Hoola Monsters, LLC’s humble beginnings included back yard hoop jams and hoop-making parties with friends. Before ‘performance’ was even a word in our vocabularies, we came together as a group of friends who shared a solid passion for the art of hoop dance. Now, almost 10 years later, we have grown leaps and bounds, adding new classes, new performers, and new products. In March of 2012, Hoola Monsters founder Abby Albaum launched Hoola-Fit, an ACE-Approved hoop dance curriculum and teacher training program. She now trains hoop dance instructors throughout the country. And while we may be growing, our mission remains the same…
Our mission is to promote self-expression through the art of hoop dance. Hooping is a powerful life improvement practice that affects a person’s spirit, health and well-being while simultaneously bringing happiness into the heart & soul.
How it All Began
While living in downtown Saint Petersburg, FL and working as a Marketing Manager for an amazing restaurant company, I was introduced to Kacey Douglas of HomeSpun Hoops. A friendship quickly ensued and I learned that she was traveling to music festivals, making and selling her hand-made hoops. She invited me over one afternoon for happy hour, and before I knew it, I was spinning a gigantic, hand-made hoop and laughing uncontrollably as it fell to the ground countless times. Needless to say, I was not a natural. I spent about an hour and a half dropping the hoop, while I watched Kacey twirl around the back yard, full of grace and beauty. She gifted me a hoop that day and a couple months later, she moved back to South Carolina. Even though Kacey was no longer there to teach me, the obsession had already begun. I spent countless hours exploring the archives of Hooping.org, watching hoop videos on You Tube and teaching myself everything I possibly could about hooping.
Hosting hoop jams with friends in my backyard became a weekly ritual, as did the drum circle on Treasure Island Beach, where I would practice every Sunday. I also found joy in making hoops for family and friends.
Eventually, I began hosting demonstrations and selling my hoops at the Saturday Morning Market in downtown St. Pete. Hooping was quickly becoming more than a hobby for me, and performance opportunities were on the horizon.
I was aware that a co-worker of mine had experience making costumes and had a background as a performance artist in the circus, so we worked out a trade. I would make some hoops for her, in exchange for costumes. I then invited this co-worker, Jodie Urias, to one of my weekly hoop jams. After a couple months, she too, was hooked. We decided to go into business together and became close friends. We set up an online store, selling hoops and costumes. We also participated in community and charity events, to build our hoop dance performance resume. We both became licensed and certified hoop fitness instructors through the HoopGirl Workout Program, and we started teaching classes throughout the Tampa Bay area. Before we knew it, our performance troupe grew to 7 members and things were moving quicker than we ever anticipated. We then traveled to North Carolina to attend the Hoop Path Retreat, to continue our knowledge so we could better instruct our students. We weren’t just building a business; we were building a hoop community and inspiring others to find joy in hooping!
After being in business together for just 1 year, Jodie’s husband received a job offer that required travel. Therefore, she resigned from her corporate job and sold her half of Hoola Monsters to me.
And in August of 2009, I decided to take a leap of faith and resign from an 8-year marketing career to pursue Hoola Monsters full time. Since then, even more incredible opportunities have come our way… including a chance to perform for the Tampa Bay Rays, and appear in the March 2010 issue of Better Homes & Garden Magazine.
I am sincerely grateful to share my passion for the art of hoop dance. Thank you to all who have helped to make my vision become reality… my family, friends, professional developers (both marketing/PR mentors and hoop dance mentors), hoop troupe members and supporters. You are appreciated, and Hoola Monsters, LLC would not exist without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.