Fit Moms and Business Partners on Navigating Motherhood Together

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Name: Lindsay Irrer & Janelle Herbert

Degree/Institution: Michigan State University (Janelle: Business Management, Lindsay: Public Relations)

Workplace/Business: The Barre Code Metro Detroit: Royal Oak, Birmingham & Rochester Hills

Favorite app/website/blog: The EveryGirl, Motherly, and of course – Mother Honestly!

Go-to outfit: We love that we get to include athleisure in our daily “work” attire. A Barre Code top + leggings + sassy sneaks is our usual jam!

Go-to power anthem: “My Chick Bad” by Ludacris 😂😳– it has been our BFF anthem since college!

Go-to Local Restaurant: Bistro Joes

Go-to Coffee shop: Atomic Coffee

What time do you wake up in the morning? EARLY. Our days frequently start around 4:30 AM, whether it is waking to feed a newborn or getting ready to teach or take a 5:30 AM class at the studio. Even when we don’t have a morning appointment on the schedule, we find those hours before phone calls and e-mails start coming in to be so peaceful and productive. 

Your Website/Blog/Social Media handle: www.thebarrecode.com, @barrecode_metd on IG, https://www.facebook.com/TheBarreCodeMetroDetroit/

1.  Introductions: Name, Career, Business and # of kids

 Hi! We’re Lindsay Irrer and Janelle Herbert, best friends turned business partners who opened The Barre Code Metro Detroit five years ago. Lindsay has a 17 month old son, Tatum, and Janelle has a 4 year old step-daughter Tenley and 3 month old son, Michael!

The Barre Code is a fitness community designed for every BODY. Whether you’re an experienced athlete or brand new to fitness, our classes are specifically designed to challenge every participants body, mind and spirit and help each client find their strong. We are the most proud of our community focus, with a mission around self-acceptance and female empowerment that helps our clients strengthen the relationship both with their body, and with the women around them. Our studios have grown from our first location in Birmingham in 2013, to two additional locations in Royal Oak and Rochester Hills within three years. It has been an incredibly busy, and incredibly rewarding journey.

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2. Tell us about yourselves, your background and how you started The Barre Code Metro Detroit?

We are both former dancers who met at a national dance competition in 2003, when we were just teenagers. Our paths crossed again in our freshman year of college at Michigan State University, where we danced together for four years on the Dance Team, supporting our football and basketball teams and traveling around the country with Spartan athletics. After college, we went our separate ways to pursue our original career aspirations – but a fortuitous introduction to The Barre Code in 2012 changed our career paths, and ultimately our lives.

We were 23 when we started the journey to open our first studio, and looking back at that time and where we were in our lives – we were SO young. There are endless aspects of small business ownership that can be downright terrifying, we think our youth helped us to have carefree spirits at the time and allowed us to focus 100% on the business without the other responsibilities that the gifts of marriage and motherhood have brought into our lives since then.

3. As partners and relatively new moms, how has motherhood changed your perspective in business?

Motherhood softened us in many ways, but it also has lit a fire in us. Our time isn’t as expendable as it once was, so we feel a spark of intention, strategy and time management – to focus on the aspects of business and life that truly matter, to allow us to work the balancing act of building a business while raising families. 

4.  What does a typical work day/week look like for you?

There is never a typical schedule to our days and weeks, which is one of the aspects of entrepreneurship we love the most. We are worker bees and are forever relentless on continuously bettering our product and services for our community, while finding new ways to establish connection both within the studio, and with many of the incredible local businesses within Metro Detroit. We are ALL about empowering and celebrating other women – so while we don’t have a set schedule, we feel very fortunate to live this mission as the theme of our daily routines every single day.

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5. How has your experience building a company from the ground up impacted your role as partners and mother?

As friends, we are frequently asked how we make it work as business partners. If anything, it has strengthened our relationship over the years. We refer to our partnership as a marriage, and in the same way that we bring a focus of communication and care to our husbands – we do the same with each other, too. We have truthfully never had a disagreement, and we attribute it to the fact that while we have very different skill sets that we bring to the business – we are in absolute lock-step when it comes to the values, mission and vision of how we want our studios to operate and what we want our business to represent. 

As moms and small business owners – it is NOT always easy to juggle the two responsibilities. Our direct focus on the business is now divided that we welcomed our children into the world, and it is a constant learning and juggling act of how to accomplish it all. When all is said and done, we have two goals in regard to the relationship of business and babies: 1. We are present, loving, nurturing mothers. 2. We are a living demonstration of work ethic and determination, to show our children anything is possible when they follow their dreams. If we can achieve those two goals, it is a vision of “Mompreneur” success to us. 

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6.  Now, let’s talk fitness. What advice do you have for moms hoping to bounce back after pregnancy? Can you tell us more about programs you have in place to enable women to fuel their body, soul, mind and spirit in motherhood?

One of our biggest joys and the most fulfilling aspects of our studio journey has been the opportunity to support women through such an exciting time in their lives. It is one that we view with great responsibility, as we are extremely honored for their trust in us to care for them during such an important stage.

“Bouncing back” is a term that we have a mixed relationship with. To “bounce back” in the media can frequently mean to return to a previous size, or number on a scale, which is not necessarily what we are about in our studio. In relation to motherhood, and what happens in the fourth trimester and beyond – we like to think of “bouncing back” as a return to your mojo, your spirit, your self. Yes, we have results-driven workouts that will help women strengthen their bodies before, during, and after pregnancy – particularly their pelvic floor and transverse abdominals. However, we feel that it is an even more needed service to both moms and their families, to help them be mentally strong, too. We want our moms to be confident in their bodies, to possess extreme pride and appreciation for what their bodies created for them, and able to feel capable and healthy to relish in every ounce of love and joy that motherhood brings. 

We have several services that we provide specifically for expecting moms, that carry them into motherhood while also allowing them to continue to maintain their fitness goals. For our mamas-to-be, as soon as they share their exciting news with us, we offer consultations with our trained instructors to discuss any alterations to their fitness regimen, and bi-annual workshops with our prenatal/postpartum certified in-studio specialist to dig deeper into breathing and movement techniques to help strengthen the deep core muscles that can be stretched and separated while carrying a child. Post-pregnancy, our instructors are again available for consultations on how to safely and slowly ease back into exercise, and our childcare services allow moms to get their “me time” in, and their little loves to get some social time, too! It is a win-win for our families, and makes for extra cute visitors during these select class times, too! 

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7.   What’s your childcare situation? Have you found childcare to be manageable – what are the current wins and or challenges? What support system do you have in place.

This has been one of the biggest challenges for us thus far in motherhood, and is a BIG work in progress and a lesson we might be currently teaching ourselves the hard way. With a flexible work schedule, it can be easy to just think we can “do all the things” and be a full-time mom and full-time business owner. (Hello, burn out!) We are fortunate to have a tribe of support (many from relationships that we’ve made in the studio!) but it is an ongoing balancing act for us, to help us to maintain that presence within as much of our family’s days as we can, and also dedicate the time our businesses and selves deserve.

8. What advice do you have for a mother who is trying to nurture her ambitions in motherhood. How have you stayed true to your goals while being the best mama to your little one?

To quote our spirit animal, Rachel Hollis: “You are worthy of wanting something more.” You get one. single. life. And the beautiful part of it is that nobody can truly decide how you get to spend it, but you. Following your ambition is SCARY (trust us, we’ve felt it a million times over!) The tipping point for us, was realizing what was even more terrifying than failing, was the thought of looking back 20 years from now and wondering “what if?”  

We have stayed true to our goals, while striving to be the best moms we can, simply by keeping our eyes and hearts on what truly matters. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, saying “no” can be the biggest tool in this. We are on a constant learning curve regarding how to say no to the engagements, partnerships, {insert any other time-filling to-do list item here}, that do not serve or honor these ambitions – so that we may make room for the opportunities that do. We encourage anyone who is struggling with this to take a piece of paper and write down 3-5 items that are their non-negotiables. For us, it is making sure those close to us know they are loved and cared for, serving and empowering our staff and studio community to the best of our ability, and honoring our self and sanity. If something falls in line with these – we say yes. If it doesn’t, we say no.

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9.  What do you do for self-care and how do you spend your free time as a boss mama?

Free time? Whats that? (Kidding, kind of. ). Full disclosure, down time is truly a luxury that we don’t currently have a ton of during this particular stage in our lives. We are, however, huge advocates of self-care, and the notion that it doesn’t need to be something grand or expensive to be worthwhile and helpful. Writing in a gratitude journal, taking a bath, listening to an inspiring podcast, lighting a candle, popping on Norah Jones on Spotify – these are all things that we find calming and easy to fit into our schedule. When we do get a bit more time, we both love to travel – there is something about getting out of your normal surroundings that is invigorating and energizing. 

10.  What’s next for The Barre Code Metro Detroit?

We are very, very excited about multiple projects that we are going to be rolling out in the coming year. While we can’t unfortunately divulge TOO much yet, what we can say is that we came into our business five years ago with a goal to bring a best-in-class fitness program to as many women in our community as we can, while helping them learn to love and appreciate what makes them uniquely beautiful. Our current big-picture focus is continuing to build this mission on a larger level – and we are ecstatic about what the coming years and plans for our studio community.

All photography by Apple of Our Eye Photography for Mother Honestly.

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