MEET BARBIE: Introducing Barbie Bent, also known as Babs - a fun-loving, adventure-seeking, Ontario-born babe. After working as an optometrist in England, Barbie decided to move to Vancouver and open Lagree West, a high-intensity pilates studio that promotes personalized classes targeted to aid in weight loss and increase strength. Barbie hasn't looked back since the big move three years ago, and has rapidly expanded Lagree West from one location to three in the Greater Vancouver Area. As a successful entrepreneur, she draws inspiration from growth, whether it comes from within herself, her relationships, business or clients!
To me, this means collaboration over competition. Looking at the world through a lens of abundance rather than scarcity. When you join forces with the babes you have a lot more momentum than you would on your own. You foster this awesome environment of helping each other. It’s not as lonely and it’s way more fun!
If you could choose your nickname, what would it be?
I’m sticking with Babs!
What is your spirit animal?
Haha...My spirit animal is a cat which is ironic because I’m highly allergic and as a result not their biggest fan. But cats are independent, adventurous, curious, and have a relaxed connection with themselves.
What is your proudest babe moment or achievement?
I recently went on a Lululemon ambassador retreat and upon arrival at our cabin, they had placed these handwritten letters from close friends and teammates. Let’s just say there were a few tearjerkers! It was such a surreal moment to truly feel the impact I have had on other people’s lives. The letters gave deep validation to the hard work I have put in to creating Lagree West as well as highlighting the amazing people in my camp.
What is the most unexpected thing you have in your purse or wallet?
I always seem to find random scooby snacks… ;)
What product would you seriously stockpile if you found out they weren’t selling anymore?
I’m sure there are more important things I would stockpile but for some reason, I keep thinking about Aperol.
If you had a yacht, what would be the name of it?
Blue Dream, but I stole the name from my partner.
What was the best piece of advice you received when you were first starting your career?
Don’t freak out and think that you need to find the perfect job right away. When you are just starting your career you have so much time to explore what you truly love. Get out there and don’t be scared to take risks or start a new path. I went from finance into optometry to fitness in less than a decade.
What is the best piece of advice you have received now that you are in your career?
Don’t waste time dwelling on failure. Be present in gratitude and the fun aspects of running our business. Treat setbacks as part of the learning curve rather than negative experiences.
Red, white, or rose?
When I dance I look like….
An uncoordinated robot.
Tell us about a Babe who has supported you?
Being an entrepreneur can be very isolating. I draw a lot of support from people who are on similar journeys. Christina Disler, the founder of Werklab, is definitely a go-to supporter. We share the ups and downs and everything in between. To be honest, I feel bad about naming just one, every single woman in my life is
incredible and supportive. I love them all.
Who do you channel when you’re about to do something that scares you?
My partner, Dan Sutton. He says courage is being scared, but doing it anyway. It helps that I know I have his support if I mess up.
What is your favorite destination to visit?
Hmm, this one is really hard. I am a Libra and by definition indecisive. Probably somewhere on the Mediterranean in the summer. Time moves differently in Europe. They have the work-life balance a bit more figured out.
What is your favorite meal to eat?
My Oma’s homemade soup.
What is the most fulfilling part of your career?
Meeting and connecting with others. I moved to Vancouver to start Lagree only knowing a handful of people. Since opening our doors in 2015 I have met the most AMAZING babes.
Where is your favorite place to draw inspiration from?
I am most inspired after/during a vacation when I am away from work and I have less structured time. In these periods I am feeling refreshed and creative. The lack of structure helps me approach problems with more creativity and energy.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I eat a lot of ice cream. I have an annual notification that tips me off when Earnest has birthday cake flavor…
What quality are you working on yourself right now?
Showing up as a powerful leader.
What is the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome in business?
Building out a commercial space is always a big challenge. Construction is still a man’s world and the City of Vancouver is not set up to adequately support small business development. The permit process creates a large and expensive bottleneck! Hopefully, this improves with time.
Coffee meeting or drinks meeting?
If you’re going out for a cocktail you’d order…
One of three: mezcal margarita, Aperol spritz or red wine.
If you had an unlimited budget for 2 hours shopping where would you go?
What is your favourite movie?
I know it’s cheesy but I’m obsessed with Gone With The Wind