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How Jazzercise, a wellness startup, is creating new waves in the fitness industry

Even at the age of 76, American woman entrepreneur Judi Sheppard Missett is dancing her way to success. The brain behind Jazzercise, a physical fitness venture, Judi proves that age is just a number.

Jazzercise began in Chicago in 1969. Judi envisioned a full-body workout that includes dance, strength and resistance training accompanied by music. Judi, who started out as a trainer in a dance studio, realised the potential of such a venture after seeing students dropping out in no time. Then she realised that not everyone who joins dance class aspire to be a professional; some do it to be in shape. Thus, she combined Jazz and dance to form Jazzercise.

Remember, it was the early 70s. Judi used to take 40 sessions a week, shouting out instructions above the loud beats. This affected her vocal cords eventually. When she realised that she could not do it alone, she decided to build a franchise model for her enterprise. Her best students were given franchises. She created new music and choreographed them and distributed via VHS cassettes across the US. The franchisees grew up using them. Although the style of classes changed with the advent of the internet, the energy of Judi hasn’t changed a bit. Even at this age, she retains the spirit and rhythm of the young Judi.
Today, Jazzercise has 8300 franchisees across thirty-two countries. Its annual revenue is $93 Mn. With many new companies popping up in the fitness industry, it is just amazing how Jazzercise and Judi are still growing.

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