Claire Walford, 42, lives in Yeovil. Claire has an 11 year-old daughter and 9 year-old son. Claire has been the Principal of Razzamataz Yeovil since January 2011 and Razzamataz Street from May 2011.
My sister was the dance teacher at Razzamataz and when my daughter did a community show with her own primary school I saw my sister and the Razzamataz students in action.
As a child I did all sorts of dancing and then moved on to amateur dramatics so the performing arts has always been of interest to me. I am an accountant by trade, which has been enormously beneficial in helping me to run my own business.
To be honest, not really but when the opportunity to take over the schools came up, it was something that I discussed with my sister. After we spoke to Head Office, we decided that my business background would lend itself well into being the Principal while my sister is now my Creative Director.
I’ve always worked but when we had the children it was a conscious decision that I always wanted to be in the playground in the morning and afternoon. Being a Razzamataz Principal is really flexible so I can do just that as well as working part-time as a bookkeeper.
I take most things in my stride as having a background in accountancy means you are exposed to all aspects of business. I suppose the hardest things to control are your work relationships with people because that is an unknown quantity. It is so important to develop and maintain good relationships with parents, your staff, the people at your venue, press etc because they are a large part of making your Razzamataz a success.
Get as much information and preparation done up front before you open. Get good systems into place. Sort out your office space so you have a dedication space to work. I started at a desk in my bedroom but it soon became clear that I couldn’t sleep in the same room where I work. I lay day by day To Do lists in front of me so I can give myself plenty of time to get through everything and also allow myself time off without feeling guilty!
I’m always around in the mornings and after school for my children, which is really important to me. Two mornings I work as an accountant and bookkeeper and the rest of the time I dedicate to Razzamataz. Monday is my finance day, which can include straightforward stuff like checking what t-shirts are sold, paying bills etc. I tend to pick one other day that I devote to Razzamataz sorting out long term and ongoing projects. Sundays and Wednesday I take off because I’m at Yeovil on Saturday and Street on Friday so it is good to have some balance.
Many people have have found a rewarding long term career through franchising with Razzamataz Theatre Schools.
Razzamataz Theatre Schools franchise, with almost 50 schools throughout the UK, has many retired performers as Principals.
Nick Furlong and Gemma Hextall bought Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield in June 2015.
Jessica Chandler Smith has seen her Razzamataz franchise in Brentwood achieve huge success in just a few short weeks.
Lauren Kirkbride joined Razzamataz Theatre Schools as a student and now runs her own franchise.
The new Principals at Razzamataz are all set for their September openings after completing a week long extensive training session.
Michael French launched Razzamataz Barnet in April 2012 and has recently renewed his franchise agreement for a further five years.
Debbi Ledwith, Principal of Razzamataz Newbury, launched her school to allow her to spend more time with her three children.
Proving that age is really just a number, Pam Dixon, has run her Razzamataz Theatre Schools franchise since 2008.
Charlotte Young, the Principal of Razzamataz West Cumbria first became a franchisee in October 2006.
The Razzamataz Theatre Schools network continues to grow with the launch of two new London schools as well as a school in the North East.
At Razzamataz's recent training week, three new franchisees who have bought franchise re-sales, joined the franchisees who are launching in new territories.
Razzamataz have a number of franchisees who are either former teachers or combining part-time teaching with being a Razzamataz franchisee.
Buying into a franchise is an excellent way to begin running your own business. You have all the benefits of working for yourself but the added support and proven success of a well established and recognised brand. For a person new to business, it is ideal.Helen Green, Razzamataz Sheffield
The support and training we get means that we can get help on any aspect of our business. It has also been a fantastic and rewarding way of working, allowing me to continue to be there for the family while running my own business.Lisa Roberts, Razzamataz Rickmansworth
I don’t have a business background so after deciding to retire from professionally performing it was the memories of Razzamataz on Dragons’ Den that set the wheels in motion. I was really inspired by the brand and the business model and because it is a franchise business we receive a lot of help and support from Head Office as well as on-going training so I can make Razzamataz Barnet the success that I believe it can be. In the last 12 months, I have doubled my student numbers in a very competitive market and I have now clear plans on how I would like my business to progress this year.Michael French, Razzamataz Barnet
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