Sarah Brown

I started The Pole Studio in 2008 with two poles in my living room but 12 years on I now have 8 studios, 4 of which are full time. But more importantly I have 14 loyal instructors (most of whom have been with me for over 8 years) and I like to think I am not only their ‘boss’ but their mentor and friend. My team have always been close but due to the distance between each studios it is often impossible for them see each other so at the start of lockdown I created a Whatsapp group where anything goes. We are now even closer and we speak every day to keep spirits up and encourage each other to train however we can, including the instructors attending each other’s group classes. I also actively encourage them to go to other teachers from different schools and this is something I have always done.

Four of my studios are actually franchised by my instructors, offering them the opportunity to be proud owners of their own businesses and I support them in every way I can. I have halted any franchise payments during this time despite my own income taking a massive hit. I feel lucky every day to have a team who are an extended family and support me and my two children, allowing me to be consistently entrepreneurial for the benefit of us all.

I not only obsess over my own business but I like to think I have become an Ambassador for the pole industry by creating The PoleSafe Federation 5 years ago. I saw an increasing need to prioritise and endorse safe teaching and training and my aim was to try and shift the emphasis back to clean, simple pole achieved in a safe and progressive way rather than the ‘fast trick wins for Instagram’ which many people were watching and trying to emulate.

This focus is reflected in my syllabus, my instructors and within the EMDP and PDC approved Instructor Training we offer in the hope to continue The PoleSafe ethos into many more studios not only UK wide but globally. I’ve even spread the word as far as Hollywood (one of my students is a stuntwoman and she taught Tom Cruise how to Shouldermount hop for Mission Impossible 4!). My aim is to get pole out there in the world and this certainly helped to do so!

I am so proud of this industry, of all the amazing performers, of the strength it shows not only physically but mentally. I love my business. I love that my instructors are all different and quirky but supportive of each other and me. I love how I’ve grown and how I can see the industry growing with me. I love PoleSafe and the passion it has ignited in the spectacular names in the business who have come on board to help. I will keep pushing forward because the instructors, the students, the supporters and the performers deserve to be seen and respected and I try to show this when I judge pole competitions. I have had the honour to judge Heir to the Chrome, the National Pole Champs in South Africa (one of my franchisees is in Pretoria), Pole Theatre and Southern Pole Champs.

So to sum up, I have two fantastic businesses in this industry, I am a pole judge, I am a very proud pole mummy to 14 amazing instructors and hundreds of students as well as a mummy to two wonderful children, who have often had to suffer due to my businesses so the one good thing about the Covid crisis was the time I got to spend with them. But I also tried even harder during the last 4 months to support pupils and instructors with discounted classes, more social media content, allowing PoleSafe members to renew with a payment deferral and generally trying to stay positive for everyone.

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