Hannah Drake

Saying Goodbye to My Happy Place

LifeHannah Drake

[ a day in the life of a studio manager ] 

Tomorrow is my last day at Pure Barre Boulder, something I never thought I'd say. I always fancied myself something of the Pure Barre Boulder Captain. I was going down with this ship. If the studio was standing, I was standing in it, greeting clients and scrubbing toilets. But alas, life is unpredictable and I have so many exciting things on the horizon. I know it's cliche, but it's a bittersweet goodbye as I close the chapter on a place that has meant so much to me.

[ after my first class ]

I took my first Pure Barre class on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 1:00PM with Alex, who now owns Pure Barre Berkeley. I had purchased a Living Social coupon for 2 weeks of unlimited classes because a girl I followed on Instagram (who was also on the 15th season of The Bachelor) kept posting about how much she loved the workout. $39 for 2 weeks of classes? What did I have to lose? I now know that I had everything to gain.

I was scared out of my mind before my first class. I thought everyone would already be in great shape and I'd be the only one who had no idea what I was doing or the only one struggling to make it through class. Just me, in my Old Navy tank, Target capris, and regular socks. I've since discovered that I wasn't the only first-timer and that it doesn't matter if you're wearing Lululemon and Alo. But the sticky socks do help.

[ me and the infamous velcro tubes ] 

The first friend I made with another Pure Barre client was a girl who took her first class at the studio's August Breaking Down the Barre workshop. I had a few under my belt by then, but we chatted before and after class. Unfortunately for me--and for her, really--she never came back. The next time I spoke to a client was the first time I took a class with the Velcro tubes. I asked her if she had ever used them before while we were both waiting for class to start.

[ my 100th class ]

On March 14, 2014, exactly nine months after my first class, I took my 100th class. By this point, I had a schedule down and Pure Barre was a quintessential part of my week. I had planned my 23rd birthday around taking class. I had completed the 40 in 60 challenge spanning from mid-October to mid-December, taking my 40th class on the studio's 3rd anniversary. I was about halfway through my second challenge, 21 classes in 31 days. I had made friends and knew the staff well. I had even tried to take class while on vacation in San Diego, even though I wasn't able to.

The following month, I saw a posting at the studio that they were hiring for the front desk. Of course I submitted my resume. I had a flexible, part-time (ish) job that would allow me to accommodate working at the studio as well and I was running low on classes (and funds). After a few calls back and forth with Morgan, the manager, I was hired on a Saturday morning when I came in for class. I trained with my friend Sara on May 1, 2014, the same day they held teacher auditions and hired my PBBFF (Pure Barre BFF), Jessica. I started working Monday and Tuesday nights, plus any other time I could help out. I took class more than ever, loved getting to know clients from behind the desk, and marked my 1 year anniversary at the studio as a member of the staff.

[ my 300th class ]

By January 2015, I was asked to take over the studio's Instagram account, followed shortly by the newsletter. I was obsessed. I loved getting to spend time on the studio every day, even when I wasn't there. I started having meetings with Mish and Shalisa, the studio owners, to plan events and figure out what to highlight in our upcoming newsletter. That spring, I ran point on a big weekend event for the first time and I couldn't get enough. I was hooked! I would check the class lists at my office job to see who was at the studio while I wasn't. (Mostly out of jealousy.) I also brought up the idea of me managing the studio full time with some encouragement from Morgan. At that meeting, Mish and Shalisa said they had just been talking about hiring someone full-time on the way to work that day and the first name that came to mind was mine! In the meantime, I took my 300th class on July 4, 2015.

[ my first day as manager ]

It took some time, but we were eventually able to work out the details and I would start on July 7, 2015. I was so excited to be taking on an official and bigger role after my responsibilities had been getting greater and greater over the previous few months. I didn't have the ideal schedule, but I had the job and it was a job I was passionate about, a job I loved. I woke up every morning excited to go to work...and that pretty much stayed that way every day I worked there. I was thrilled to be able to spend even more time at the studio and focus on things that I hadn't had time for before. I was able to be creative and organized, two of my favorite things. I loved everything from designing social media posts to scheduling the front desk shifts. It was all a dream come true.

[ the best seat in the house ]

Working at the studio full time allowed me to get to know a lot more clients on a more personal level. They became accustom to seeing me behind the desk and so many great friendships were able to grow with women (and men) from all kinds of backgrounds. People I may not have had the chance to get to know so well if it hadn't been for my position. It was more than me checking them in for class. It was a mutual interest in each other's day, each other's life, and each other's Pure Barre journey. For the entire time that I was full time, clients would question where I was if I took one of my regular days off or question why I was there on a weeknight or a weekend. It's something that really made me feel like an important part of their experience at the studio and that's always been the most important thing to me.

[ one of my favorite visitors ]

In addition to working with so many great clients, I've also had the privilege to work with so many incredible women over the last three years. I created beautiful friendships with many of my coworkers and sometimes hanging out with them in between classes in the office or downstairs at Starbucks was the highlight of my day. Mish and Shalisa have always said we're a family at Pure Barre Boulder and that couldn't be more true. My coworkers are women I trust, admire, and respect. They push me to go harder in class and challenge me to grow as a person both in my position at the studio and in life outside the studio. Before my trip to England last May, the first time I took a big chunk of time off from work, they all told me to go find an English husband. I rolled my eyes and reminded them I was going for a mission trip with my church. But I guess they were right after all. I just don't think their suggestion included me moving across the globe to be with said English husband.

[ pop up at red rocks ]

Over the last (almost) 2 years, I've had the opportunity to plan so many cool events for the studio, working with other awesome brands, and creating a more inclusive experience for our clients. I helped plan fun staff outings that got us out of the studio and into regular clothes. I helped plan a cool Pop Up class at the Rayback Collective to benefit the Boulder Humane Society. I helped celebrate the studio's fifth and sixth anniversary and all that Mish and Shalisa had accomplished over the half decade. I was able to participate in the first Pure Barre Pop Up at Red Rocks Amphitheater. We did fun challenges and got the clients involved in many different ways so it was truly more than just a place to work out, which is what it had always been for me.

The last 4 years at the studio have changed me and shaped me in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I created an entire job out of nothing and was able to mold it to best serve the studio and best fit my skill set. I stuck with a work out for more than 6 months and it changed how I see my body and pushed me to new limits. There's a lot more than I would have liked to accomplish at the studio, both as a client in class and as the manager behind the desk, but this chapter is closing and I have a lot of things happening that I never would have predicted either. I've always known this place means the world to me, but having to say goodbye has shown me what I've meant to this place and that's something I will always cherish and hold dear. I know a lot of great things are happening at the studio and a part of me is sad that I'll only be able to follow along on social media and exchange texts with the team to keep up, but I know it's in good hands and the team will take the studio and the community to new, exciting heights. 

Are you tired of looking at pictures of me at Pure Barre? Yeah, me neither. Here is just a sliver of all the people who have changed the rest of my life for the better: