WILD ONES | Donna Sparx - HoopSparx
Meet Donna Sparx, founder of Hoop Sparx in Melbourne. Donna brings hooping to the masses through classes, kids and hens parties, holiday programs, events, and via her Youtube Channel! An entrepreneurial firecracker who oozes creative energy, Donna is truly an inspiration. Read on to find out more about WILD ONE Donna Sparx!
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and what first got you into hooping?
My journey into hooping was completely accidental and kind of unwilling! I was doing circus training, wanted to specialise in aerials, got a shoulder injury and hooping was my only option if I wanted to continue doing circus. As you can imagine, I was pretty disappointed: flying through the air vs. spinning a plastic kids toy around… Go figure. So, I gave it a go, and within a matter of weeks fell in love. Within a matter of months I had quit my job to start a hoop business and share the holistic benefits I had experienced.
A bit about me:
I studied Creative Arts and Youth Work, spent most of my career working in the community sector and really focussed on community and youth development through group work, empowering people to participate in change and creating community connections.
I never did gymnastics or dance classes at school so circus was not a natural progression for me. After spending years training at the gym doing weights and fitness classes, I was bored. A friend suggested I check out the Women’s Circus – which sounded like a huge leap for me, like something that was so far out of my comfort zone or what I thought I might be capable of… There was a lot of negative chatter in my head. So, I DID IT ANYWAY!
After 12 months of generalised circus training, I was encouraged to pick an area to specialise in – I chose aerials. Then, I injured my shoulder and the only thing I could do was hula hoop. The rest is herstory.
What was it that inspired you to start Hoop Sparx?
Hooping gave me a lot – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and I wanted to share that.
I knew that with my background in creative arts, marketing, training and business development, Hoop Sparx had a good chance of success. Hooping gives me a fun way to keep fit; challenges my mind and encourages neuro-plasticity; provides a way to tap into creativity, flow and move through feelings; and allows my mind to be still through breath and focussed movement – like movement meditation! I didn’t want to keep it to myself, I wanted to create community, work within communities and use hooping as a way to create connections with self and others.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It depends on the day!! Most days involve hooping, teaching hooping, marketing hooping, making hula hoops, doing pilates/acro classes, walking my dog, responding to enquiries, chatting to friends/family on the phone, finding quality time to spend with my partner, and trying to eat well and get enough sleep.
People don’t realise how much time is actually spent on the computer (even though I run a hoop business) and doing things to prevent or heal injuries. Marketing takes a lot of time: planning tutorials, filming and editing tutorials, social media, working on my website, writing my newsletters etc. Most days I go to bed exhausted, happy and with an unfinished to-do list which is 100% ok with me. I focus on what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t and regularly prioritise, schedule and reschedule.
I love your approach of using play as a foundation for learning and inspiring creativity. Other than hooping, what are you ‘go-to’ ways to play?
Dance, hang out with my 2 year old niece (where everything is either silly, funny or amazing), go to festivals, run around being mental with my dog, do acro, cook, catch up with friends…
With everything that you have on the go – a business, completing your Masters Degree, performing, and everything in between – how do you keep up your energy, avoid burnout and keep the creativity flowing?
Stay organised and prioritise, eat well, rest and surround myself with people who support, encourage and challenge me, and I make considered choices.
I plan my meals, often cooking on a Sunday for the week. I rest when I need to. I hang out with creative people. I schedule, prioritise, reschedule on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. I focus on what I have achieved and attempt to be realistic with the never-ending to-do list. I check in with myself and where I am sitting on the scale of achievement vs. fulfilment. I regularly write, reflect, increase self awareness and make choices to align my actions with my core desires.
Working for yourself, studying, running classes and workshops, and attending events is an awesome way to live your truth, but I imagine it can be overwhelming at times, and sometimes exhausting. How do you separate work from play, and what do you do you to maintain a balanced lifestyle?
I literally plan everything!
I plan time with friends, I schedule time where I am not working, I go away for weekends, I even plan time where nothing is planned so I have space for spontaneity. I’m honest with friends and family and myself about how I’m feeling and what I need to do to nurture, nourish and rejuvenate myself. I’m also honest with everyone around when I have packed too much in, am feeling overwhelmed and stressed and know that it will take a week or two to balance out. I am learning to allow people to support me. My main focus is to get 7+ hours sleep, and having at least 1 full day and 1-2 nights of downtime (not working) each week.
What does your ideal morning look like?
I love that this says “ideal”. It’s a work in progress… My ideal morning looks like waking up, doing a few Salute to the Sun yoga variations, drinking half a litre of water, writing in my journal, writing at least 3 things I am grateful for, walking my dog, hooping (drills, training and flow) for 1-1.5 hours, stretching for 30 minutes, eating breakfast, tidying the house, showering and then prioritising the day’s tasks before I get started. This takes around 3-3.5 hours AND takes care of my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. It sets me up for a productive, content day.
What’s next for Hoop Sparx?
So. Many. Things! All super fun, sparkly and, well, basically making sure hoop will take over the world. Because then it would be a hoopier, I mean happier, place.
I am currently working on revising my business plan, redesigning my website and developing my marketing strategy.
The plan includes weekly hoop classes, kids parties, hens parties, online hula hoop shop, one off workshops (metro and regional) at events and in community settings, corporate programs (and I don’t just mean team building), and roving performance.
And lastly, what is your favourite quote or piece of advice that keeps you motivated and inspires you?
Done is better than perfect.