We had the good fortune of connecting with Sally Sachs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sally, alright, let’s jump in with a deep one – what’s you’re definition for success?
As a pole studio owner, I understand that I have an incredible opportunity to create opportunities for others. I can hire people who may be overlooked by other employers, and create a platform for them to grow. I can cultivate a teaching culture which is inclusive and avoids teaching techniques which are only effective for certain body types. I can model productive and honest ways to have difficult conversations about social issues. I can bring people together and fun, safe ways and relentlessly allow them to be themselves. Because I understand the power and privilege afforded by my position, I define success in terms of how safe I have made others feel, and how many opportunities I have created for those around me.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In terms of career, I’m definitely more of a massage therapist than studio owner. Conveniently, supporting myself as a massage therapist means that the pole studio does not need to be very profitable, hence all the emphasis on community-building. I think what sets me apart is my extreme emphasis on clinical (corrective/injury treatment) work. I tend to work quite deep and my approach is largely in the fascia and rooted in anatomy more than anything, as opposed to a particular modality.
The massage career is rough going at first because, if you can imagine, many of the available professional environments can be quite uncomfortable or financially exploitative. It became apparent quickly that I needed to create my own brand and be very clear to prospective clients who I am. I am awkward, way too into dinosaur print, have no idea what my gender is, and cannot do small talk to save my life. Does that sound like your cup of tea? Great! Come here to get your shoulder fixed! So that was the branding I commited to early on. The weirdest thing? It totally worked. I think a lot of people just want honesty and professional competency. The lesson here is that what you put out there is what comes back to you. If you want to work with people who keep it real, you need to keep it real. The business lesson is that business building can take one of two approaches:
1. Push to build as fast as possible which will make more money faster, but you have less control over how the business takes shape, or
2. Put less emphasis on speed of growth and more on attracting the people you want to work with. This makes less money initially, but in the long term creates a more loyal base and allows the business to take shape in a form you like.
And to speak to what I’m currently excited about: I’ve been getting much better at psoas work lately! It’s really cool!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Haha, yikes I’m not the right person to ask. I can show you all the best spots that are free though! Let’s start with the roof of the Mariano’s parking lot on Chicago and Damen. Talk about a view! There’s also a random hill near the northwest corner of Humboldt Park where you can see the Sears Tower. I’d also like to recommend the lakefront at the end of Irving Park Blvd. Other recommendations include checking out the murals in Pilsen. And do you know about our alleys? Chicago has some surprisingly cool alleys with hidden art works, gardens, weird abandoned boats…
Yeah, I’m not the right person for this job.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ocean Park Community Center in Santa Monica, CA where I received training around how to facility trauma-informed play therapy groups for children. Those concepts go far and transfer to MANY situations. Jewish Child and Family Services in Chicago, IL where I received further in-depth training for trauma informed practices. Everyone on my staff who has come along for the ride and made this studio what it is, and have been very supportive to me, our students, and one another. The previous owner of The Brass Ring who gave me the studio and the platform that came with it.