My inspiration this week comes from two amazing, entrepreneurial women that I have the pleasure of knowing out here on O'ahu. Sirkka and Katie were two of the first people to bring hula hooping to the island a number of years ago, and have since built a life around making and selling hoops, as well as teaching and connecting new and seasoned hoopers alike. They are both incredibly positive and light-filled individuals, and I'm sure their story will get your creative juices flowing as much as they do for me!
Sirkka Aho & Katie McClain of Twirling Girlish
Currently Residing In: Honolulu, Hawaii
Currently Working On:
Weekly hula hoop classes with outer island workshops & retreats currently in the works
Word or phrase that describes you well:
Altruistic, Authentic, & Inclusive
Did either of you go to school for higher education in the field you are now in?
We are both certified HoopDance Mentors and received our certification through Anah Reichenbach (aka:Hoopalicious ) of Hoop Revolution. We chose to be certified through Anah, as she is considered the "Mother" of modern HoopDance and a pioneer to the industry, which helped us grow exponentially as teachers through that process.
We had the opportunity to attend Hoopcamp, an annual five day hooping retreat in California, for three years and to learn from some of the world's most renowned HoopDance artists/instructor, and were even invited to co-produce Hoopcamp's Fifth year and gained incomparable insight from that experience.
Also, having the opportunity to teach at this retreat of 300+ hula hoopers was an amazing and very new experience. We found that we really enjoyed teaching on a larger scale and have since had the blessing of workshopping at similar festivals, such as Wanderlust here in Hawai'i.
How/when did you enter into the hula hooping and flow arts world?
Around 2009 the O'ahu flow art community was sparse, with only a handful of hoopers on the island. We all became instant friends, as hoopers often do, and a few of us decided it would be a worthwhile venture to create a flow community akin to some we had experienced on the mainland. We began performing, making hoops, playing with other novices in the park, and having interviews and interactions with local publications. We also held a screening of the movie "The Hooping Life" and flew out some of the Hoopers featured in the movie to speak to the audience and perform. Basically, we did anything we could do to help spread the word. It took a few years of consistency and commitment, but, as we had hoped, the flow arts community blossomed and now has it's own strong heartbeat. It's been tremendously rewarding to watch it continue to flourish outside our original imagined creation.
Where do you hope to take your hooping business in the future?
Something that has always been important to us, both personally and in business, is supporting women on their journey of personal empowerment and self-discovery. In the past we've worked with women in challenging situations, such as women in shelters navigating challenging transitions in their lives. Our future vision is to continue down that path, reach women, and empower our sisters from all walks of life.
Who are some of the creatives that inspire you?
We find ourselves constantly inspired by other artists in our local community. The global hoop community is also rife with incredible talent.
Two of our most well-known inspirational hoopers are Anah Reichenbach and Caterina Sutton. Anah was our mentor and can be considered the 'mother' of hooping,. She is a strong proponent of keeping the dance in HoopDance and her footwork and funky fresh dance moves are contagious. As far as Caterina Suttin goes, If you haven't heard of her, she's a must-see. Do yourself a favor and look her up. The only way to describe her hoop patterns/formations is brain melting & slightly genius.
Do you have any advice for folks in the early stages of their creative careers?
It's been a long and winding road to get where we are today, but we have certainly gained some pearls of wisdom along the way.
First and foremost, valuing yourself is essential for success in any venture. Knowing your talent, limits, and potential is invaluable.
Never give your craft away!
Know your worth!
Make sure you always set attainable goals, otherwise you risk actualizing very few dreams.
There will be challenging times when you will find yourself wondering, "what was I thinking?" This is when an indomitable spirit and belief in yourself will be essential to get you through.
Remember that we are all eternal students. Always be open to learning and growth. Your life and business will be a reflection of that attitude.
Wow!! What amazing ladies!! And I think I'm going to put their advice in the last question as a mantra on my studio wall:)