ML - Michigan Avenue

2013 - Issue 8 - December

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Page 59 of 147

PARTNERS IN CRIME Ariana Chernin and Jillian Lorenz, cofounders of Barre Bee Fit, are putting their stamp on Michigan Avenue. Women's Work I t began as many fitness-related goals do—with a New Year's resolution. "Everyone said what they were going to do for the year," recalls Ariana Chernin, cofounder with Jillian Lorenz of Barre Bee Fit. "Jillian and I made the commitment that night that we were going to take a chance, invest our life savings, and go for our dream." That dream? For the duo to leave their corporate jobs (Lorenz was a communications director at Accenutre; Chernin was doing medical sales for Hospira) and open a fitness studio featuring a workout regimen that catered to women's bodies. Within six months of that resolution at the beginning of 2010, they had opened Barre Bee Fit in River North. Says Chernin, "We created the name Barre Bee Fit to redefine that image of a Barbie doll—which everybody knows is totally unrealistic and fake—and make it an achievable image." Since then, they've expanded to the Gold 58 Coast and Lincoln Park and begun franchising efforts as far as Dallas and Pittsburgh. Most recently, they opened their fourth Chicagoland studio in a prime spot along Michigan Avenue. "Opening a studio on such an iconic location is incredibly exciting," Chernin attests, noting that the space is ideal for working women. The Barre Bee Fit workout is based on three pillars—strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and restoration—but the founders are the first to say that the idea of women supporting one another is just as important as the gym's fitness aspect. As a grade school student in Ann Arbor, Chernin was bullied by peers about her looks; at the University of Michigan, Lorenz was disturbed by the unhealthy body images of her sorority sisters and fellow dancers. Introduced by their now-husbands, the pair bonded over a passion for fitness and the idea that women should be cheering on, rather than tearing down, one another. "We got really raw," says Chernin, "and shared all this stuff that had affected us. And we said, 'Look, let's create a brand that addresses this.'" Lorenz finishes Chernin's thought: "So our mission is much bigger than just a fitness studio—it's a lifestyle brand to help women start holding each other up and appreciating who they are and what they bring to the world." In the studio, the camaraderie between Lorenz and Chernin is infectious. Three and a half years, two weddings, one baby, and 10 BBF studios later, it is still that mantra of support that keeps Lorenz and Chernin's business and, more importantly, their friendship, intact. "We're soul sisters," Lorenz gushes, and Chernin fittingly finishes her sentence: "Not many business partners can say that." 324 N. Michigan Ave., 312-621-8770; MA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATRINA WITTKAMP AS THEY LAUNCH THEIR FOURTH STUDIO IN CHICAGO, BARRE BEE FIT FOUNDERS ARIANA CHERNIN AND JILLIAN LORENZ ARE LOOKING AHEAD TO A FABULOUSLY FIT 2014. BY ELLE EICHINGER MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 058_MA_SP_Partners_Winter2014.indd 58 11/19/13 4:39 PM

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