Posted on December 01 2017
Q1. Please tell us a bit about yourselves and your lives over the past couple of years?
Sarah: I set up Polefire 6 and half years ago and wanted to create a safe, darker space for alternative people to try pole fitness and make them feel comfortable and at ease. This quickly brought a crowd of girls who didn't want the bright lights and walls of mirrors that many other studios had.
Kat: I was one of these girls and started instructing aerial 5 years ago. I have a different style to Sarah so I started to bring in more of the dance side to pole and we work really well together.
Sarah: We upgraded to a bigger, better space and started teaching aerial and the Polefire family grew.
Kat: We started performing at small events and I realised I loved it! I just wanted to get better and better and our gigs got bigger, our performance team grew and it has just felt so natural. I started competing last year and I really enjoy the journey of training, meeting amazing pole dancers, and getting judge feedback to make me better. I quit my job as a lecturer and this is my whole life and I love it!
Q2. What made you think to begin Siren Asylum?
Sarah: I've always wanted to set up an alternative gym, with the same vibe and sense of community as Polefire
Kat: I was sat in the studio doing a bit of training and admin before a class and Sarah began talking about the gym idea again. We joked about kicking out the people in the property next door and getting that. Not 2 hours later a to let sign went up and I was like 'It's a sign!!!' So we took that as a kick up the arse to get it going! That was just 4 months ago.
Sarah: We sent out a survey for market research, asking why and how people used the gym and what they like/don't like about gyms. One problem that came up time and time again was simply men in the gym, either women feeling uneasy by men eyeballing them or mansplaining to them about their workout.
Kat: So we knew what we had to do. Polefire has very few men come through the doors- most are boyfriends or male friends who try it out once and then don't come back. So making the decision to make the gym only female was obvious.
Q3. Tell us about the help you received from your Crowdfunder Campaign?
We had money behind us ourselves but wanted to avoid debt and we knew our current students would support us. We also saw it as a way to almost pre-sell memberships and publicise ourselves when we didn't really have anything else to show! We got about £4000 altogether from Crowdfunder which helped massively and meant we had guaranteed members already.
Q4. Any surprises along the way?
Overall we've not had any major surprises but I guess the biggest one was just the sheer amount of support we got from all our friends and friends of friends and people who don't know us just realised we are fighting a good cause. We were expecting for flack from men and more questions about sexism but we really haven't! Some men have even said they don't go to the gym because of 'those guys' that show off in the gym - so they get it.
Siren Asylum Grand Opening October 13th!
Q5. How has your opening week been? Has the place been as busy as you wanted?
We had a soft launch opening, as we wanted the girls coming in to feedback to us what they want more of so we can build it together rather than us depicting what we think people want and so far its been really good! Honestly we expected it to be dead with the move of location but people were booked onto gym classes on the very first day and they are increasing in popularity!
Q6. What has been your biggest challenge so far?
We have had a few expected snags along the way. After we moved into the building we realised the bloody roof was leaking which wasn't good! Also the plan for the pole rig had to be changed a few times which was worrying as time was short. We set ourselves a timeline of 3 weeks to turn a grotty warehouse into a gnarly ass gym and we're stubborn bastards so there was no changing it!
Q7. What do you see for the future of Siren Asylum?
We just want to create a big community of women who share a common goal, to have fun and keep fit in their own way. We'd love to start franchising it out to different locations around the country and spread the siren love!
Q8. How did the name Siren Asylum come about?
I (Kat) had done a few performances as a mermaid/mermaid theme and we both have blue green hair. Sarah put forward 'Siren', a creature in Greek Mythology of only female form which fitted our female offering. They are enchantresses, and lured men to their death but that had nothing to do with it...
Based in Salford, Greater Manchester (UK), Siren memberships are £39.99. That includes all the 30 minute gym classes, discounts on some hour long sessions, access to our members only lounge, kitchen and bathroom and then the use of the gym equipment any time from 7am- 10pm. You can get in contact/book here.
We have pay as you go packs for Polefire classes or you can go unlimited for £99. This allows you to go to any Pole, Aerial, Burlesque, Flex or Yoga classes with no limit.
Our VIP Membership is £130 and combines the Polefire Unlimited Membership and the Siren Membership plus free mat and towel hire, and free access to the pole and aerial equipment when its not in use.
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