Dylan Harper talks to us about starting and running his Razzamataz Theatre School in Ayr.
Initially it was on Dragons’ Den and I remember thinking I would love to go there myself but there was nothing like that in Ayr at the time. When Razzamataz opened here, my mum was hired as the drama teacher, which she still does, and I then got involved as classroom assistant. I have been working with Razzamataz Head Office since 2010 as well as being the manager at the Ayr school for the last year.
I studied technical theatre at school and I was very actively involved in all the school performances. I also ran a local radio station and organised my fellow students to go on a tour of the local primary schools with a drama production. I have also trained as a youth and children’s worker, which is something l’m actively still involved with.
Although I’m still young, I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility in various roles so many people assumed that I would run my own business. I’ve always wanted to work with children and help them develop through performing arts so Razzamataz is the perfect platform for that.
Working at Head Office has given me a real insight into the whole of the Razzamataz network and I felt very strongly that having my own franchise would allow me to reap the benefits of running a business working with young people but with the support of a very experienced organisation behind me.
I was fortunate enough to secure a loan from The Prince’s Trust.
We are part of a constantly evolving group and there are many opportunities for us all but ultimately for me, it is about the kids and the fact that by me being part of Razzamataz, I can offer my students amazing experiences such as performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.
I find dealing with the financial side of the business quite challenging. However, this is where I take advantage of the training and support offered and there is lots of advice available to help me with my accounts.
Ask lots of questions and don’t underestimate how much work is involved, especially at the beginning, but don’t let it put you off either. It’s life changing but in a really good way.
Working with a like-minded group of people but who each have their own unique experiences that collectively we can draw on. For example, within the Razzamataz network, there are professional West End performers that I can ask advice from when putting on performances. It’s really great to be able to pick up the phone to either Head Office or the other franchisees just to chat things through.
The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is check my emails, because parents will often email you at various times of the day. I’ll deal with urgent work first and then respond to emails and phone calls throughout the day. No two days are ever the same but I’m constantly thinking about work and often will spend my evenings brainstorming ideas and getting inspiration.
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
Affordable part time performing arts lessons
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TWO franchises for the price of ONE!