If you’re looking to improve your fitness in 2017 and you’re tired of spending your time staring at walls while running on treadmills, you should check out the hot fitness craze that has been taking the world by storm – hula hooping!
It’s not just about spinning the hoop on your waist, although that’s definitely part of it. Hoop dance fitness classes incorporate arms, legs, torsos, hips, hands, and sometimes even feet for a full-body workout that feels like a dance class with friends.
One small business that has really embraced hula hoop fitness is Toronto, Ontario’s Sugar Hoops.
Sugar Hoops provides their enthusiastic students with weekly hoop dance fitness classes in a number of studios in Toronto, in addition to their newly expanded classes in New Brunswick. The classes are backed by infectious dance music that is sure to get you ready to move! The company has also brought in internationally-known instructors for special workshops and offers event promoters a pretty unique entertainment option – they even spin flaming hula hoops!
The founder of Sugar Hoops, Mandy Harvey, is always on-the-go and focused on nurturing the growth of her business. I was excited to hear the story behind her fun and interesting business, so she agreed to put down her hula hoops for a few minutes and let me interview her. Read her story below!
Tell us about your business in as much detail as you can. What is it that you do and who are your customers.
Sugar Hoops is a hoop dance lifestyle fitness and entertainment company specializing in connecting community, music & movement. We teach hoop dance fitness classes to adults and youth. We also offer entertainment for parties, special events, corporate workshops, fun fairs, group hoop jams, and festivals. Our clients range from a 6-year-old birthday girl, adults looking to get in shape in a low impact and supportive environment, to music festival promoters.
What made you choose this path? Is it a family legacy or are you a pioneer? Did you go to school for it or are you learnings as you go?
I discovered hula hooping at a music festival when I was DJing in the early 2000s and was immediately drawn to it. I got my own hoop and taught myself. It is definitely something I created on my own and Sugar Hoops is a direct reflection of my experiences and passion of music and movement. The last 10 years, I have been more serious about my training and have been lucky enough to train with some of the best instructors in the world.
They say that to be successful you have to be passionate, so share what drives you every day. Why do you love what you do?
I love hula hooping and sharing it with others through teaching and performance work. I know how much it has enriched my life physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and it has driven me to share it with everyone I meet. It’s a huge part of who I am.
Has it been smooth sailing or have you overcome adversity to get where you are?
It has been definitely been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I have been working for myself for 5 years and every day is a new adventure. It takes time and dedication to make something like this work and I give it my all.
We all know that crazy happens. What’s the wildest thing that’s happened on the job?
Being evacuated from a music festival with thousands of people while we were performing due to a possible tornado. Luckily, no hoops or hoopers were hurt!
What do you do with your time off? Are you familiar with that concept?
I do not take much time off but, when I do, I am always ready to get back to work ASAP. I love what I do.
This is the age of the social network. How important is social media to your business and how do you make it work?
Social media is HUGE for any business. It allows me to have a direct connection with students and aspiring hoopers. Social media gives me an outlet to motivate, encourage, and hopefully inspire people all over the world.
How are you involved in the community?
From organizing community hoop jams to donating our time at Holland Bloorview Kids Hospital and many charities, we try to spread the love of hooping and its ability to connect with all ages as often as we can.
What does supporting local mean to you?
It means taking the time to support other business owners in your area. I believe supporting local is important to the community and economy and artistic development of any area.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
We are expanding to other cities to spread hooping far and wide. In the last 2 years, we have expanded to New Brunswick in addition to new locations in Toronto, Ontario. We have many other locations that we are working on. This will include training new instructors and expanding our brand.
Do you have any advice for aspiring business owners just starting out?
Do not forget to take into account that your time is valuable and should always be accounted for. Working for yourself is not for the weak. If it was easy, everyone would do it.