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Crystal Gibson Interview | Balancing Studio Owner Life

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Sarah:               Welcome, Crystal!

Crystal:             Hi.

Sarah:               Welcome to my podcast. It’s back! I took a little hiatus but wanted to bring it back, and I want you to be my guest on, so thank you for giving me some of your time.

Crystal:             Oh, thank you so much.

Sarah:               Today, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about your career change, how long you’ve been in the pole dance industry. You’re one of the OG’s, but how long you’ve been in the pole dance industry, and how your career has changed and developed over the years into what you’re currently doing now.

Crystal:             Into the motherhood of the pole industry. Well, I started back in 2001 as a little 18-year-old stripper in Seattle. My friend lured me into a strip club, as a way to pay for our rent, as we were living in Seattle. I was a country girl, so I was living in the country, and I had no idea about dance, or pole dancing, or that it was even actually a thing. I went to church three days a week.

Crystal:             And then I was like, “Okay, I’m going to move to the big city.” We moved there and she’s like, “Oh, I want to be a stripper.” I’m like, “Oh, what’s that?” She was going to do this audition night. She dragged me in, and I was hooked. I saw this girl called Cherry on stage, and she was whipping her head in a really tall, Russian ponytail. Obviously, they’ve been around before the Russians. I was like, “Oh my God. I have to do this.” I went the next week and signed up for the amateur night, which the winnings was exactly how much it cost to get the licence to become a stripper, and I won, so that was kind of fun.

Crystal:             And then that started stripping. And for me, it was a source of money, but I became addicted to the stage presence, and being on stage, holding the power, holding the space, and the lifestyle, actually having money for once. That was pretty cool too. But with that, comes a really hard party atmosphere, and I went down some paths that were really easy for an 18-year-old to go down, drug wise. And so, it put me in situations that I wasn’t really so proud of at the time. I knew with my upbringing, that I needed to eventually get away.

Crystal:             To make a long story short, I eventually ended up quitting stripping and I went back to school in Washington DC, where I went to school for broadcasting and communications, to work in radio and DJ.

Sarah:               Nice!

Crystal:             Yeah, that was fun. I did that for a few years and met my husband in Miami at a music conference that he was working out. He’s a DJ, an international DJ. He’s been doing that for a long time. I still wasn’t doing pole. I did build a pole, which is like from Home Depot. I went and got a closet pole, took out the chandelier, cut off the electrics, and rigged it in, and built a little base. We would do tricks. The hardest trick was an inside leg hang, sit, hello boys.

Sarah:               Don’t do this at home people…

Crystal:             Yeah. Oh my God. I look back, I actually just taped the wires and shoved them up into the electrics.

Sarah:               Seems fun.

Crystal:             I think it was before X-POLE. I don’t know. Actually, I don’t know because when I stopped stripping, I literally let go of everything. It was a real hard rock bottom, get away from it. And I did miss the stage, so that’s when I built this pole. In fact, my friend David, hi David, he used to come watch me strip. He’s still my friend. But when I left I gave him that pole, and he still has it some 20 years later in his closet or in his man cave, that’s what he calls it.

Crystal:             Anyway, so blah, blah, blah. And then, one, two, three, four, five years passed, and I think I was going onto the fifth year of me not doing pole. I met Natasha Wang at an after-hours because her husband DJs as well. And so, we were sat there, and she stopped partying, and she was getting all sober, and I was just going for it, having a good time. She goes, “Oh, do you want to go to a pole class with me at 12:00 tomorrow?” I’m like, “Are you kidding? No way.” I was like, “I already did that. Did that, did that, did that.” And then we remained friends, and it took her about two years to get me into a pole class.

Sarah:               Oh, really?

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               I didn’t know this.

Crystal:             And then when I started, she had me start at S Factor because I was a new mom, and S Factor is an awesome place for pole but it’s more emotionally based, and so it nurtures the whole woman, not so much the tricks aspect of pole. Yes, they’ve developed and evolved over time but their main source of thing, is to nurture yourself and to let your own erotic creature come alive, and through that find pole. But let her come alive first, and the pole is second to that, but always there. I don’t even know. It’s like a sister. You’re growing up with her, like a twin.

Crystal:             I started off at S Factor February the fifth, 2010. To the day, six weeks after I had my daughter. And yeah, I absolutely loved it. Did two years of S Factor, where I only went once a week for two hours because that’s all I could afford and that’s all I had time for because I was a new mom. Your whole life is your child.

Crystal:             But then Natasha started taking me out. She rented a drum room where people would drum, and she shared this rehearsal space, and we would stick poles up, and she would do all this crazy stuff, and I would just sit and watch, and then she started teaching me, and I got stronger, and I followed in her footsteps, which is why I think I came up so quickly into the pole industry. I mean, having her as your best mate with the same desire.

Sarah:               Yeah. I mean, she’s pretty up there. So yeah, to have her as a training buddy, you’re pretty lucky.!

 Crystal:            Yeah. And as a soul person, she’s pretty much as cool as humans get.

Sarah:               Nice.

Crystal:             I love her. Anyway. So then, she started going over to The Choreography House before it was the The Choreography House, when it was just her, and Kelly, and a couple other girls. I went over to The Choreo House three months after it opened, and was doing every class I could for the technical aspects because I really wanted to get into the new show Girl Next Door. And then I didn’t make it in the first cut, broke my heart. And then I got in the next around. And then within that year, I was actually casting the show and stuff, helping cast some of the shows and the auditions. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Crystal:             And then that started my world of performing. I taught at The Choreography House for five years, and we did nine shows a year with Girl Next Door, so there were monthly creations, performance value, so you didn’t have to put as much into them as you would a competition piece. And it was, again, more of the story. So I was able to combine what I learned at S Factor with the emotionality and the acting side because Sheila Kelley is an actress as well, so she secretly embeds these little things into your head, how to get emotions out of you for movement.

Crystal:             And then The Choreography House with Kelly Vaughn’s guidance on how to create beginning, middle, ends. And Natasha, I just loved pole, and started doing all these shows, and then I started doing BeSpun with the amazing Leigh-Ann Riley. Those shows were hard because they were choreography based. And although I worked at The Choreography House, I actually taught pole tricks, so I was just tricks, tricks, tricks, tricks, tricks. And when I started at BeSpun, that was really difficult for me because it was group choreography, and I had a hard time putting all of that into my head.

Crystal:             Anyway, there was a shooting at my daughter’s school when she was six, and that was the icing for us to move out of LA. There was a couple other things that happened. Nobody was harmed outside of the person that was shot purposely. But anyways, it just made me realise that I wanted to live my life where it was a little bit easier, where I could be around family, the cost of living wasn’t so expensive as living in a city.

Crystal:             My husband is from The Midlands. There’s a little post that says, “This is the centre of England,” about 10 minutes from my house, so it’s literally smack in the middle of England. And I said, “Okay, I’ll go but I have to have a studio.” He said, “Okay, cool.” We came here and saved up money. I was looking for about a year and a half for a space. I thought I found a space, but there is an amazing group on Facebook for pole studio owners. And after putting a lot of my questions and concerns, Stacey added me to the group before I actually had my thing, so I was really thankful for that. And just put up everything I thought, and then everybody gives really good feedback, and it’s quite honest. I had to take something that I thought was going to be amazing and awesome, and look at the reality of how much it was going to cost, and decide not to go for that venue.

Crystal:             And then one day I ended up in a different little tiny village outside my village, and I was walking by and I saw this brand new building, and it was completely empty. I don’t do metres, but it was really tall. My poles are about right under 12 feet, which I think is … I don’t know-

Sarah:               You don’t have to convert stuff. Google knows.

Crystal:             Yeah, tall. That’s rare in England though.

Sarah:               Yeah, it is.

Crystal:             It’s rare to find a building that is not an industrial estate, that has tall ceilings.

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             I literally went inside and I was like, “Can I have that building?” I called and it had just been leased to somebody, but tragically, the guy just died. The guy died.

Sarah:               Oh my God.

Crystal:             I know.

Sarah:               This could be a movie…

Crystal:             I know. The wife of the guy who leased the building didn’t know how to run this particular type of industry that he did, so she was trying to get out of the lease. It happened, literally the same week. I was like, “I’ll take it.” And so, hired a lawyer, and I came to understand that you can’t just open a building, it has to be in the right use.

Sarah:               Change of use, yeah.

Crystal:             Had to go into change of use. Everyone was like, “Oh, you should hire somebody because the change of use was denied three other times.” And I was like, “No.” One, I couldn’t afford it, it’s quite expensive. And two, I just didn’t want to give something I cared so much about to somebody else. So I wrote up a change of use, and it got accepted, and that was the beginning of Fly Girls.

Crystal:             I could keep talking or I’ll let you intervene.

Sarah:               No, it’s fine. Obviously, you’ve been in the industry for many, many years, so I think it’s interesting for people to hear how you can start something, and then it can end up being something completely different. That you started in stripping, and then you left it for a bit, and then you came back, just as a student, and then an instructor, and now as a studio owner.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               And it has obviously, changed and developed. You’ve changed continents in that time as well, but what kind of challenges-

Crystal:             Personal change.

Sarah:               Yeah. What challenges have you maybe found with starting your own studio versus being an instructor, for example?

Crystal:             Yeah. Being an instructor is great, and then because you’re always working on the newest thing, and the coolest thing, it’s like your head space only has to handle your particular class. Whereas when you become a studio owner, the best thing I can relate it to, is motherhood. In fact, I think it’s pretty much comparable to having a child because it becomes a lifestyle. It’s no longer a job. You can’t be a studio … You could if you did the business side but I teach all but two classes, so I teach 24 hours a week. That’s my choice, and I’m really hyperactive, so I don’t know what else I would do. I don’t want to run the business. I’m a teacher first and foremost, so with that comes a lot of specific obligation and responsibility.

Crystal:             When I was a travelling instructor and an instructor, it was kind of a bit more, I guess a little bit more glamorous because you just rock up. You’re like, “Hey, look at this stuff I taught.” You’re always evolving that way, and getting to see a lot of things, getting to meet a lot of new people. You have more head space for competitions, more head space for shows, for judging, performing, all of that.

Crystal:             But now that I’m a studio owner, all of that is like not even in the backseat. It’s in the back of a minivan, tucked away.

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             There’s no energy. There’s absolutely no energy to split myself any more than I’ve already been split, and I do really love teaching. It’s my best gift and it’s a gift to myself as well, so I love it for that. Your concern is more about your students. I have 120 active students, and I know nearly probably 90% of their names, I know their weaknesses, I know their strengths, I can tell if they’re having a bad day right when they walk in, or if they’re feeling good about themselves.

Crystal:             You change and you exchange one gift of gratitude of teaching for the gift and the gratitude of receiving, but through parenting, so it’s not as glamorous as at all because you don’t really have time for your Instagram, you don’t have time for your social media handles. Where I used to have a lot more power in my pole, I can’t actually exert my energy when I do get to do pole, I can’t exert that power because there is no more power left, unless I did lots supplements, and bulked up, and wanted to do weight training. And that, again, I wouldn’t really be able to do as a studio owner because it takes your time.

Crystal:             Being a studio owners it is really soulfully independent type of reward. You might not get as many likes, and as many views, and you might not be on as many stages, or judging a lot of shows, and things like that but every single day, you’re getting rewards of seeing actual people grow in confidence, and their bodies are shaping, and they’re making friends. It’s crazy, the more and more I do this, the more and more I do it, I find quicker little crevices into the person, and different ways of like working through them quicker.

Sarah:               It’s like building your own community. I mean, I guess as an instructor, you’re getting to build a very small community within your own class, whereas a studio owner, you’re cultivating a real tribe that you can see developing from a wider stance. With that, also becomes the fact that you’re not only running a small business, you’re also, as I say teaching, which I know a lot of studio owners do, which takes a huge amount of time. That is a full-time job in itself but then if you add the studio maintenance, the administration, the marketing, the advertising, you literally have so many caps that you have to put on-

Crystal:             And I’m a mom.

Sarah:               And you’re a mom as well.

Crystal:             It’s hard.

Sarah:               On top of that. It’s crazy how many jobs-

Crystal:             I can actually bounce around quite quickly and we do have some things that may … I don’t want people to think that if they want to open a studio, that it’s just going to be draining and it’s going to be really hard. You have to take your own ego out of it. You have to completely cut that out, and be more selfless, and more giving. Your reward isn’t going to be massive amounts of people watching you or following you, but your reward is understanding that you have something of value to offer somebody that’s going to make their life better. And that to me, for me personally, it might not be that way for everybody but that to me is my everything.

Crystal:             I don’t want people to think that if you open a studio it’s going to be so much you can’t handle. To be honest, the admin side, I try to give to the admin side how much money it actually makes me. I’m not going to put so much energy and effort into it if I’m not actually … You’re never going to get rich being a studio owner.

Sarah:               What?!

Crystal:             You’ll be able to make a living, but you’re not going to be super rich. Okay.

Sarah:               Pardon? (laughs)

Crystal:             But at the same time, the work/life balance for that should also hold value. You don’t want to be working as much as somebody that’s probably making double. Do you know what I’m saying?

Sarah:               Yes.

Crystal:             Know your own value, know your own worth, know how much effort in time. So what you do is there’s a lot of programmes. I love Go Team UP. I know that everybody is up and down. Programmes aren’t always going to be 100% great. It’s 100% great in my book. I don’t care that 70 quid a month that I have to give them makes me not have to sign people in, not have to sign people out. It helps my finances. Because of Go Team UP, I was able to buy a house this year. Yay, I’m a homeowner. Because I was able to download all of the documents at the studio, and hand them to an accountant, and they’re like, “Okay, yeah. You’re legit.”

Crystal:             There are programmes that help you get people in the doors, take the money, handle the money, and things like that. There are programmes-

Sarah:               We had them on the podcast because they’re very, very helpful-

Crystal:             Oh, did you?

Sarah:               Yeah. And they are really supportive of pole studios and the pole community in general. I know Stacey Snedden worked with them a lot as well.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               A lot of studios.

Crystal:             Stacey’s been a really big help as well.

Sarah:               Oh, yeah. She’s pole momma. She’s pole community, pole momma.

Crystal:             Yeah, pretty much around the world but so much for the UK. Shimmy and Maddie helped me a lot with understanding how to open a studio as well because they’re my soul sisters too. And then Tiffany Finney, she was one who actually was like, “Just move to the UK, you can do it.”

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             She really helped. But having the other women in front of me, knowing that they can do it was a really big help to understanding and doing it. But there are programmes, like Go Team Up that help, and making sure your website matches Go Team Up is key too, so that it’s just like boom, boom. I take about maybe five business calls a week. That’s it.

Sarah:               Nice.

Crystal:             Everything I’m like, “Use the website,” because I don’t have the time and the energy to respond to everybody. I’m like, “Use the website.” If you put everything into the website and it matches the Go Team Up, which I ain’t going to lie, is going to take you a good 40 to 80 hours to set up your website and to make those two sync but then you don’t have to do much maintenance past that.

Crystal:             The biggest thing also, one of the bigger things on the creative side of owning a studio, is know what your studio is before you open it, and make minor adjustments because you don’t want your schedule changing all the time. But for me, I wanted to do something that was different than my pole sister studio down the road, Addictive Fitness. We’ve got a great working relationship-

Sarah:               I see you train there quite a lot as well.

Crystal:             Oh, yeah. I love Kaz, she’s awesome. Karen’s great. She gave me a job when I moved here. She knew I was going to open, so we have a really good communication. I didn’t want to go into my studio being 20 minutes away from her studio, and run a similar thing to what they’re doing, so I took all the best parts of me. I went to S Factor as a student for seven years, and taught at Choreography House for four, and then there were all the shows. What I did was find a really happy balance of what meant the most to me and what was so easy to regurgitate to students because I truly fully believed it, and I made classes.

Crystal:             We run primarily, six week courses, and the same exact class is taught over all those, and they’re 90 minutes long, so if you can’t make that class, you can jump around. They’re slightly higher levels by a point of a grade. Each point value that goes up has a little bit harder thing at the end of the routine. Everybody starts off the same routine from beginner to advanced and at the end of the routines, this track will stop, they’ll stop. The higher level class, they’ll have a whole other combo at the end of the routine. It creates the same essence of flow across the studio. It’s really beautiful to watch and I love it. But to me, that’s what makes us and that’s what makes us different, is we’re a choreography based studio.

Crystal:             I find courses work better than drop-ins. I only have like a handful of drop in classes. That to me is more financially stable and it keeps me less anxious because I don’t like money. I love money. I don’t like money because it creates so much anxiety of, “How am I going to survive?” For me, I’m like, “Okay, you guys love this, then it’s going to cost this much for six weeks. If you can’t come to your class, you can do a drop in that week at one of the other classes.”

Sarah:               It just creates stability for you.

Crystal:             Yeah. I know a lot of people are afraid to do that but I think it’s important to do that.

Sarah:               I teach a lot of Xperts (trainings). We have chats with people at the beginning of the course, and some people are already teaching, some people are brand new, and some people are already studio owners. We always bring up the question about lesson planning and things. Do you do mixed ability classes? Do you do broken down in levels? Do you do courses or do you do drop-ins? And it’s very interesting how diverse and different studios can be, and that’s a good thing.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               I think it’s definitely, as you say, it’s finding what works for you, and what works for your students. Sticking with it, it is possible to do any of the above, and make it work. But as I say, if you like to have the stability of having courses … When I ran a studio, we did courses as well. We did six week courses and I agree with you, I think it added stability. But in some areas, they just worked with drop-ins and that works absolutely fine.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               It’s so nice to hear and refreshing to hear that you have such a good working relationship with your other local studio. I know that can’t always be the case, but my God, it must make life so much easier if people can work together and support each other.

Crystal:             No, that’s not always the case. Yeah, I’m all about working if you have good energy and if your intention is good. There’s a lot of studios around there, that don’t necessarily have this intention and they’re quite competitive. For me, I find that kind of … I don’t want to be even involved, so I just stay away. If you know that there’s a studio that’s local to you, that’s not really so nice, then just stay away from them, keep your own hat on, and go to where your energy is received and exchanged in a positive light.

Crystal:             I do believe that there’s enough for everybody to learn from different teachers. A student shouldn’t feel guilty if they want to go to my studio, or to Bliss Studio down the road, or to Addictive Fitness because we’re about 20 minutes from all three of us. That’s your intention. And then I’ve got Liam, who runs his studio. He’s awesome. He’s my other pole training buddy in Coventry, which is another 20 minutes away from me, and I have him weekly with us, or biweekly, and sometimes a bit more of a gap there. We all just have good communication. And same with the Birmingham group. They’re all really close as well.

Sarah:               Yeah, that’s nice.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               Down in my area, there’s not that many studios. You’ll get clusters in certain areas where it’s very-

Crystal:             I think there’s nine in Birmingham.

Sarah:               Clusters of studios and sometimes it can work absolutely great sometimes, it can, obviously, be difficult-

Crystal:             I think it’s about the personalities.

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             Because we’re all really strong women. And sometimes it’s like you could probably really be really good friends with that person, if they just cooled down a bit. But yeah, I mean Amanda Joseph as well, she’s in Coventry, and she’s been one of my friends for years.

Crystal:             I do love having … You know when it’s like you see somebody on Instagram and they’re so good, and instead of being jealous and envious of that person, just comment on their page and be like, “Oh, that’s really good,” or, “That’s really beautiful.” You instantly feel the jealousy start to melt away. And I feel like that’s the true with studios, local studios, that if you try to just be happy and realise that there’s enough for everybody around, to see other people’s strengths, then it’s going to make you feel a lot better as a person because who wants to deal with that anxiety and the drama?

Sarah:               It can be difficult. As I say, there can be clash of personalities, it can be very personal to people, it can be like people’s this is their whole life and they feel threatened by new businesses coming in. How do you feel about, because we get this question a lot as well, about students leaving and setting up studios close their original studio? I know that does happen a lot-

Crystal:             Yeah, absolutely. What I’ve done is in the studio owners only group, the private secret group, I listen a lot. That is probably the question that I listen to the most on because I haven’t had it happen yet. I’ve been protecting myself in a light way, where in the past studios, I actually learned a little bit from Karen on this as well over at Addictive Fitness. In the past, a lot of studio owners let their teachers train for free. And then when I started working with Karen as an instructor, we all had to pay. It was a small amount to use the studio, but we still had to pay for it. So therefore, the studio was still earning money while the instructor, an independent contractor really, is learning to improve themselves.

Crystal:             Everyone’s different, but if you allow a teacher to come into your studio as an independent contractor, and then they’re training for free all the time, and they leave, it’s going to be more hurtful because you know you’ve put in your studio, your time, your name, your branding, your heart, your love, your attention, your studio secrets, just for somebody to then have the brain space to be more creative with themselves and then, “Okay, I’m now going to go and leave and start up another studio.”

Crystal:             If you’re still receiving money from that person, it’s still a business transaction, so that if that person does leave one time it’s like, “Okay, well they did pay for their time here.” I do think that sitting back and not letting the instructors have just free range of your studio, respect them, give them … My girls get two hours a week to train when they want. And then if we’re doing open pole sessions for teacher training, anybody in our West Midlands area can come over that’s an instructor, as long as they’re with the studio owner, and we train together, and things like that.

Crystal:             But I do think that it’s a hard pill to swallow because you’ve just trained them and you, they know a lot about the ins and outs of your studio, they’re working with your clients, and then they leave, and they set up down the road. But it’s going to happen, so I think the best thing that you can do, is keep going back to what I said earlier, which is focus on what makes your studio unique and what makes you unique. Because you can always duplicate, but never replicate.

Sarah:               I think that’s a good mindset to have. Yeah, trying to, again, create a culture of positivity, openness, support, you’re going to, hopefully, put a breed more of that into the community. And yeah, you can’t say to someone, “You can’t set up a studio,” because imagine if someone had said that to you, “You can’t set up a studio.” It would be like, “Well, I want to set up a studio so I’m going to.”

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               But no, I think that’s a good way to put it. You can duplicate, but not replicate.

Crystal:             Yeah, and if that person goes into the opening the studio, with their mindset of being more of a selfish, more egoic state of why they want to open a studio, and then they’ve also crossed over, and they’ve hurt other people in the way there, that energy is going to come smack them because even when somebody does some harm to you, and you might’ve catch the brunt of that energy, it doesn’t mean that the person that gave you that energy has let that energy come out of them either. If they come and they open up the studio, they’re going to have all that negative stuff inside because they don’t have peace with themselves because they’re creating all this drama in the first place.

Crystal:             When they open up their thing, that drama isn’t going to be gone. It’s just going to come out in other ways. And you’re going to really quickly learn about being a studio owner when you open it and how much responsibility it takes. My voice is completely gone, by 2:00 PM on a Saturday, gone. I literally have nothing else. It’s the relationships that are really hard and to handle and stuff.

Crystal:             It’s like those moms to be, they’re like, “Oh my God. I’m going to have this baby. I’m so pregnant. I’m so beautiful. It’s going to be amazing.” And then they have the baby, and the baby’s crying every night, you’re not sleeping, your milk is coming out your tits, you can’t even use the bathroom, your husband is sleeping sound, and you’re just going nuts, you’ve got your hormones. All of those things happen to studio owners, so you’ve got to be a really strong individual to open up a studio and to make the studio last.

Crystal:             I think communication is key. When I first, like I said, started working with Karen FPS in Birmingham, that’s about 45 minutes away from me, that studio. I let them know, “I’m going to open up a studio in my area.” And then they relocated, which was a little bit closer to me but because the communication was always the intention of, “I’m going to leave and I’m not going to take a single one of the students that come in my class. I’m not going to poach them.” I had a private Facebook group for my class with them, and I just told all the girls because Karen was in that group as well. I was like, “I’m going to not use this group anymore because I’m moving over.” It just let her have her students, and it’s been really brilliant because like they’ll come over for workshops and things like that.

Crystal:             I think studios shouldn’t be so worried about other people coming over because if you got a good thing going, they’re not going to leave you anyway. Those Addictive Fitness girls, they stay there because they love the environment, they love their sisterhood and that’s awesome. And occasionally, one or two will trickle over, and me and Karen train all the time together. But have some faith in what it is that you’ve created, and the women that you’re working with, and you’ll see it’s all going to be all right.

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             Yeah. It’s really good. It’s good. I love being a studio owner. It comes with challenges and some Saturday mornings, after getting done teaching at 8:30 on a Friday, and then I’ve got to be in the studio at 9:30 in the morning, and I’m like, “I just want to stay home and sleep.” But you know?

Sarah:               No regrets though, you’re happy with your move?

Crystal:             Oh, no. I’m super happy with the move. I learned to drive on this side of the road, which is cool. And I got a driver’s licence, so I passed that test.

Sarah:               Good, congratulations.

Crystal:             And then, bought a home, opened the studio, running the studio. My daughter’s thriving.

Sarah:               Good.

Crystal:             She’s awesome. We have a couple of really cool programmes, like we have an autism class at the studio that we do free to the community.

Sarah:               Nice.

Crystal:             I think that’s a really cool thing too, if you’re going to open up a studio is to find a way to give back to a cause before you need the cause, before something tragic happens in your life and you need the community, create a community first, and start giving to the community that you live in, and then one day when it’s your turn to need your community, you already created a community in your community. Does that make sense?

Sarah:               Yeah, 100%.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               I think that’s really, really good advice. You’ve hit us with so much today.

Crystal:             Oh my God. I bet you we went over those 30 minutes.

Sarah:               We did. Only a little bit though. We’re at 34 plus the-

Crystal:             You can edit some of that out.

Sarah:               No. No. I don’t want to edit any of it out. That’s been really, really helpful. Thank you for sharing. I did just want to get you on and listen really. There wasn’t too many things that … I think we covered pretty much everything. I think the only thing that I was going to ask you is if you have any specific goals for yourself? I know obviously, as a studio owner, it’s very much focused on the studio. I know I’ve seen you post, which kind of sparked this-

Crystal:             Flexibility.

Sarah:               This original post, the original podcast discussion we started, I think was after you posted something on your Facebook, initially saying that you had found so much less time for yourself and you’ve been putting so much into your studio. Do you still have time, other than I want to be bendier to work on your own things? Or is it more just a-

Crystal:             I have to say, I find that when I work on projects, I get migraines at the end of them. Kitty Velour’s Candy Box, it was so cool. But when I was done, 10 minutes after, I got a really bad migraine. Sometimes I get really emotional and I get preparing for showcases. And so I realise the amount that I’m teaching and then having to perform on top of it, pushes me to limits that I don’t know if … I don’t want to say safe, but body safe, mentally safe, family safe, studio safe at the moment.

Crystal:             I do want to enter the piece that I did for Kitty Velour’s show. I did a Veruca Salt sexy comedy piece, and I want to do that for pole theatre. I’m getting the courage up to submit that whenever those come out.

Sarah:               Well, you put it out there now, so now we can all hold you accountable.

Crystal:             I didn’t say what year. I didn’t say what year.

Sarah:               Come on, 2020, Crystal’s going to do it.

Crystal:             But yeah, flexibility and doing the comedy section.

Sarah:               Yes, oh no, you have to do that. Definitely.

Crystal:             I have to get in first.

Sarah:               You’ve put it out into the universe, so we’re going to hold you to that.

Crystal:             Yeah.

Sarah:               It’s good. I think it’s nice to also give yourself some time and focus on yourself.

Crystal:             Yeah, and my teachers are … I have two teachers and now I’ve got two more teachers up and coming, so I can now … They’re nearly done. One has a qualification to do, but the others are qualified, so now I can start giving them some classes. Even if I give them a six week chunk, so I could take that six weeks and work on the comp piece instead. If I can just delegate a little bit more my time, I think the studio’s at a point at nearly 18 months that I can start letting go.

Sarah:               Yeah.

Crystal:             How funny is that? It’s just like a baby.

Sarah:               Like a toddler. You’re setting it up for school.

Crystal:             You can go to nursery now for a few hours.

Sarah:               Yeah, exactly.

Crystal:             Give me my 30 hours though.

Sarah:               I like this metaphor. Well, thank you so much for coming on-

Crystal:             Thank you so much for having me.

Sarah:               And sharing some of your thoughts, it’s been really helpful.

Crystal:             You’re welcome.

Sarah:               Yeah, if anyone else has any more questions, we’ll get you back on again.

Crystal:             Thank you! All right. Bye, you guys. I’ll let you hang up. I don’t know how to do that.

Sarah:               No, I’ll do it.

Crystal:             Bye!

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