When Annie Battle '20 decided to attend Notre Dame, she couldn't bear to leave her passion for Pure Barre behind. In 2017, she and her sister opened a studio in South Bend and through hard work and careful time management, Battle became a full-time undergraduate student, a business owner, and a Pure Barre instructor who teaches 7-10 classes a week. Here, she gives us the low-down on her Notre Dame experience and what it's like to start a business in college.
Major: Management Consulting
Minor: Musical Theatre (Minor is launching Fall 2018.)
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Residence Hall: Ryan Hall
Clubs and campus involvement: The Echoes - coed a cappella group
Why did you choose your major and minor?
I was originally an English major because I love to write. After I began my first year, however, I started the process of opening Pure Barre in Eddy Street Commons. This led me to apply to transfer into the Mendoza College of Business. I loved my management class, and have so enjoyed learning inside the classroom and being able to use this knowledge in a real life situation, and vice versa. I also have a huge passion for musical theater, performing, and the history behind it, so I was ecstatic when I found out Notre Dame was in the process of creating this minor.
You were involved in both music and business growing up, right?
I never saw myself as a “business major” in high school, but after doing more research, I realized that I have been involved in business throughout my life. My dad was a part of a family business which he and his dad started in 1981. My siblings in I grew up running around the office and terrorizing all of his coworkers. When I got a little older, I loved to sit in his office as he would explain some of the different aspects of the company and where the growth was going. This was my first real taste of business.
I also am a singer/songwriter, and I recorded an EP in Nashville, TN, my freshman year of high school. I had to market myself, sell my CDs, and create my own brand. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the business aspect of music that I had never thought about. I believe that business and management are integrated in any career path, so, yes, I have always been passionate about business, networking, and managerial work.
How did your interest in Pure Barre develop?
My sister and I started taking Pure Barre when she was in college and I was a sophomore in high school. She dragged me to my first class, which I hated, but made me keep going until I was hooked. After she moved to Nashville, we would call each other every night and explain the different workouts we had experienced in class that day. We became obsessed very quickly. I found out that my studio in Vinings, the neighborhood in Atlanta where I went to high school, was hiring a “barre-tender” (someone who works the front desk). I immediately applied and had my first real job interview. I started the job after my junior year and continued until I graduated high school.
What led you to open a studio in South Bend?
Annie Battle '20 behind the desk at Pure Barre South Bend
As I was looking at different colleges, Pure Barre was actually a big part of the decision for me. It had become a part of my daily life, and my Pure Barre family was one which I could not give up. When I came to visit Notre Dame and there was not a Pure Barre studio, I was a little hesitant. When I stepped foot on campus, however, I knew that I had to attend this University. I immediately felt like I was home and could not imagine spending the next four years of my life anywhere else. The only problem was no Pure Barre. My sister and I, always eventually wanting to open a studio, decided to expedite our dream, and start the process of becoming Pure Barre franchisees.
What's it like to run a business as a college student?
Doing them both is a handful, and at times can be overwhelming, but every stressful day is worth being able to be teach in my Pure Barre studio while looking at the Notre Dame stadium out of our window. I have a really unique position in my classes as a business owner. When we are doing case studies in my marketing class, I relate to to the marketing problems. In accounting, when we learned about master budgeting, I not only understood the budgets, I was able to take that information and apply it to Pure Barre. Time management is extremely important to balance my life, and my planner is crucial to tell me when and where I am supposed to be.
What do you love most about your business?
Pure Barre has been a passion of mine since my sophomore year of high school. I absolutely love the workout, but more than that, I love the community we’ve created. Our clients will come into the studio and immediately have a smile on their face. Taking class is 50 minutes where you can focus on yourself and leave everything else behind. My favorite thing about running a business is getting to share the wonderful impact Pure Barre has had on my life with the entire South Bend community.
Do you have any advice for future Notre Dame students?
Battle, second from right, performs with The Echoes.
Notre Dame has been amazing in allowing me to pursue my interests. There are so many different opportunities to join clubs and organizations. In terms of major intent, I changed my major multiple times, so you absolutely do not need to know what you want to do coming into school. Some of my friends are doing the major with which they applied, but I changed from English to Film, Television, and Theatre, to Mendoza all within my first year.
It is really in the extracurricular activities in which you participate that shape and change you, and lead you to your major. Pure Barre was a huge part in this decision, as I was learning the ins and outs of business and learned how much I loved it. It was in the Echoes, my a cappella group, where I decided I wanted to continue my studies in music, and even without a major, I’ve been able to take multiple music classes. Allow yourself to be interested in different things, and take advantage of the opportunity to try out a class in something new.