Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Francesca, owner of the pole dance, aerial and fitness studio Fempress Fit. She came to my clients event at Lacuna Lofts where she worked the room, networking and telling all the guests about her new studio. I admired her hustle and thought it was a great move from a branding perspective because her and my client are neighbors. Lacuna Lofts is home for both of their businesses.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago where I was first introduced to what Fempress had to offer. Francesca hosted an open house at the studio and it was the perfect girls night for me and some of my friends. We got to get a taste of each of the classes that they have to offer and the energy in the room was unmatched. It’s one of the few places I’ve ever been where there is a tribe of women laughing, joking and cheering each other on while also letting loose and getting sexy. The twerk class was my favorite. Now I know how Beyonce must feel on stage when she channels her inner Sasha Fierce. CeCe embraced her alter ego Chrissy and it was a night to remember.
This Saturday, February 16th Fempress is offering a similar event, but this time in celebration of their one year anniversary. From 4pm-8pm guests can meet the instructors and check out a showcase of what the studio has to offer. To kick off the celebration, check out my Q&A with Francesca where she spills the tea on pole dancing and being selfish at least once a day. #SheWorkin
1. When did you start pole dancing and what sparked your interest in it?
I started Pole Dancing and Aerial Fitness in 2008, I saw some discussion and videos of pole dancing and aerial circus arts that started getting popular in West Coast. The moment it hit the Midwest, I knew immediately I wanted to learn it well and one day open my own studio. I loved learning so much I became a professional student and traveled around to a few studios local and in other states. I then decided to take a pole certification and a few other fitness certificaions , dabbling in yoga, pilates, aqua and other fitness genres to compliment my pole teaching. I tried to learn as much as I could from wherever I could. I even took workshops while on vacation. After awhile I lost focus on opening and just had a lot of fun learning and meeting so many great people with the same interest.
2. How did you come up with the idea for Fempress?
I was teaching yoga and pilates fitness part time at my local gym last year and I noticed that most ladies come to the gym for group fitness, and they never use the weight machines and don’t utilize the free weights as much and most were saying they were just too embarrassed to go near that area.
As I watched these ladies come to the gym, I just thought how great it would be if I could open a place that incorporated pole and aerial that I loved along with fitness and professional female trainers to help get ladies who don’t like to or want to lift weights. I knew how lifting my own body’s natural weight helped me tone and stay fit. I also know that more is needed than just pole and yoga. There was nothing in my area so I decided to combine a place where ladies only could come and take some fun and sexy pole, aerial and small group fitness classes while having fun! I decided to put a team of ladies together so that we could teach our knowledge and empower other women.
I came up with the name because I knew I wanted to target a female only fitness studio, purple is my favorite color and Empress is at the top of the hierarchy in royalty. There are kings and queens and they have kingdoms, but an Empress rules over an Empire. At Fempress we say Welcome to our Fempire!3. What does Fempress have to offer and what experience do you look to provide your customers with?
We are for ladies only, a boutique fitness clubhouse for ladies. We offer classes in Pole Tricks and Dance, Aerial Lyra and Hammocks as well as Group Fitness and Flexibility classes. We try to be a well rounded studio. We realize it takes flexibility and strength to master a lot of the things we teach pole and aerial. We have a couple of different fitness classes designed to get you started. One gives focus on upper body and core and the other focuses on you lower half of your body and core. Our classes are small and you get that personal attention of personal training in any genre we teach, in every class. We can help you get stronger so you can move into the pole dance, tricks , Lyra and/or aerial Hammock classes. All designed to compliment one another. Your having so much fun, and along with the support from the other ladies in the class you wind up having a great time while getting fit!
In addition, we offer Bachelorette, Bridal, Girls Night Out and Birthday Parties for ladies to come and celebrate in a safe space amongst your Fems and Family!
4. The one year anniversary of Fempress is coming up. What are you doing to celebrate?
We are having our One Year Grand Opening Celebration this Saturday, February 16th from 4-8pm. You can register for a workshop that we are teaching on that day or just come and check out our studio, meet our instructors and check out a mini showcase. Our students and staff love to show off their well earned skills. We will have a DJ, snacks, cash bar and several vendors participating: Chicago Bodyscuplting, Kake Marketing, Rebellion by Stephanie Wheat, Taylor’s Tacos, and Skylyte Candles, to name a few! We are having a block party on the 5th floor of the Lacuna Lofts building as well.
5. What are the benefits of doing pole dancing and aerial?
It’s an all encompassing workout, you use your whole body. The results are a toned upper body, great posture and the gain of confidence… It is an amazing transformation. We see new mommies, recent graduates, and women of all sorts of backgrounds coming to gain some of that confidence.They make friends they never thought they would have of all ages and backgrounds. We all meet for the common love of sexy pole dance and aerial fitness. You’re not doing the same movement over and over so your body is challenged daily as you lift yourself up and around and on to an apparatus with great music and company. We compliment each other and encourage each other. We promote a positive environment and uplift each other.
6. What else can we expect from you and Fempress for 2019?
We are often asked to appear in photoshoots and music videos with some local artists. Pole and Aerial and the Circus Arts have become very popular for music videos. We practice 2-3 times a week to sharpen our skills so we look good on the big screen! Look for us because we plan to go all the way UP.
7. What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur? Any words that you live by?
I’m motivated by progress and transformation. The look of my students when they start to feel that person that they have lost is coming back or awakening for the first time. She comes back bigger and stronger inside and out. I’ve only been open a year, but during that time I’ve had a chance to witness many minds and bodies transform to positive uplifted women who have a new found confidence and empowerment and are well on their way to a healthy lifestyle.
I have words and actions that I live by… Be Selfish. I try to be a bit selfish for myself at least once a day for an hour or so. I try to do something I enjoy doing, whether it be a moment to myself day dreaming of my next move or lunch with a friend to laugh or something peaceful like closing my eyes to meditate. It helps me sleep at night knowing that I took care of my mind as well as my body.
8. How did you build your team at Fempress? Are you looking to continue to expand?
I have a great team of professionals!!!! I knew a couple of my instructors prior to opening through the fitness circuit, some found me, and I also got referrals. We are always looking for talent! Our ladies all have different backgrounds and they all specialize in something different, but cross train with one another. They all work well together and I’m very lucky to have such a knowledgeable team!
9. Are you coffee, tea or tequila? Why?
I’m located in Pilsen where my father’s side of the family has lived for years. Tequila goes along with my families Mexican heritage. When I came of drinking age, it was the first alcohol I tasted and to this day I try to order any tequila I’ve never tasted. No salt, limes or lemons needed here!