Have you heard of Virtual PoleCon? It’s coming up soon—October 16, 2021—and Sway will be there! We asked Colleen Jolly, the HBIC of PoleCon to tell us a little bit more about the event and why you should go!
SWAY (S): Thank you for chatting with us! Can you tell us a little more about Virtual PoleCon? It sounds like it’s on the internet (LOL) but what else can you tell us?
Colleen (C): It is on the internet! We started doing a Virtual PoleCon event last year when the entire world was in lockdown as a way for us all to get together and still experience some of the community aspects of pole. We decided to continue it this year for a couple of reasons. A lot of places are STILL in lockdown and even if they aren’t, travel is super hard and finances are tight. Also, the pandemic didn’t go away like we all thought it would by now and the Delta variant is making a lot of folks really legitimately concerned.
S: Yay for the internet! Is the event the same as a live PoleCon? Will people still get the same experience or nah?
C: Well, it’s as close as we could get to a live experience! We’re using this tool called “Floor” which allows you to bounce in and out of video-based movement workshop or non-movement seminar sessions PLUS visit vendors—like Sway—and even have video chats with people in the virtual “lounge” area.
S: Yes!! We’ll be there! How does this vendor thing work anyway?
C: It’s actually pretty cool—it’s like a video chat. You go to the booth and there’s a real, live person there to talk to you about their company! If companies can’t stay the entire time, they still have a virtual ad available including a link to their products/services, handouts or coupons and they can decorate their booth with custom images! Last year some vendors did fashion shows for people or helped explain sizing which can differ from brand to brand. Other people just left their website up with a landing page with discounts just for the event. It’s really cool to see how creative everyone got with the technology!
S: We can’t wait to meet people in kinda-real-life in a video chat! So ok, there are workshops, seminars, super awesome vendor booths—what else can people expect?
C: Our popular panel discussions are back! For the past almost two years, we’ve all been existing basically on social media and a lot (A LOT) of really important questions and issues have come up around the world including issues like women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, the role of corporations in policing different bodies and more. The trouble is, it’s hard to actually have a conversation on social media. These panels—which started at the live event—give us a chance to listen to people who have different experiences from ours, share their stories and ask questions live so that we can better understand each other.
S: Whoa! This is getting kinda deep.
C: It is. The panels are something I’m really passionate about. We’re a small community and we straddle so many different worlds and different issues. The panels cover topics that intersect with pole like race, sex work, gender/sexuality and different body types.
S: We loved the plus-sized poler panel last year with Roz the Diva! It really helped us understand the needs of that community to better develop our plus-size line which is launching soon! You can’t just up-size clothes, you have to understand the challenges, the needs, the wants and the only way you can do that is by listening and asking questions!
C: Now who's getting deep! Seriously though, that’s exactly what I hope happens. People can talk, listen and learn from each other—maybe that leads to change or maybe it just helps us understand each other a bit better.
S: So let’s bring it back a tad, we’ve got a lot of serious things going on, is it all serious at Virtual PoleCon?
C: Haha, sometimes I’m a little too serious! We also have a showcase celebrating all of the different styles that have historically been highlighted at a live PoleCon including—but not limited to—sexy, contemporary, queer pole, Black Girls Pole, comedy and more! There’s even a guest appearance from the Sway founder, Agata!
S: YAY! We’re so excited for her debut!
C: I don’t want to give too much away but for real, her video could totally win an Oscar. The cinematography, the acting, the costume—I can’t wait for people to see it!
S: Awww, we’re over here blushing. Ok, last question, give us the 411—what are all the facts we need to attend Virtual PoleCon?
C: It’s October 16, 2021, 9am-9pm Eastern US time (New York). One ticket gets you access to everything and you can enter and leave as much as you want! The full schedule and tickets are here.
The event is also designed to be a way to let people know about our industry’s first trade association, the International Pole Industry Association (IPIA) and is presented by that organization. You can get a discounted annual membership to the IPIA that gives you access to all sorts of pole business resources and discounts on services and products when you buy your ticket to the event!
S: Oh, so it’s just for business polers?
C: Nope! Everyone can enjoy Virtual PoleCon!
Thank you so much for chatting with us today, Colleen! We can’t wait to see everyone at the event on October 16—we’ll have one of those cool video booths and don’t miss Agata’s performance representing the “sexy” showcase. It’s ❤️🔥