doors for the first time. This one is of me and Chris on opening day of our @barre3portland Kruse Village studio. It's incredible to sit back and reflect on our #barre3owner tribe who, like us, have opened their doors to living a life that supports their values around giving generously. #joblove #makeithappen #yeahYOU👆🏽link in profile.
What were some of the challenges you faced as a female founder? How did you overcome them?
I built this entire company on the value of women supporting women. I have surrounded myself with an incredible team who respect and support me. I am indeed a feminine leader. I think we all have both feminine and masculine energy and we use both to lead with. I lean on the feminine. For example, I believe in collaboration over competition. I think being vulnerable is a strength. I don’t believe in face time, and I value family life just as much as work life. I think it is also important to point out that rather than raising money through private equity and owning our studios, we chose franchising as a growth strategy. All of our franchised studios are women-led. In other words, all of our investors are women.
Are there any particular moments that stand out as a defining moment for you personally/professionally?
Right now is a defining moment. 10 years in we have gelled as a team and have more passion, clarity, and determination than we ever have. Our vision is to redefine what success in fitness means and a huge part of that is empowering women and teaching classes that are untethered to unrealistic body ideals.
What was your biggest achievement, the one you are most proud of?
The first thing that popped into my mind was having two babies 18 months apart! That was many years ago but continues to make it to the top of my list of proud moments.
Why do you think it’s important for more women to start their own business/lead companies?
Because we represent just as many people as men do. I believe in equality in leadership. This includes anyone who isn’t equally represented or given equal opportunity to participate.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Date like crazy. You aren’t going to marry him anyways. Look inside for answers. You are not broken, you are whole and beautiful just as you are.
What do you do to unwind?
Snuggle with my two rescue dogs.
Any beauty secrets you want to share?
I feel the most beautiful when I am relaxed in nature. So my secret is to hit the trails and catch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible. I do love your products, especially your watermelon line. That watermelon face mist is such a treat!
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Head on up 👆to link in profile to read an article I wrote for our friends at @mindbodygreen about women and our relationship with social media. It’s a conversation starter for all of us (men and women!) as we navigate social media and how to hold onto the good, and ditch the bad. I’d LOVE to hear your reactions and thoughts after reading in comments below!
Who is your biggest personal/professional inspiration and why?
It changes often but right now it is Wayde Elliot. He is a stand-up businessman and has so much wisdom around being an empowered and purpose-driven professional. We are in an organization together called Entrepreneur Organization. We meet with 6 other founders monthly for peer-to-peer support. It’s been very helpful for me to have this kind of tribe around me.
What is something surprising people might not know about you?
I am pretty lazy and I have never been a super athlete, dancer, or epic yogi. I think that’s why Barre3 is so popular. People tell me all the time that they hated exercise before finding us. I designed it that way on purpose!
What are your goals for 2019, both for yourself and your business?
One of my goals is to become a more active listener. I am measuring my progress by asking my husband each week if he felt heard. I still have some work to do, but he tells me I am getting better. For business, our goals are focused on innovations in our class so we can elevate our ability to teach clients to be balanced in body and empowered from within. These innovations including our newest prop, the Barre3 sliders, are both online through our streaming service and in our 150 studios.
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