The Climb to Success on Silks

Updated: Aug 12, 2018


Aerial Physique blossomed in 2012 with a unique, yet feasible idea. How to take a personal thrill using two pieces of fabric to purposely and gracefully fall from the ceiling and make it a viable, inspiring career and niche art form, accessible to curious fitness enthusiasts the world over? Crazy, right?  Well, my personal journey into the whimsical world of aerial arts officially began in 2007, after I moved to New York City. Though I had seen aerial performances as a teen in Cirque de Soleil and had placed it on my bucket list of things to try, I was terrified to do so. Deep down I didn't believe in myself, fearing that I didn't have what it took to succeed. I know, I know, like many people frozen with doubt, the classic excuse syndrome etched its ugly way into my mind too. At the time, I knew for a fact my puny little arms had ZERO strength, my insecure thought process repeatedly beckoned the phrase, 'what if I can't climb this fabric?  I shrugged off again and again the notion, to just go try aerial silks. Meanwhile, I wasted countless months, in needless acting auditions, thinking I wanted to grace the silver screen as a young starlet. I also grew increasingly frustrated after not getting into a top ballet company and the only way this Loveland, Colorado gal was going to make it onto Broadway, was to buy a ticket.   Fast forward to roughly one year living in the Big Apple, I was fed up with inaction toward my bucket-list dream. I woke one morning and said to myself, 'get your butt in gear girl... take that aerial class'.  I found an aerial studio location and was super excited as I boldly walked into my first class. I looked around and was immediately and extremely intimated by watching these strong, graceful group of girls, do exactly what I had dreamed of. They were so good at purposely falling from the ceiling and were doing so with such ease.  When it came to my turn, my fear became my reality. I couldn't do a single pull up. As onlookers watched ( perhaps they weren't, but my mind's eye thought so) I could barely muster up what resembled a climb. To be honest, I was really bad at it, but deep down, in my petite country-girl frame, I was hooked! The challenge took me by storm. I was goose-bump obsessed and I applied the same discipline I had for ballet, into aerial. I think I only missed but a couple of days over the course of two of years. My scaredy-cat attitude subsided and before long I was outperforming those same girls who once intimidated me. I even began booking performances and signing contracts for long-running aerial shows.  The opportunities grew exponentially. I landed a six-month gig on a famed cruise ship. I earned trips to perform in Hawaii, celebrity-filled galas and even produced my own touring show throughout California. But as the saying goes, 'be careful what you wish for'?  After a few years living out of a suitcase, bouncing from city to city and port to port, I craved a 'home base.' New York and I had a great time together, but like any Leo, (we like being busy and bossy) there were new horizons and even newer challenges to tackle.    I ventured west to Los Angeles. Though I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, I relied upon what I knew. As a certified Pilates instructor, I decided to utilize that expertise to stay physically fit and of course, pay the bills. I began teaching Pilates for the swanky, super gym, Equinox Fitness clubs. I had previously worked for Equinox in NYC to pay rent and support my aerial habit. After teaching Pilates for a while, I landed a corporate desk job as a sales rep for Equinox. However, within two short lived month's, I had come to the realization that this is 'NOT' what I should be doing. I longed to apply my aerial knowledge and to begin teaching what I knew, but how? Where? First things first. I purchased a DBA with the name 'Aerial Physique' and officially launched in the summer of 2012. Somehow I was going to turn my idea into a fitness empire. I began believing in myself and my goal. I had a one track thought process, 'this aerial thing is definitely my sole mission'. I began with a handful of clients in a small, live/work loft on L.A.'s west side. I eventually found a quaint, much nicer looking studio in Santa Monica.  The space was extremely small in size, but managed and taught classes in the corner of a Pilates studio. The ceiling was only 12 feet high, very low for any type of magnificent aerial tricks. But I developed a method which worked.  Word-of-mouth spread and people kept coming. I saw my clients getting better each week and felt shear joy that I was actually inspiring people on a day to day basis.  Within a year, I was teaching 20+ aerial classes a week. No more puny arms, this chick has guns now. (ha!) But the work load became very intense on my body. So, it was time to hire some teachers. But I wasn't about to hire just anyone? (Us Leo's are territorial too, lol)  I insisted on teachers who were familiar with my style and my technique and could literally mirror my upbeat, knowledgeable personality.  I began the very first teacher training program with a couple of my advanced level students, in 2014. Thus, the Aerial Physique Teacher Training program was born. In January of 2015, I offered the first Teacher Training program at my studio in L.A., for international students, some, traveling all the way from Ecuador and Indonesia to attend.  And to just think, all of this, coming from a girl who just a few years prior, couldn't do a single pull up!  I eventually had an abundance of clients and craved my very own studio. I searched and searched for the right atmosphere. The ideal space had to come with high ceilings to safely teach students my most dare-devil tricks. Eventually, the right spot manifested. We made the move to a larger space located in West Adams, L.A. The area is an up-and-coming artists enclave of specialty warehouse spaces and independent shops. Aerial Physique Inc. headquarters opened in January 2018.  Along with busy class schedule, 8 teachers on staff, a studio manager and marketing team, I couldn't have accomplished any of this without my husband TC, who's also Aerial Physiques interior designer, photographer and creative director.  I also can add the fact, he's an incredible gourmet chef and cooks dinner 'every' night.  Despite what seems like a daunting mission, I find time to create other pathways to residual income. I've managed to author multiple aerial fitness and skills books, a coloring book and a notebook. I also consistently fine-tune an ever-changing teacher training curriculum. WHEW! Don't worry, this hectically fun schedule is why I can take a yoga class in the middle of the day and enjoy wine and some sort of decadent chocolaty dessert on a nightly basis. Pajamas are my best friend, for real!  Flash forward well into 2018, my frequent flyer miles seem to have no end in sight. I traveled the world offering Teacher Training courses and workshops in a plethora of countries including China, Thailand, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Austria, and the Netherlands. New Zealand and Australia kick off in September 2018. I also hold Teacher training courses throughout the USA. In addition to months of travel, I maintain an aerial tutorial site, an online shop and am addicted to bettering my business through continued learning.   The past six years have flown by. I've learned a ton about business and believing in myself and my goals until they come true. I've learned that it's truly the little things that add up over time. It also boils down to how much a loving and romantic relationship can support your dreams and the power of having an undeniably positive attitude. Equally, I've learned that you CAN'T build an empire solo. If I would have continued at the current, unrelenting pace, injuries and burn-out were inevitable.  For those of you who follow Aerial Physique on Instagram, I'm sure you've noticed it has been very much the 'Jill show'. Aerial Physique is definitely an international brand. Moving forward, look forward to seeing not just me, but my incredible team which will continue to grow and make new goals possible.  I've hired amazing teachers and master trainers around the world, who are near duplicates of me when it comes to standards, techniques and safety motto's but bring their own style to the table. We as a team, will keep you in-the-know on what's happening with Aerial Physique and continue to showcase the incredible people coming on board. Don't worry, I'm still here to inspire you and help you improve with Technique Tip Tuesdays and I will make strategic appearances and teach some of the International and domestic training courses.  But hey, I'm just a 33-year-old girl from Colorado, who spent $25 bucks for a DBA name, took two pieces of fabric and had a dream and somewhat of a plan. Six years later, I run a quarter-million dollar business and on a day-to-day basis, consistently build and fine-tune a fitness empire.  Last but not least, I want to personally thank each and every one of YOU, for your support along the way. Whether you've purchased a book, attended a class, or workshop, traveled thousands of miles to one of our teacher training programs, written a review or simply liked an Instagram or Facebook post, I deeply want to THANK YOU... AND THANK YOU AGAIN.  The Aerial Physique empire is here to stay and because of you, it's become a WE company. The past six years has been amazing and it's only just the beginning. For anyone who has an idea, but isn't quite sure if it will work out, don't allow fear to hold you back another day! DO IT. Show up every day to your dream life.  And remember, it's the little things that add up over time. Believe with your mind, your heart and soul...and eventually, success will come.  xo Jill Franklin




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 info@aerialphysique.com

4700 West Jefferson Blvd. Suite 107 Los Angeles, CA 90016