Like many awe-inspiring tales, the story of WundaBar begins in Hollywood. It was 2006 when WundaBar creator and CEO Amy Jordan first began practicing Pilates. At first, Pilates was something she squeezed into her busy schedule as an Entertainment Marketing Executive—but it quickly became her passion. Two years later, she traded stilettos for ToeSox and opened her first high-energy Pilates studio.
“At the end of the day, I didn’t feel like I was giving back to the world or benefitting people by staying in the entertainment industry,” says Jordan. “After I opened my first studio, I saw clients come in with the weight of the world on their shoulders—and leave with huge smiles. That’s when I knew I was in the right place.”
Once Jordan realised her purpose, the pieces began to fall into place for WundaBar. Inspiration struck again in 2010 when Jordan sketched the now-patented WundaFormer that reimagined Pilates.
“WundaBar’s purpose is to bring the beautiful biomechanics and functional movement of Pilates into a fun fitness environment. This methodology and the tools needed were missing from the space,” says Jordan. “Then one day I was on an airplane, and I had the idea to combine everything into one device. So I drew the WundaFormer right there.”
That fateful airplane trip set the future of WundaBar in motion forever. With a newborn baby boy in arms, Jordan got to work refining the WundaFormer, working on the patent, trademarking the WundaBar brand, and building the website. And this was only the beginning.
This is the story of how Jordan grew WundaBar from one location to a popular nationwide franchise and on-demand studio.
Forging forward with grit, innovation, and Mindbody
WundaFormer prototypes complete, the flagship WundaBar Pilates studio opened in Studio City in 2012. Jordan was creating something entirely new, and this location served as a space to test the machines and format. But nothing new comes easy.
“Before we opened, I was terrified! But if you’re not terrified of opening a new business, you’re not paying attention. I still get butterflies opening a new location,” Jordan shares. “Mindbody made me believe I could do it. As a new entrepreneur, I needed the tools to run a business. I have a lot of tools in my wheelhouse but not the ones Mindbody gives me.”
Of course, the WundaBar origin story isn’t complete without the story of the brand name. In an industry saturated with similarities, WundaBar stands out. Jordan explains, “It just came together. As a marketing person, I had pages and pages of brainstorm notes.”
During the early days of WundaBar, Barre classes were taking off. Yet, WundaBar was different—a combination of things. Naturally, it needed a name as unique as its format. The first papers read Pilates Barre Inc. but something else was calling. A believer in the power of the subconscious, Jordan stepped away from her notes for a couple of weeks.
“And then one day, it hit me. There’s the WundaChair and the Pilates Bar, and I’m German, and it’s perfect and wonderful—WundaBar! Done,” says Jordan. “It all worked nicely together, and there was nothing else like it.”
Cultivating purpose through business growth
Cut to today, WundaBar now has nine studios spanning New York and California, with a new location opening in New Jersey this year. For Jordan, franchising and growing the business was always part of the plan.
“My purpose is to improve as many people’s lives as possible through functional movement. The only way to do that is through growth,” says Jordan. “But even if I open 100 studios this year, I’m missing millions—if not billions—of people. So that’s why we also launched on-demand classes.”
For Jordan, on-demand makes WundaBar more accessible and inclusive for people in different locations with different incomes: “Making the online portal really affordable and accessible is a way for me to connect and serve more people.”
If Jordan’s determination and passion aren’t already impressive enough, she recently beat a rare and aggressive cancer. Through it all, she chose to keep a positive mindset—in business and life.
“All I want to do is offer the best, most excellent experience and results for our WundaFam. I do everything with my whole heart. If I can’t get wholeheartedly behind it—and keep a positive mindset about it—I don’t do it,” she says, sitting in front of a blown-up heart sketch that adorns her home studio.
Building a divinely aligned franchise
One might wonder, what’s the source of Jordan’s persistent, multi-faceted passion and drive? If you ask her, she says: “It’s an internal experience. I’ve always felt called to do better. To make something better, to make other people’s lives better, to make my life better, to be a better mom. It can be exhausting, but through my cancer journey, I’ve learned to take a breath—to take a minute.”
By inviting and trusting others to lead the WundaBar brand, the same passion fills every studio—in-person or on-demand. “As a leader, you want to invite others to do it with you—rather than telling them how to do it,” says Jordan.
But it wasn’t always so easy, Jordan admits. Pre-pandemic, she had a team of at least a hundred instructors and a massive training binder.
"At first, I approached training with a need to "prove myself" as good enough because I was so new to Pilates. Now it's a video library with the nuts and bolts of what we do. The instructors have the freedom to add their flavor. They bring so much value with their heart and values," says Jordan.
By trusting others to lead, Jordan has built an unstoppable team that’s fully aligned around the purpose of improving people’s lives from the inside out.
Focusing on passion and outsourcing the rest
As a working mum and entrepreneur, Jordan sees balance as a glorified and unrealistic goalpost. Instead, she believes in creating your own reality with the tools available. In her first year as a studio owner, she realised there was a lot of room for flexibility to earn a good living while spending more time with her kids.
“If it’s something you’re really passionate about and willing to work hard for, you can make it happen,” she says. “It’s not always glamorous—particularly for working moms. In the early days, I’d be rocking my son with one foot, pumping, and talking to engineers all at the same time.”
Instead of chasing balance through multi-tasking, Jordan believes in focusing quality time on one thing at a time. “I find I only truly ‘have it all’ when I rely on other people, my smart and savvy team members, and tools that do what I can’t,” she says.
A large part of WundaBar’s success comes from outsourcing to experts, whether that looks like the WundaFormer engineers or the Mindbody strategic account team.
“When I first started, Mindbody made it realistic for one person to run a Pilates studio. I didn’t have to take phone calls on-site all day. I didn’t have to run credit cards or take cash and checks. Mindbody stepped in as my front desk person when I couldn’t be there. It made everything doable and provided the structure I needed to succeed,” explains Jordan.
Jordan’s final word of advice? “Get the Mindbody strategic account team on your side. It provides the tools you need to succeed. Being a Mindbody client will empower you to run your business and focus on the parts you love.”
Standing strong at the forefront of what’s possible
With a strong foundation in place, WundaBar is in active expansion mode—despite the pandemic. To continue reaching as many people as possible, Jordan expects to open five to ten more studios in the next two years, in addition to expanding the on-demand library.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced a lot of studios to close. So there’s going to be a huge need in the marketplace to serve people with movement,” says Jordan.
But that’s not all. Jordan also has exciting plans to launch a compact at-home Pilates machine. “We call it the Swiss Army Knife of machines,” she says.
In true WundaBar fashion, the at-home machine will help people make the most of their exercise minutes and workout space so they can feel good in their own skin—at home. Even as people slowly return to the studio, Jordan expects the at-home machine to offer something unique and complimentary.
“No one can offer what WundaBar offers. Our equipment is patented. Our approach to movement is specific. And the experience our clients have is unique. You really can’t find it anywhere else,” she concludes.