Kimberly Webb has always been shy, but she found confidence in herself at a place she didn't expect - pole fitness classes at Hudson's Fit Pole-tential.
Now she's the new owner of Fit Pole-tential, soon to be known as Carousel Pole Fitness at 1920 Crest View Drive in Hudson.
Webb had been attending classes at the studio off and on for more than five years. When she learned that Fit Pole-tential was closing, she went home that night and asked her husband if they would be interested in buying it.
Mike hesitated at first, but then he was in.
"He said, 'You know what, that sounds fun," Webb said.
Webb's experience with the studio started with the occasional workshop. The self-confidence she found there drew her back.
"I would come in feeling down on myself and I'd leave just feeling so good," she said.
After dealing with bullying and self esteem issues throughout her life, Webb found a community of supportive women at the studio who inspired a new sense of confidence in her.
"You've got these women that accept you no matter how you are, you don't have to look a certain way or be a certain way. They're just very affirming," she said.
The mirrors don't hurt either.
"For whatever reasons our mirrors make you look good," she said.
Now as the owner, Webb wants the studio to be a sanctuary for other women as it was for her.
"Everybody agrees that there's something, that it's a community. It's kind of like a home. Everybody feels comfortable, everybody's so supportive," she said.
Visitors are far more likely to hear compliments than anything negative.
"I remember leaving a workshop and the ladies are 'When are you coming back, are you coming back, please come back,'" she said.
The women build each other up, and everyone is welcome.
"We just empowering women to feel feminine," she said. "Femininity has kind of a bad wrap of appearing weak or appearing needy."
Some people have misconceptions about pole fitness, Webb said, but it is becoming more recognized as the sport and exercise that it is.
"We do exotic moves, but we don't do it for anyone else, we do it for ourselves," she said.
The studio offers a variety of regular weekly classes, including beginners, tricks, stretch, aerial silks and more. The classes provide a serious workout, Webb said.
"This is not fru-fru. This is serious strengthening, serious upper body, core, flexibility, and decreasing your inhibitions to try new things and learn that you can do it, learn that you're strong enough to be able to do some of these really difficult moves and feel sexy, because why not?" she said.
The studio also offers parties for girls' night out, bachelorette parties and more, as well as private lessons.
Webb is a licensed physical therapist, and is hoping to expand classes to include balance exercises and more for senior citizens.
The Webbs attended Hudson schools, and still live in St. Croix County. The two like to support local businesses in their community, and are happy to have one of their own here.
"You want to make a difference in your own community," she said.
She plans to partner with community organizations, and sponsor a fundraiser like a high-heel run.
Webb is planning on promoting the business more. She wants to get back to the studios' reputation when it first opened.
"I want people to understand that this is for anybody, all ages, body types, sizes," she said.
The studio will have a grand opening in May, when it takes on the new name. Classes are still being held until then, though the studio will be closed for a week for renovations.
"Don't be afraid, come and try it out," she said. "It's for everybody. Any woman who wants to feel more confident."