My ARTventurers story!

Whenever I meet new people and chat to them about ARTventurers and how it all started, I inevitably end up telling them my own story – why I set up ARTventurers way back when and what inspired me to do it. It’s a story that seems to strike chords with so many other parents – we’re professional jugglers, striving to achieve that perfect (but seemingly impossible!) balance between life and work!

These two monkeys in the photo above were the inspiration behind ARTventurers – Erin who is now 12 and Isaac aged 10 (where does the time go??). Before I had my children my life was unrecognisable to my life today – I was a solicitor working in the field of family law. Long hours, emotionally tough work and although it was intellectually challenging it unfortunately wasn’t a passion of mine and some days the thought of going to work would fill me with dread!

Like so many mums I speak to, almost the moment that I found out I was pregnant with Erin my priorities completely changed. I began to fast forward in my mind to when she was two, five, ten years old and worry about nurseries, schools, boys…the lot!!! I started to suddenly take notice of other women I knew through work who had gone on to have children and see how they managed to juggle work and kids on a day to day basis – a real eye opener into a world I’d never really considered before!

When I decided to leave the legal profession a lot of people thought I was completely crazy.  I’d worked so hard for so many years studying, training and qualifying and then building up a successful career. However I was sure as soon as Erin was born that I wanted to spend as much time with my babies as I could and although I knew I still wanted (and needed!) to work in some capacity, I needed to make a change. Working as a solicitor even part time mean that when Erin and Isaac went to school they would need to be in before and after school clubs most days and as a mum I really wanted to be able to take my own children to school in the morning every day and pick them up at the end of the day – that was my absolute personal must!

ARTventurers was an idea born out of sleepless nights, up feeding the baby! I spotted a gap in the market for a colourful art class for preschoolers – based on the messy, creative fun that Erin, Isaac and I enjoyed at home and also work I had been doing in school nurseries working towards my Early Years qualifications. I have always been a passionate believer in the benefits of getting children involved in art and creative play at an early age and could see first hand the huge developmental benefits that mini artists gained from exploring paint, trying out different mediums and art techniques and have a safe, secure and social environment space in which to investigate, explore and create! At the time there was no grand plan – simply an idea to run a class that I knew local parents and children would love and the hope that it could be a way for me to work and create an income for myself whilst working flexibly around Erin and Isaac whilst they were little. I’d then worry about what I’d do work wise long term when they got a bit older!

Fast forward a number of years and ARTventurers as a business has grown up with Erin and Isaac! When they went to school nursery I would drop them off, dash off and run a class then be back in time for the lunchtime pick up. As they headed off to full time school, I expanded the number of classes I ran to make it effectively a full time job for myself within school hours – still always making sure I set my timetable so I could drop them off at school every morning and pick them up at the end of the day!

Now, as we head into the second half of 2018 ARTventurers has grown into a national brand in a way that I NEVER could have anticipated during that sleepless night with Isaac when that small seed of an idea popped into my head! We have a fabulous team of ARTventurers franchisees, running their own branches of ARTventurers across the country and winning awards as we grow! The vast majority of our ARTventurers franchisees are parents with stories just like mine – looking to create a fun and flexible way of working around family life. I was thrilled when we recently won two AMAZING awards in the Working Mums Top Franchise Awards 2017 – Supportive Franchisor of the Year and Overall Top Franchise 2017 – to reflect our supportive and flexible franchise model and the training and support we provide to all of our franchisees. And then just last month, in May 2018 I was named Woman Franchisor of the Year 2018 in the UK EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) Awards 2018.  When I developed our franchise model, it was developed with our typical franchisee in mind – a parent with a story just like mine – and I hope that this shows that (at least most of the time!) we’re getting it right!

baby and toddler franchise opportunity

Can a working parent achieve a perfect work life balance? If I’m honest, I still think the answer is that there is no such thing! What I do believe though is that you CAN create something that works for you and your family with hard work, a leap of faith and persistence.  I can honestly say that I have never missed a choir concert, school play or parent teacher meeting and working for myself has allowed me to be there after school each day to ferry them to dancing, football training, cubs, brownies….whatever they’ve wanted to do! However yes, it has meant some long evenings spent at the laptop once the kids are in bed, sitting watching TV whilst cutting out masses of paper fish or taking the kids with me to do marketing and to meetings. The past few years have seen a significant increase in women in particular seeking out self employment opportunities and launching businesses  – running your own business isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone but with the right effort and mindset it can give you brilliant flexibility.

Over the last year or so I’ve given talks to various groups of women, telling my story and listening to other inspirational entrepreneurial mums talking about their own business journeys. Whatever industry they are in there are so many common threads that appear in each story – an idea and a passion, tales of sacrifices along the way but also the sense of pride in taking ownership of their futures and shaping a working life to suit them and their families. If you have a story to tell or if you’d like to find out more about joining the ARTventurers Team and running your own ARTventurers business then I’d love to hear from you – you can get in touch with me at mail@artventurers.co.uk

Fiona x

ARTventurers Managing Director Fiona crowned Woman Franchisor of the Year 2018!

baby and toddler franchise opportunity

Amazing news for the ARTventurers Team this week when our Founder and MD Fiona Simpson was crowned Woman Franchisor of the Year 2018 in the EWIF Awards (Encouraging Women into Franchising) 2018

Every year EWIF holds an annual award ceremony designed to bring together the best women in the franchising industry to celebrate their successes. EWIF’s 2018 Awards brought together over 150 franchise professionals to celebrate women in franchising. As it was their 10th anniversary year this was a celebration not to be missed by the franchise industry – a true celebration of women and their place in the world of business!
Fiona and the whole of the ARTventurers Team were thrilled and very proud when she was announced as Woman Franchisor of the Year 2018 – recognising the dedication, hard work and commitment that goes into supporting our growing team of ARTventurers franchisees and ensuring that ARTventurers continues to grow and develop as a flexible, innovative and creative brand with family friendly policies at it’s very core.

To find out more about ARTventurers award winning franchise packages click HERE. 

You can also read about Fiona’s personal franchising story here

Our ARTventurers business journey

We are featured on the Transmit Start Ups blog this week – an article about the ARTventurers business journey and an interview with our founder and MD Fiona Simpson

family friendly franchise opportunities

You can read a copy of the full article HERE

Franchise Opportunities in Manchester!

Exciting ARTventurers Franchise Opportunities in Manchester!

franchise opportunity manchester

Do you live in Manchester?

Are you creative, ambitious and passionate about working with children?

Would YOU love to own a flexible and family friendly business running award winning art and creative play classes for children?

If the answer to those question is a big “YES”, we have a franchise opportunity in Manchester perfect for you.  Message us to request a copy of our ARTventurers Franchise Information Pack and find out how YOU could join the ARTventurers Team as our newest franchisee!

As our ARTventurers franchise network expands, we’re looking for the right person (or persons!) to launch our first ARTventurers franchise opportunities in Manchester! It’s an exciting opportunity to join our award winning team and launch a fun, flexible business with the support and backing of our nationally recognised and leading brand!

Many of our franchisees are parents, successfully building their businesses around family life as our innovative franchise package allows them to grow and develop their business at their own pace.

So if you want to take this amazing franchise opportunity in Manchester and you could see YOURSELF being part of the ARTventurers Team as a franchisee then request a copy of our information pack and find out more!

Franchise Opportunities in Manchester

ARTventurers Franchise Opportunities featured in Elite Franchise Magazine!

 

We were thrilled to be featured in Elite Franchise magazine in autumn 2017 – an interview with our Founder and MD Fiona Simpson about her inspiration for setting up ARTventurers and our award winning franchise opportunities

You can read a copy of the full article HERE

ARTventurers wins Overall Top Franchise 2017 in the Working Mums Awards!

We were over the moon to have won not only Most Supportive Franchisor 2017 but the Overall Top Franchise Award 2017 in the Working Mums Top Franchise Awards!

The judges were impressed by our innovative, flexible and family friendly business model which places support for our franchisees as the highest priority

The following is an extract from the Press Release issued by WorkingMums.co.uk after the awards ceremony :

“Creative kids franchise ARTventurers was named Overall Top Franchise at Workingmums.co.uk‘s  first Top Franchise Awards this week.

The Awards, sponsored by HSBC, celebrate the best family friendly franchisors and franchisees. They recognise franchisors both big and small who have empowered women in business – not only by providing a successful flexible business model, but by giving franchisees the advice and support they need to succeed.

Twenty-three franchises and 30 franchisees were shortlisted for six categories and the top franchise award was chosen from the winners of each of these. ARTventurers was named Overall Top Franchise with the judges saying it had created a family friendly, supportive business model and had not only won one award, but had performed strongly across all the categories it had entered.  The judges praised its support for maternity leave, which was something many self employed women struggle with and said they felt other franchises could learn from the kind of engaged, flexible business model it offered.

The awards were judged by Kendall Braddock, Franchise Director of HSBC Bank plc, franchise law expert Amy Leite, Senior Associate at Pinney Talfourd LLP Solicitors, Griselda Togobo, Managing Director of Forward Ladies who are partners for the Awards, and Gillian Nissim, Founder of Workingmums.co.uk.

The ceremony on Tuesday included an awards presentation and a Q&A session with franchising experts.

Supportive Franchisor Award –  ARTventurers.

The franchise was praised for the clear sense of commitment from the franchisor to their franchisees and the comprehensive support it offered, including HR support, maternity support and the flexibility it offered from day one. The judges were impressed by the comprehensive training offering and the franchise’s marketing mentoring programme, ongoing mentoring initiative and support for business development. They felt communications with franchisees, including bi-monthly team webinars, showed that the franchisor had carefully considered what franchisees might need to create a successful business “

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Franchise?

franchise for mums

One of the questions I hear asked a lot is – what exactly is a Franchise?

Put simply, when someone joins a franchise business they become self employed and buy the right to use the parent company’s name and trademark, their operating procedures, knowledge and expertise, to become part of a wider team and to receive ongoing support during the lifetime of their business. Some people describe a franchise as a “business in a box” – it’s a way of being able to get up and running and earning money from your business quickly, with the security of being part of an established brand.

At ARTventurers, we’ve been offering franchise opportunities to the right people for our brand since 2015 – although we’ve been in business for a lot longer than that! When I made the decision to franchise ARTventurers, it wasn’t an easy decision to make and one that I thought long and hard about. ARTventurers is very much my third baby and I wanted to make sure that if we went down the franchising route that it was done properly and that we were confident it would work! So we spent a full year trying and testing the model before we launched the full franchise package so that we could be sure that ARTventurers COULD work for other people in other areas of the country!

 

We also spent time carefully developing our ARTventurers package. Our approach to franchising at ARTventurers is quite non-traditional and is very flexible – in line with our entire company ethos! Our franchise package is transparent and straightforward in our pricing (no hidden charges, percentages or sneaky levys here!) and we actively embrace our franchisees own creativity, making our approach very collaborative and team focused. We’re a fun, flexible and of course CREATIVE business so our attitude to franchising reflects this!

 

One thing that we invest very heavily in at ARTventurers is support for all of our franchisees. We were thrilled to have won the Supportive Franchisor of the Year 2017 in the Working Mums Awards recently (as well as Overall Top Franchise 2017!) and the judging panel praised our flexible and innovative support package for all members of the team throughout their business journey. I’m such a firm believer in the power of team work and working together – and I think that all of our ARTventurers franchisees would tell you how invaluable it is being part of a supportive, friendly team where everyone is in the same boat and working towards the same goals! It means you’re never alone – there’s always a team behind you as you launch and grow your business, cheering you on and lending a hand if you get stuck! There’s a real boom in the UK franchising market at present and studies do show that franchise businesses have a higher success rate than independent businesses going it alone for the very reasons set out above – the support structure and tried and tested procedures and expertise behind the franchisee.