Why I Opened an Xtend Barre Studio After 15 Years in the Finance Industry

Kristine Storie loved Xtend Barre so much, she decided to open a location of her own in Brooklyn.

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By Kate Taylor

Kristine Storie
Kristine Storie

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Franchise Players is Entrepreneur's Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

When Kristine Storie discovered Xtend Barre, it wasn't as an entrepreneur – it was as a client. Storie had worked in finance for 15 year, but had never found a company that truly inspired her. Soon, Xtend Barre became more than a way to relax and exercise -- it was a chance for Storie to finally have a career she was truly passionate about. Here's what she has learned.

Name: Kristine Storie

Franchise owned: Xtend Barre, in Brooklyn, N.Y.

How long have you owned a franchise?

One year.

Related: Finding Silver Linings in Dark Times as Franchisees

Why franchising?

It was never about franchising, it was the product that drew me in. While holding down a full-time job, I was teaching and practicing Pilates as a way to relieve stress and get my body back in alignment. During that time I was introduced to Xtend Barre. The product was so compelling, I knew I could sell it to others. The benefits to being part of a franchise are manifold, but you need to love and believe in the product first and foremost.

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

I worked if finance for 15 years. I lived in many different cities and worked at all sorts of companies, from very large Fortune 100 companies to start-ups. I had a great career and was successful by all conventional measures, but was not inspired.

Why did you choose this particular franchise?

As mentioned above, I fell in love with the product. Luckily, the franchise behind the product turned out to be pretty great too. It's an entrepreneurial and passionate group, and they value individualism. Each studio has its own flair, which is hard to pull off in franchising, but in this case it works.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

Total: $300,000 to $350,000

Facilities/Leasehold Improvements: $250,000

Equipment: $10,000

Marketing/PR: $20,000

Recruiting/Training: $20,000

Legal/Professional: $20,000

Misc.: $25,000

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

I did most of my research in the classroom. I taught for two years at two different Xtend Barre facilities, and observed all aspects of the business. I also hit the barre at every competitor barre studio you could name, as well as trolled social media pages of my competitors. Reading Yelp reviews is also really helpful in learning customer pain points.

Related: Instead of Spending $100K on College, This Entrepreneur Took Out a Loan to Open Her Own Business

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Obtaining the necessary approvals from the city's Department of Buildings. It cost us about eight months of time.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

On top of the obvious "owning your own business isn't for the faint of heart," in specific reference to franchising: pick one like you would select an employer and make sure you share their vision and believe in their product.

What's next for you and your business?

Opening a second location is always on the table, but we've got three classrooms and a lot of runway to grow in Brooklyn Heights! New programming (including a Foam Roller class and a TRX-hybrid workout) will be added to an already diverse schedule in the coming months.

Related: Why Recent Grads Are the Perfect Franchisee

Kate Taylor


Kate Taylor is a reporter at Business Insider. She was previously a reporter at Entrepreneur. Get in touch with tips and feedback on Twitter at @Kate_H_Taylor. 

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