A letter for you

Dear hooper,

If you're reading this, you're likely to be someone who cherishes genuine connections. Maybe you're an old timer from our workshops, or maybe a member of our once-lively but now "historical" Discord channel and WhatsApp groups (yes, plural). Or perhaps you're a fan of our hoops and our cat mascots (who, by the way, are considering their own newsletter)!

I'm thrilled you're here, spending a moment with me. Let me take you through my personal journey with Hoop Flo – read till the end and you'll find that it's also a letter of gratitude::

Back in 2020, during the lockdown, I launched The Hoop Flow Program, a 4-week intensive that evolved into a community of nearly 300 hoopers. This explosion of enthusiasm gave birth to the company. Funny thing about the name "Hoop Flo" – I thought it was just a placeholder, like how Nike started out as Blue Ribbon Sports. Now, it seems everything has 'Flo' in its name, even menstrual pads (talk about flow!).

Running Hoop Flo was an adventure, building something that extended far beyond just me. But when #sareeflow took off, thrusting me into an unexpected (overnight) spotlight, I wasn't prepared for it. It was a period mixed with immense gratitude, imposter syndrome and a yearning for the simple joys of life. So I did what I do best, retreated into my introverted shell. Meanwhile, the Indian hoop community kept growing bigger and bigger! While I made attempts at reconnecting and teaching again, things weren't the same anymore. I was no longer Eshna but 'the sareeflow girl', or 'the influencer'! 

Losing my grandfather and grappling with neurodivergence also took an unacknowledged toll, leading me from a proactive leader to someone occasionally missing in action. Thus, Hoop Flo's graph followed the classic founder's arc, thriving initially but eventually running completely on personal savings.

So in Jan 2023, I decided to run Hoop Flo passively, downsizing to a two-person team, removing fancy subscriptions, and selling without promotion. This gave me time to decide its fate. It was between shutting down the company or diving back in. And that brings us to this letter!

Over this year, I've had the time to recognise my privileges. I've been fortunate in far many ways, and while generational wealth isn't one of them, education and exposure certainly is. I revisited my roots in Psychology and Movement Therapy, and furthered my education in Expressive Art Therapy. My teaching style was shifting too- with empathy and understanding. It went beyond the classroom setup of skill building and more into a nurturing space for experiential learning. I began to notice the unspoken- How each student would walk in, aspiring to spin hoops and seek complex tricks that were 'trending', but often leave more in tune with their bodies, radiating a newfound confidence and playfulness as if the hoops whispered secrets of self-acceptance. It's like coming in for a donut and leaving with the whole bakery of self-assurance! I'd say that was a pretty solid deal eh?

So as I'm evolving, so is Hoop Flo. I no longer aim for us to be the "Walmart of Hoops". I'm excited to see new hoop businesses thrive; there's room for all of us.

As the year is coming to an end, I thought about making a grand comeback announcement with Hoop Flo. But I realised what truly matters is our bond – the community and connections we've built. Hoop Flo's heart lies in its impact, no matter how big or small. So, instead of a loud dhamakedar return, I'm reaching out with this personal letter, from me to you.

And I can't end this letter without sharing a quote that has stayed with me this entire year, and will continue to forever (written by Marianne Williamson):

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
Your playing small does not serve the world. 

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same."

Thank you, to each of you. Words won't do justice to how I feel writing this. Your support, your purchases, and your shared stories over the years have truly touched me. While I couldn't always respond in the moment, know that I've seen your journeys, felt your excitement, and shared in your struggles.

Buying that first hoop, I know, can be a mix of excitement and nerves. And let's be honest, none of us looked graceful on our first waist-hooping attempt. It's so easy to feel discouraged – believe me, I've been there. Yet, watching you persevere, moving from those initial stumbles to happy victories, has been nothing short of inspiring. It’s your light, your progress, that has reignited something deep within me.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! Your resilience and joy have brought me back, not just as the Eshna clinging to a past self, but as the whole me – the introvert, the 'sareeflow girl', the dedicated teacher, the expressive art therapist, and yes, the eternal cat lover.

I hope this letter reminds you of your incredible strength and power, and reassures you that you’re never alone in your fears or your dreams.

With all my gratitude and love,

Eshna x