Meet Jaime Barr of The Collective by JABFIT
We love founder stories, especially all of the stories we hear of businesses opening during the pandemic. Jaime Barr has one such story. With a 15-year background in fashion, Jaime also had an interest in fitness from her very personal weight loss and fitness journey. When she lost her job in 2020, she decided to pivot and start The Collective by JABFIT. This started by teaching outdoor fitness classes in September of 2020 to teaching in her garage, which eventually led to the opening of her brick-and-mortar location in Chappaqua in 2022! In addition to the classes, guests can find a beautifully curated high-end boutique with activewear and accessories as well as classes for kids and a cool snack/lounge. Read on to learn more about Jaime and her brand in our recent interview.
Westchester Family: How did the idea for The Collective by JABFIT come about?
Jaime Barr: I worked in the fashion industry for almost 15 years, but felt done with it towards the middle of 2019 after I had my third child. I had a very personal weight loss and fitness journey back in 2011. I started seeing a nutritionist and doing lots of workout DVD’s in my city apartment and healthfully lost 40 pounds in six months. I knew I wanted to do something with fitness in the long-term.
I started getting my personal training certification towards the end of 2019. Then the pandemic hit in 2020 and I lost my job. I and felt like it was now or never so…I just started. I knew I eventually wanted to have a full space that catered to everything we as women need…movement, snacks, shopping, and an overall escape. So the first thing was to just start teaching and grow my following.
I started teaching group fitness classes outside in September of 2020, then that transitioned to my garage studio…and two years later I opened up The Collective by JABFIT which has now become a full-scale activewear and accessories retail space, a group fitness studio, a baby and kids’ class space, and a snack lounge to relax and unwind with friends!
Westchester Family: Why was Chappaqua an important location for you?
Jaime Barr: I grew up in Chappaqua, and recently moved back here with my family. It holds a very special place in my heart. Many of my childhood friends moved back here, so it just felt like the right place to open a space.
Westchester Family: What can people expect from the boutique?
Jaime Barr: I didn’t start out thinking I was going to have a full scale retail assortment. I truly was just going to have some branded items and call it a day but the demand was there. Most of the brands I carry you can only order online (which I always find very frustrating about activewear.) Of any fashion category, activewear is the stuff you really want to touch, feel, and try-on.
I find it so annoying to have to try on and ship things back. With a local store right in the center of town, women can have access to all the best and latest Activwear brands and actually get to try them on and see the material and the fit. We are constantly bringing in newness, and with my extensive trend forecasting background I am constantly all over social media and online, tracking brands that I feel will resonate with this demographic.
Westchester Family: Tell us more about some of your classes!
Jaime Barr: The group fitness classes are all about having fun and really enjoying your workout. The worst thing I hear is when women say “ugh I have to workout.” That’s not what movement and exercise should be about if you’re doing it right. You should look forward to getting into a room with a group of people, feeling the music, getting a sweat going, and feeling so accomplished after.
Some days it’s definitely tougher than others to motivate, but looking forward to an intimate group class is so motivating because you know other people are right by your side doing it with you.
Every class can be modified for any fitness level. Our instructors give modifications for almost every move and you can adjust your weights to accommodate whether you’ve worked out for years or if this is your first time!
Our classes are based around cardio and strength training. We have everything from endurance training to dance cardio classes with a bit of everything in between. No matter what class you do, you’ll leave sweaty on an endorphin high! Our CardioSculpt class — taught by a former Rockette is a cult favorite!
We also offer classes for caregivers and babies and older kids. For winter this includes crafting, fitness, sensory art, music, and more. Check out our kids’ schedule here.
Westchester Family: We love all of the fashions in the boutique! How do you curate these items? What can people find for fall/winter?
Jaime Barr: I try to buy things for the store that I myself would wear and go from there. My background in Fashion definitely helps in terms of picking styles and colors for coming seasons, but I also really look at the consumer.
We’ve had items fly out of here the day I put them out, and I’ve had items that sit and go on sale. I look at what’s working and what isn’t and try to buy into the successful brands and items. Fall and Winter are my two favorite seasons to buy for because I LOVE everything cozy.
We have so many amazing fleeces in store right now from FP Movement and Alo and we have a Ski Capsule of pieces coming in next month that I can’t wait for! We also have some amazing bra and legging sets that are perfect to layer under sweaters and sweatshirts for the colder weather.
Westchester Family: What are some of your favorite things to do in Westchester?
Jaime Barr: I love to try new restaurants. Chappaqua has really started to evolve and one of my favorite new restaurants in town is Basso56. The food is delicious, the drinks are amazing and I love to just sit up at the bar and have a nice casual evening with my husband. It’s the perfect way to wind down the week. I am also a major sucker for holiday lights.
We take my kids to the holiday lights at the Bronx Zoo every year. Last year we did the walk through lights at Harvest Moon and the drive through experience at Kensico Dam. Hiking is one of my favorite activities around here, too, especially in the fall as the leaves change. We have so many wonderful trails that are kid friendly, like the Rockefeller Preserve.
Westchester Family: Anything else to add?
Jaime Barr: Come and visit us! Even if you don’t feel like working out, you can take a meeting here, or have a coffee. We want to provide a safe, happy, uplifting place for people to spend time.