Today we’d like to introduce you to Adrianne Martin.
Alright, thank you for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us how you got started?
Free Flow Fitness started as Foxy Fit Studios on April 1, 2016.
I never meant to take over a pole fitness studio. I started because my trainer at the time told me that I could get a stronger core if I did pole fitness, so I started at one class a week for 4 weeks, moved to 2 classes a week for 8 weeks, and then when I noticed the studio owner struggling to keep the business going, I began answering her phones for her and managing her parties. I texted my newest best friend (now business partner), telling her that my new therapy was closing, and she said, “what do we have to do to save it?” After about 3 months, she called me and told me that she needed to close the studio as it was too much of a burden. Twenty-four hours and one SWOT analysis later (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), I put together a plan to save the studio and signed it over to me. The pole studio was my therapy, as I was a therapist working the crisis hotlines at the time and needed a safe place to decompress. As I took the studio over, I realized that it was a supportive environment for everyone who walked in the door. I didn’t like the name Foxy Fit Studios because I didn’t want people who were not particularly “foxy” to feel like this wasn’t a place for them. One reason: I love alliteration. Another reason: it felt like it was a place where people could unwind, feel free in their bodies, and explore fitness in ways they did not feel were possible in the past. We renamed it Free Flow Fitness. So here we are: 6+ years later, I have hired folx to do everything I initially did to keep this place up and run. We have an incredible business manager, operations manager, and excellent instructors who are now doing tasks that once were all on me. I am so grateful for the team we have built over the years.
Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has NOT been a smooth road!
We have had high turnover, bad blood with “silent” investors who wanted to be more present and not let us pay them back so the studio could fully be ours, leaky roofs, and terrible landlords. We moved from a cute standalone building off McKelvey to St. Charles Rock Road because our landlord refused to fix the roof, and we refused to buy a building that cost more than what it was worth. Through all of the struggles, we also ran into a pandemic at the height of our studio in early 2020 (1 year after opening the doors to our new location with the highest rent we ever had to pay). Many studios had to close their doors that year, and we were afraid that would happen to us. That was fun. We were able to work out some pandemic relief with the landlord and keep our doors open, and we are back at a new height that we hadn’t imagined was possible during this terrible pandemic/financial crisis that the nation is still enduring.
We’ve been impressed with Free Flow Fitness, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We are an inclusive space open to all who wish to grow in their fitness journey through new avenues of fitness. We offer pole and dance fitness for all bodies. Whether you are new to the fitness world or want to grow as a performer, we hold space for all. We build confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. And I think that sets us apart from many companies. We are not here to sell people on pole fitness alone. We are here to sell them on themselves and to grow them from within. Our logo is a tree of life in the form of a curvy, feminine body, as we know that the tree of life relates to “personal development, uniqueness, and individual beauty.” We are a woman-owned and operated business dedicated to teaching people to love their feminine forms in whatever form it comes in. As a therapist, I wanted a space for healing for all, and I am most proud that all who enter our studio feel loved and supported by the instructors and myself. I have had the opportunity to hold people on rough days and take people to the couch to have a therapeutic interaction, and the fact that people feel safe letting me control that space for them is very special to me.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Mika Cohen – my business partner/co-owner/new best friend I mentioned earlier- had the bright idea that we save this space. I honestly could not have and would not have gone on this journey had it not been for her.
Quantarrius Wilson (of ROQ BODY Academy) – my former personal trainer who initially recommended that I do pole fitness for my core, and now a partner in love, life, and business. Had he not suggested I start pole dancing, I do not know if I would have had this opportunity to become friends with the former owner and take over the studio when she was done. Also, when I was ready to let this studio go due to the pandemic, he was in my ear, cheering me on and telling me to delegate and lean on my team.
Keysha Barnhart – my best friend from middle and high school who randomly started coming back to my studio in 2019 and became our business manager (even though it began as a virtual assistant with Dynamic Integrated Virtual Assistant). She has played a vital role in keeping EVERYONE on task and ensuring that the goals we set come to fruition.
Eda Tegethoff – is one of our newest additions to the Free Flow family. After one conversation, she came in to teach, and I told her I wanted her to manage my studio. Her brain and Keysha’s brain together are pure magic, and she just assisted us with pulling off a 2-day student showcase (our inaugural event). I am truly grateful for her.
Honorable mentions (because I truly could go on forever with all of my lovely staff and students):
Clarissa Lewis (Pride’ N Pole)
- Drop-in class: $20
- 4 class pass: $70
- 8 class pass: $130
- Unlimited membership: $155/mo
- Website: www.freeflowfitnessstl.com
- Instagram: @freeflowfitnessstl
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/freeflowfitnessstl/
Joseph Richardson Lillith Rose