Some of you may have noticed that something is afoot in the wonderful world of Movers and Shakers: a new logo, a new website, beautiful new instrument bags at our classes… What’s going on? Well, I’ll tell you.
Up until now, Movers and Shakers has been operating under the wing of our other company, The Playing Space, which offers speech and drama education to older children. But Movers and Shakers is now a company in its own right, and this has happened largely because on 1 November we are launching our very first franchise! That’s right, we are spreading the joy beyond Haringey, and into Barnet and Southgate.
When I started this company back in 2008 it was meant to be a little sideline, a ‘pocket money’ job to keep me busy while I looked after our second baby. It has grown far beyond anything I ever anticipated.
Almost from the very beginning, the two classes I ran each week were fully booked – so I set up two more classes. And then these became full as well. I started getting calls from managers at other venues who had heard about our sessions and wanted us to come to them. It soon became apparent that I couldn’t teach all the classes myself and still have the time that I wanted with our 6-month-old baby. So the first big step in our development came a few months after I started Movers and Shakers, when I trained two new teachers to run the classes I couldn’t do myself. And that’s how things have been running since then (except that I now have lots more teachers!)
From the beginning, it was clear that – in a saturated market – I had found an approach that offered something unique. For whatever reason (I can think of lots – you can read about some of them in a previous blog) parents and carers were choosing to bring their child to Movers and Shakers instead of (or as well as) sessions offered by other companies. By the start of 2013, we were running twenty sessions each week, and most of those were full or nearly full.
We were still receiving calls from venues further afield requesting us to run sessions, but I realised that it would be detrimental to the classes already running if I spread my focus too wide. With more than 300 children attending Movers and Shakers each week, managing the bookings and keeping everyone happy was already a full time job.
The obvious next step was to franchise the company and create Movers and Shakers territories that would each be run and nurtured by their own business owner. I wanted to keep the Alexandra Palace territory (which includes Crouch End, Stroud Green, Highgate, Muswell Hill, and Bowes Park), but I decided that anything outside that zone was up for grabs.
I was delighted when Erica Bartrum (who already worked as a drama teacher for The Playing Space) expressed an interest in becoming a franchisee. I knew Erica well and could see that she not only had a fun bubbly personality – ideal for running brilliant sessions – but was also highly organised and intelligent and a really good communicator – perfect as a business owner as well.
Erica and I have been working together for the last couple of months, and she has been running some fabulous classes as well as receiving training in all the behind-the-scenes business stuff. I know she is going to run a brilliant franchise in the Barnet and Southgate territory. She inherits a couple of classes that I had already set up in Palmers Green and Southgate and is starting up loads more of her own!
So, I’m going to raise a metaphorical glass of bubbly to Erica, and wish her huge success in the launch of her own Movers and Shakers business. You can find out all about her classes and latest news on her own webpage – see below. If you plan to attend classes in the Ally Pally area, all the information you need is on that webpage. Be sure to bookmark them for future reference:
I’ll end by saying that I am really looking forward to introducing our second franchisee at some point. Who knows when that will happen or who it will be? If you know someone, or if you yourself are interested in running your own Movers and Shakers business, then please get in touch with us, and I could be writing about you in a blog in the not too distant future!