JACQUELINE BLACKWOOD/Montana State News
Lift. Tone. Burn. This may be an unusual catchphrase for those who have not yet heard about the rapidly growing Pure Barre technique.
According to the franchise website, Pure Barre utilizes the “ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music. PureBarre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs, abs and arms, and burns fat in record-breaking time.” The technique is also designed to, “block ‘life’ out for the hour, creating mental benefits,” according to the website
The workout is broken down into multiple sections to target the areas that women struggle with most including the hips, thighs, seat, abdominals, and arms, according to program developers. After completing a warm-up complete with a 90-second plank, push-ups, weight work and more, clients transition into thigh work.
During this section, the inner, outer, and top of the thighs are targeted. The goal is to fatigue the muscles to the point where the body actually starts to shake. While the thighs are shaking, the instructor reminds the clients to “embrace the shake. It means your thighs are changing.”
After reaching this shaking point, clients stretch to elongate the muscles while they are warm, thus creating the long-lean muscles similar to a dancer.
The next section is seat, where the exercises are designed to lift and burn the outer hip and “PureBarre Ledge,” where the back of the thigh meets the seat. This section is again followed by a stretch. The workout then transitions into unique core workouts. Finally, the workout is concluded by a total-body stretch.
Business owner Kait Kurn, brought Pure Barre to Bozeman in May 2012 and has been growing ever since.
Kurn was born in San Diego but has lived in states all over the country including Florida, Minnesota and Colorado before settling in Bozeman. She discovered her obsession with working at her first job at a local surf shop in San Diego called Surf Ride. It was here that she learned her skills for visual merchandising and buying. Her boss predicted her future by telling Kurn, “this is what you are going to do in life,” she said.
Kurn continued her education and gaining business experience. She attended the University of Colorado to study theater, against her father’s wishes for her to study business. Her passion was dance and performing arts, so she forged her father’s signature to attend school.
Then she transferred to Colorado University to dance for the school. She decided to take some time off of school and decided to gain more business experience by working in real estate and doing visual merchandising for high-end boutiques. Soon, she decided to go back to school and attended Munich Business School in Germany to gain international business experience and gain fluency in German.
It wasn’t until after Kurn returned to San Diego from Germany that she discovered Pure Barre. She began taking Pure Barre classes in 2008, which satisfied her longing to dance.
Soon, she became an instructor. After discovering Pure Barre, Kurn realized this was the perfect combination of dance, fitness and business. “It is everything I had ever loved,” she said.
Kurn decided to open her own Pure Barre studio in Bozeman. After visiting her dad in Big Sky several times, she fell in love with Montana and decided Bozeman would be a great market for the ballet-inspired franchise.
She approached the corporate team “guns-a-blazing’” with her business proposal. However, they did not see the potential in Bozeman that Kurn believed in. “They laughed at me,” she said.
Kurn trudged on and was granted the opportunity to open a studio. Once her franchise agreement was signed, the Pure Barre studio opened two months later, the fastest franchise to open to date.
Since then, Kurn was awarded the Trailblazer award to acknowledge her efforts and success the studio has experienced in Bozeman.
Kurn attributes the success of Pure Barre Bozeman to a number of factors. She said Pure Barre has “created a community of women.” Many clients not only attend Pure Barre for a vigorous workout, but also to meet and reconnect with friends and other women in Bozeman, according to Kurn.
Also, Pure Barre conditions and strengthens clients for their various extracurricular activities, she said.
“Bozeman is a very active town. Pure Barre strengthens our clients for their other hobbies like skiing, hiking, etc.,” according to Kurn.
Rachel Granger, an instructor at the local studio said, “I’ve seen women come in timid and shy about their body image and within weeks the confidence Pure Barre has given them is blatantly evident.”
“It makes me feel confident about myself and I feel like clothes generally fit me a lot better” said Alix Clark, a client at Pure Barre Bozeman.
Also, PureBarre caters to a wide array of clients. The workout is low-impact and designed for all ages and athletic abilities. Women who are pregnant can do PureBarre up until the day they give birth, according to the program’s developers.
Another facet that Kurn has introduced to Bozeman through Pure Barre is her experience and keen eye for athletic apparel. Brands such as Splits59, Alo and Nancy Rose can be purchased at this studio.
These brands mix fashion with fitness by offering new perspectives on athletic wear. Also, the high-quality and excellent fit of the clothes caters to all women’s body types, according to Kurn
A surprising aspect that has not been needed for the success of PureBarre Bozeman is an elaborate marketing plan. Initially, Kurn planned to advertise the studio through “print, radio, and television.” After opening, Kurn was featured in an article in the Bozeman Chronicle, advertised over the radio and was filmed in a segment for KBZK television.
Kurn also advertises Pure Barre through social media. Facebook and Instagram are ways to reach existing and potential clients on a broad spectrum. On social media Kurn posts information, deals and contests. Kurn explains that using social media allows her to keep an “engaged audience.”
However, Kurn relies mostly on “word of mouth” from clients to spread the news of the workout technique. “When a product is good, people will share it with their friends and people they know. Pure Barre is an effective workout. It speaks for itself,” Kurn explained.
After opening Pure Barre Bozeman, Kurn decided to open a studio in Billings with co-owner Robin Culver.
Kurn saw Billings as another opportunity for PureBarre to be successful because of the similar demographic to Bozeman. She explains that the women in Billings “want to be trendy, but aren’t given the option.” PureBarre Billings officially opened in September 2013.
-Edited by Elizabeth Johnson