Innovative and forward-thinking did not grind their sideline business to a standstill during lockdown. On the contrary, they were ready and moved their tramps classes online before the big clampdown to continue to help shape bodies and lift the spirits of their members.
We caught up with Samantha Eve and Michelle Ashkettle in the beautiful Eco Estate in Meyersdal to chat about their lives as fitness instructors and being business women at the same time.
Born only two weeks apart as Geminis, growing up together, attending the same school and being best friends since the age of five, it was only natural they decided to open the Tramps SA franchise together.
Their active lifestyle goes back to their school years at Marian College, where they always challenged each other to do better while competing against each other in swimming and squash.
Later each found their own niche, with Samantha choosing netball and Michelle becoming a keen hockey player.
This partnership in fitness continued after school when they became gym partners.
“We always had a good competitive spirit between us. Not only did we push each other, we also motivated one another to do better,” the two said.
With Samantha owning a digital marketing business and Michelle being the owner of a labeling company, and taking into account their competitive personalities, they are always up for new challenges.
And Tramps SA was just another of those challenges which they turned into a successful side hustle.
Jump-starting the idea
The two also has a friend in the UK, Kristy Ward, who grew up in Johannesburg.
Kristy attended the National School of the Arts, where she majored in dance and made a career out of dancing. She settled with her family in the UK and is the brand ambassador for a water company in the UK.
“Samantha and I met on a dance contract. We clicked immediately and became good friends. On my many visits to Samantha I met Michelle, who has been Samantha’s friend for ages.
“I saw that there were a few exercise classes in the UK involving trampolines and after chatting to Samantha, she decided it may be an avenue she could look at and she started Tramps,” Kristy said.
“And so our side hustle was born. Tramps SA is a first for SA and we just had to jump on the bandwagon and lead the way. Africa is totally untapped and we want to make this a big thing,” said Samantha.
“When we started we hosted the classes in the Eco Estate, which was very convenient for most of our members. They will arrive, do a session and then go home.
“However, we started talking about taking Tramps SA online even before lockdown and that was just the right move. Not only did we manage to keep our members, but we were also able to accommodate them with online sessions and even grew our membership with people from as far at Cape Town and Midrand,” said Michelle.
“We often had a laugh a minute when we first moved our classes online but it sure was the right decision because before we knew it, we were in lockdown and fortunately our members where used to online classes.
“In the beginning it was trial and error, where the digital platform would freeze or where dogs would want to join people on the trampolines (rebounders), but it was great fun and it is still is,” said Samantha.
Soon they had men joining in the classes and it definitely is something young and old can do.
“I can honestly say that regardless of what the future holds, we will keep the online platform even when things go back to normal. It just offers another platform for those who won’t be able to join the actual classes,” she continued.
Kristy became involved during lockdown and it was easier to participate as an instructor or class member.
Kristy said the most challenging part for her of being involved in the venture is the distance.
“However, the reward of teaching and choreographing the exercise routine online is most satisfactory.”
Never a dull moment
Between the three of them they make sure the fun never stops.
“We will ask our members to send their favourite songs and we will choreograph the exercise to the song. We have themed sessions where people dress up in ‘60s or ‘80s gear, we combine pilates with rebounding, and we have boom sessions where they can use anything from a wooden spoon to drum sticks to pound. That by the way is an excellent workout,” said Samantha.
Michelle explained they come up with something new every two weeks and the members never know what is coming their way.
“This is just part of the fun we have while getting the juices flowing and ensuring a good workout.
“We offer three different classes. A 30-minute morning burner, which is really good cardio. Then on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we do about 45 minutes to an hour full-body class with a nice cool down session.”
The three all agree the health benefits are simply something you cannot overlook.
They explained that using a trampoline while exercising is beneficial to the joints as there is very low impact because the trampoline pad absorbs 87 per cent of shock.
Rebounding also increases the metabolism, gives you stronger bones, improves the immune system, is great to drain the lymphatic system, fantastic for rapid weight loss and reduction in cellulite.
“Simply put, it makes you feel better when you are stressed or in a bad mood, boosts your confidence and when you work from home it now offers you time where you can have a little me-time and experience self-love and care – and to top it all, it is great fun,” Samantha and Michelle explained.
“Especially during lockdown it gives a moment where you can interact and say hello. We need to look after each other, especially during these tough times. We invite people to join us to feel good and be part of this social, health and wellness environment,” said Samantha.
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Text: Carina van der Walt. Photo: Just Jade Photography.