We chatted with Ayla Goodson, founder and owner of Gemini Studioz in Mobile, Alabama, about how she discovered a new career path through pole dancing, and why she’s never looking back! Join Ayla this Friday, February 11 LIVE on B&P Online for Hell on HEELZ at 8pm ET.
Why pole? How did you get into the industry?
For me, pole was just a new way to work, in addition to, I think in my mind everyone at some point dreams about being a stripper or wants to channel that super sexy energy. For me, I decided I just wanted to buy a pole, and put it up in my living room. I figured I could teach myself – I’m athletic, I was a cheerleader in college. But to my surprise, I realized I couldn’t do it, so I started taking classes. It was challenging but it was a good challenge in that you can test yourself and set goals for yourself. I was living in Houston – my first class was at Inner Me Studios.
What inspired you to open your own studio?
I worked as an accountant when I lived in Houston and I just knew that that was not my calling in life. I knew that I wanted to do something where I could motivate and inspire and interact with people. One day I pulled up in my driveway and was leaving pole class, and i called my mom and said i’m going to move back to Mobile to open my own studio – one of my friends was living there and had a dance studio. My other friend was a fitness trainer. The next day I started researching buildings, I FaceTimed my mom and we viewed the building and signed the lease. Of course, I didn’t have any knowledge of the process of opening your own business. I spent most of my time on google figuring out how to get funding. The building we got needed a whole makeover so it wasn’t move-in ready at all. I hated my nine to five corporate job and this was a way for me to sort of live my purpose. And it’s been seven years since!
Who’s your biggest cheerleader/mentor/who inspires you?
I would say my mom is my support system — she is my biggest cheerleader. My family and friends – they are definitely major supporters. Whatever I decide to do, they are always all hands on deck. We were just talking about how we moved into this new building that we’re in last year, and how everyone has been very supportive.
What’s kept you going during this pandemic?
Because I don’t want to go back to a typical nine to five! Because I love what I do, the pandemic was just an additional way to help people especially when it comes to mental health, keeping people going. Pole has been therapy for a lot of people. So even when we weren’t able to come into the studio, we were still able to connect because many of my students have poles at home. I think the pandemic was a much needed break and rest when we couldn’t come in – it gave people an opportunity to relax. A lot of people were dealing with burnout prior to the pandemic. So we were really ready to go and energized when we opened back up at the end of May 2020!
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
So much growth, definitely. I’m doing a trial run for a second location. It’s going really, really well just to see how people respond to it in that area, which has been great. I’m looking forward to taking my pole showcase (which I do once a year) to a new location, just kind of seeing what happens with that. Not to mention there are a few ideas that Ii want to incorporate in the new year – training new people to get pole certifications, just really growing the business honestly and seeing what that growth looks like. I’m also adding aerial silks in March, so I’m interested to see how that will go since we’re the only studio in the area. I think it adds more pizazz to the studio.