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Flirt Fitness Studio Franchise

If you ask Flirt Fitness Studio owner Amy Schoonover about her journey as a business owner, she’ll sum it up like this: “When Flirt Fitness opened in 2013, we thought we were going to be this little studio, and it was going to be a hobby and a fun thing to do. It grew faster than we ever expected.” She says she can’t think of a single thing that doesn’t set Flirt Fitness apart from other studios, and Flirt’s almost 700 students seem to agree; so the growth comes as no surprise. This sustainable growth over the last 6 years has led Schoonover to make a decision about her business: it’s time to share the sisterhood we have and empower other women in the pole community; it’s time to franchise.

During a phone interview with Schoonover, I had to ask: why is it important to franchise Flirt Fitness? Her answer was intentional and determined. “We’re not just a pole studio, we want to change the stigma of pole fitness and we have an environment that is incredibly unique. In addition to an incredible environment, we have a proven business system and a training program that is unstoppable.  Pole fitness studio ownership can be difficult. With our system we want to help others take out all the mistakes, missteps, errors and difficulties we experienced. We want to empower other women in their goals of pole fitness studio ownership. At Flirt Fitness, we want to be a part of building the pole community.”

The successes that led Flirt Fitness to this point didn’t always come easy, though. There were of course growing pains. In 2013 when Schoonover decided to open the second Flirt Fitness Studio in Byron Center, MI (the first was in Grand Rapids, MI), she learned about what worked, what didn’t, what her strengths and weaknesses are as a business owner, and most importantly if what she was doing could be reproduced. During that process, Schoonover says, “I stepped back to look at the business side of things, and I asked myself ‘Is this possible? What is this going to look like if I’m not doing everything myself?’ The answer at that time was no, it can’t be reproduced.” At that point, Schoonover started practicing the art of delegation: stepping back and allowing her staff to take on new roles and responsibilities. “I found out that when I lead and everyone follows me, that’s what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life. When I empowered my staff instead, I found that I didn’t have to wear as many hats and I could enjoy business ownership more.”

In addition to the usual growing pains, Schoonover was handling the stigma that comes along with pole dancing.  “The respect level in our community can be challenging. People say, ‘Oh my gosh you own a business?!’ I tell them about it, and it’s interesting to watch their verbal and nonverbal cues. Not only do my students have to overcome the stigma around what we do, but staff members have to encounter it, and as a business owner I do too.”  Schoonover is proud that the environment that has been created at Flirt Fitness is helping others overcome the stigma of pole dancing. “Our environment and staff empower students to be strong and confident. It takes one class for you to see the change in perception of what we do.”

When the third Flirt Fitness Studio opened in Muskegon, MI in 2017, it was seamless due to the learning that was required from the second studio. It was that seamlessness that made it obvious to Schoonover she was ready for the next step.

She started with taking an entire year to get all of her thoughts and ideas about what it takes to open and operate a studio down on paper. “Outside of having a child and getting married, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” This process included documenting how to train staff, run the studio, hire people, and curate the very special environment that Flirt Fitness brings for its students. The Flirt Fitness franchise opportunity will include a training program with Schoonover as a mentor, so that Flirt Fitness Studios continue to be sustainable assets to the communities they serve.

Schoonover can’t emphasize enough how student-centric this experience is for her: “Students make an investment in the classes they take, and they want to know their investment will be around to actually service them, and continue to benefit them. It’s important to me that our students and our community understand what they have here – we’re building confidence in a community that they are a part of, and that can help them overcome anything.”

“We are not just a franchise system. Many places can provide you a franchise system. Many places can provide you a great environment. Not many places can provide you both the system and the environment. There are hundreds of pole studios across the country but very few are actually profitable. We believe that as much as a franchise gives you the system to success, that is only half of the equation. The other half is the environment that allows women to thrive in a safe place.”

For more information about Flirt Fitness Franchise, please visit www.flirtfitnessgr.com/franchise or contact studio owner Amy Schoonover at amy@flirtfitnessgr.com.