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Be Inspired: How I went from being cancelled to a success


Be Inspired: How I went from being cancelled to a success

Name             Sapphira

From              Melbourne

Business        Sapphira's Showgirls

I run the burlesque academy Sapphira's Showgirls and within sapphira.jpgit have a record label and agency to book performers. I started this in 2006 as a part time project then stepped up to making it a full time commitment in 2009. I founded the business part time in London then quit my full time job in Australia to give it all my time. A few years later, and I’m back in a full time job with a successful business on the side.


The whole philosophy of Sapphira’s Showgirls is about empowering women.


Moving across the world (and back)…


I’m originally from Australia, and in my early 20s I had a severe episode of bipolar. The stigma from this meant it was difficult to have a clean slate at home. So I decided to leave.


Moving to London for me was therapeutic; I discovered burlesque and I gave myself a new name.
It was liberating, I had a new identity I chose for myself on the stage.


Burlesque is really powerful to perform. The women are all shapes and sizes, and once you’re doing it yourself, you realise that the imagery in the media is misleading.


I soon went back to Australia and noticed that there were hardly any burlesque classes being taught. It gave me the idea to start up myself but I had saved up a deposit for a house. I thought: I can go forward with this business; I have financial freedom behind me.


I just couldn’t have a corporate 9-5 job when I wanted to be creative. So I dived in and started my own burlesque academy.


I was too scared to think of it as cutting the umbilical cord from financial security, so I took it one step at a time. I told myself this was a working holiday for a year.



My background was in advertising, and I learnt a lot from this going forward. I went about branding the business without any outside help, but that really did help me.


Going from success to being cancelled...


sapphira1.jpgThe business was going well in Melbourne and my work grew immensely. I ended up finding 5 women who were all outstanding performers. I said to them that we should go to a London Burlesque Show and perform. It would be part of their development.


This trip was the sharpest learning curve I have ever experienced. I called the tour Burlesque or Bust, in hindsight this makes me laugh because it nearly did send me bust.


I organized two shows in the UK from Australia. I’m still really proud to have made all of the logistics work out.


We did the London show and that was fantastic. I got some great feedback from agencies who wanted to book the ladies at other venues. We also accepted a much bigger venue in Bristol with over a thousand seats.


But the PR went wrong. Word should have been out about a month ahead and instead they started advertising late. Only 6 tickets were sold, and they cancelled the show.


It was a harsh lesson to learn. I had invested everything in these shows.


Bouncing back…


We went back to Australia and I had to move from my flat back into my parents’ house. I relied on an enormous amount of support to survive. My parents called me the “boomerang kid” because I kept bouncing back around the world.


But the whole experience gave me a lot of personal growth. The only way you can learn is from your mistakes, and now in comparison to what has happened since, it feels like a very small incident.

It was an expensive mistake - but I am now fairly fearless, fairly resilient.


They say grow your wings on the way down.


I realised how much inner strength I had looking at that on reflection. A good friend of mine happened to be running an event in Bath, and I managed to get our act on the bill instead.


On a positive note, my future husband and music producer was part of that event, who proposed to me a few days after the show. We’ve been living together in London for 2 years now. It’s been incredible to be back in London and on track with my business.


Success and failure is…


I don’t think anything is a failure. It’s all an essential learning process. Success is mastering your emotions and being geared towards as positive an attitude as possible.


I think of all the things I want, write them down and visualize it happening. Then I go for it.


How have you overcome a difficult situation? Tell me in the comments below.