The Path is Rocky- Carrie Dorr’s Journey

Women In Entrepreneurship got the opportunity to chat with Carrie Dorr over lunch at the Kellogg Center on Friday, October 28th. Carrie opened up about her journey through teenage years and now into her entrepreneurial years. After graduation from MSU in 1996, Carrie decided to pursue a law degree and was an attorney for two years until she decided to completely follow her passion.


Every since she was little, Carrie had a passion for dance and choreography. This translated into teaching exercise classes on campus at MSU and incorporating her own style into her classes. Always maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Dorr found she had a huge potential to create her own exercise classes of barre and pilates. She began a small studio in 2001 in Detroit and really came in at a time when no one knew what pilates and barre was. She jokes that people would pronounce them “pilots” and “barring”.


Zooming forward a few years, Carrie was continuing to push on with the business despite several setbacks from fellow instructors leaving and lawsuits on brand location limits. For several years, Pure Barre was her life and caused her to travel all over the states. Trying to open different locations, Dorr finally starting franchising Pure Barre in 2009 that took a half year to complete. With nearly 400 current locations, Carrie saw as it was growing the power of word of mouth in creating the communities around Pure Barre. We talked a lot about the importance of novelty in a business’ fitness technique but also not unreasonably priced because you want to appeal to a variety of people. We spoke about the difficulties of the current trend in which everyone wants variety in their fitness routines that they aren’t loyal to one style of workouts. Carrie spoke about her current work and how Pure Barre has been doing since she handed things off in late December 2014. She passed off the business to get back into the creative side of things she loved since the beginning of the business. Carrie described the transition as difficult but she is still involved in the things she loves. Since then, she has founded the Soul Day Foundation, SOUL TOTE, and just recently launched her own blog called LIFE SMART.


One of the biggest discussions we spoke about was the importance of fighting and being tenacious. Carrie told countless stories of how people were trying to take her down along with all her business ideas and she continued to fight back. She described how her entrepreneurial journey wasn’t all that intimidating at first because she had been on her own since teenage years. She jumped right into the business opportunity after paying off student loans and had no expectations Pure Barre would turn into the franchise it is today. The word expectations was a theme among our conversations because the truth about owning your own business and most of life is that you don’t know how everything is going to work out. Carrie found love while she was least expecting it out in Denver and it really changed her course of action for her career. While you can spend so much time planning out the fine details, there is a peace knowing that things have a funny way of working out in the end.