Hello folks! 👋
My name is Chlo and welcome to The Pole Coven’s Crowdfunder. This Crowdfunder is to help facilitate the opening of our super inclusive Portsmouth-based pole dance studio and my dream for the last 5 years, The Pole Coven. A safe space to pursue pole fitness and dance in an anti-diet culture, judgment-free, friendly environment.
So a little bit about me if you don’t know me already, my name is Chlo (all pronouns) and I am a genderqueer pole dance instructor from the Portsmouth area and the proud owner of The Pole Coven and pole wear business Hoodlum Fang. I have been in the pole industry for nine years, starting it as a hobby and getting instantly hooked and then launching my polewear business Hoodlum Fang shortly after. Hoodlum Fang is coming up for its 10-year anniversary this year. I have been teaching pole as an instructor and loving it for just over three years.
At this present time, I'm currently working on both businesses from my two-bedroom house in Stamshaw and it’s getting a little bit cramped. I'm currently teaching predominantly private tuition both in person and online as well as doing the odd online class for folks across the country who wish to learn from a neurodivergent metal music-loving person: me!
What do I do
Over the past year or so the demand for my private lessons has grown exponentially with a current mix of about 50 students, some of whom attend weekly while others come every now and again and some when they're visiting Portsmouth. This has shown me that the demand for a pole studio and my teaching where I'm able to teach group classes and offer a lot more flexibility in my teaching is absolutely vital for the growth of The Pole Coven. I also really need to move the businesses out of my home as I have been working from home full-time for the past 6 years and I feel now is the time to get my house back.
The benefits of Pole Dance
My students are constantly telling me that in their classes they spend learning pole and learning more about what their body is capable of is absolutely vital to their mental well-being and confidence. I am also a strong believer of this, I know pole has done wonders for my own self-worth and confidence in my body, and also in the outside world.
But I know, there's only so much I can offer in my home whereas having a studio with the option for group classes, they can meet other folks who are feeling the same way as them and create community and lasting friendships with a shared love of pole. I truly believe that pole and movement is for everybody, regardless of your shape, size, gender, race, ability or fitness level. There is always something for absolutely everyone.
So, about the studio, you may or may not know for the last few months I have been working tirelessly to find premises which will be our new home for The Pole Coven. And I am happy to say that we have found that home and we will be moving in imminently. We have kept to our core values of wanting to open a studio in the heart of Portsmouth City so that folks within the city can travel to our studio easily. So you will find us at the Portsmouth City Council-owned property, Portsmouth Enterprise Centre.
The Portsmouth Enterprise Centre is nestled in Copnor, close to the Eastern Road with great transport links to Hilsea train station along with Voi scooters and Beryl bikes close by. The centre also has an on-site cafe, free parking as well as loads of other great local businesses including some small gyms which we hope to make good friends with in the coming months. After struggling to find premises from private landlords who either wanted to charge the earth or weren’t willing to be flexible with lease terms, I am super happy that we could work with the Portsmouth Enterprise Centre to secure our first home. The premises ticks all the boxes for what we want within a studio including and not limited to, high ceilings for tall poles!
Why do we need a studio space?
- 5 or 6 super tall poles to host group classes
- A comfortable sitting area with stim toys and gorgeous textures to soothe
- No more sharing your pole with Chlo for private lessons
- Group classes to meet everyone and make pole buds
- Open pole hire to work on your own training
- Membership options as well as beginner courses
- More scope for our pay-it-forward payment scheme and scholarships
- Great accessible facilities within the business park such as accessible toilets and everything on a ramped ground floor level
- Easy transport links for trains, Voi scooters, Beryl bikes and free parking
So why are we here?
So you may be asking, Chlo why are you doing a crowdfunder?
Opening a pole studio or any new business venture is very expensive and even though I have been working very hard over the last few months raising funds through selling merchandise and offering online workshops (Thank you to all those who have already supported with these, by the way, you’re incredible!) I still need that little bit of extra help.
I am asking for a target of £4,000. With all the money that I have raised going towards renovations and structural support for the poles and other equipment, this £4,000 will be used to purchase equipment such as top-quality safety mats to keep our students safe during up-the-pole activities as well as purchasing yoga equipment, such as mats and blocks from a local business which specialises in making yoga equipment from sustainable and recycled materials so we're still keeping our ethos of being environmentally friendly as a business.
How the £4000 will be spent:
6 pole dance poles + VAT: £293.99 x 6= £1763.94
6 pole safety mats + VAT: £250 x 6= £1500
Cork Yoga Blocks: 20 x £10.99/£14.99= £219.80/ £299.80
Cork Sustainable Yoga Mats: 10 x £24.95= £249.50
Assorted Stim Toys for waiting area, cushions, blankets and storage: £186.76
Our Stretch Goal
If we reach our target then we have a stretch goal target of an extra £1000, this £1000 will be used for a scholarship program for folks within the Portsmouth area who are low or no income and wish to pursue movement or pole as a way to get fit, or attend classes for a social outlet to boost their mental wellbeing.
How can you help?
So how can you help? There are a number of ways, but most importantly, you can help us by sharing this Crowdfunder amongst your networks as far as you can. If you're able to support us financially, that would be fantastic, we have a ton of great rewards on offer, especially our merchandise. We have a limited edition pole set with sister business Hoodlum Fang with only 10 of these sets available! As well as t-shirts and hand tie-dyed (by me) tote bags with our own Tarot Dancer design to keep with our witchy branding. You can see these rewards below:
We also have your first group class packs for when we open as well as other class-based rewards, how exciting! I would be so appreciative if you could support us in any way that you feel you are capable of And I would love for you to come onto this journey with me.
Risks and challenges
With the start of any new venture or business growth, there are always many risks. The biggest risk is not being able to grow Hoodlum Fang or The Pole Coven which is why I am running this Crowdfunder. Without premises, Hoodlum Fang is unable to grow to a point where I would be able to offer employment to grow the local economy. And The Pole Coven, from my home I am only able to teach small private lessons so folks who need the group class structure for financial or social reasons are missing out.
Like any business, I have thought carefully about whether we can afford all the costs once we have premises. Our budget works even if we don’t at first fill classes and only take on a few new private lesson clients as Hoodlum Fang will be running alongside the opening and renovation period.
If there are any unexpected costs, I’ll make sure to keep our community fully updated. I prefer to be as transparent as possible about what is going on. I’m confident that we will raise the funds needed through fundraising drives via the incredible pole community or by offering more exclusive drops from Hoodlum Fang.
My priority is to build on and maintain an inclusive space for my students that we as a group have made in my home space. I am absolutely committed to making sure that happens, no matter what.
Got a burning question?
If you have any more questions, just drop us a line at [email protected].
Thank you for choosing to spend some time with me today, it means the absolute world! Now, let's do this!