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When Jane Harries had to relocate to another part of the country, she saw it as an opportunity to strike into another career direction. Jane tells Workingmums how she she found a thriving business with a photography franchise.
When Jane Harries had to relocate to another part of the country, she saw it as an opportunity to strike off into another career direction. Jane tells Workingmums how she she found a thriving business with the franchise Photography for Little People.
The end of one career
Jane moved from London to Greater Manchester when her husband, Peter, relocated in his job as a company director. Previously, Jane had worked in the charity sector for 15 years but her job with the British Heart Foundation ended when the couple headed north.
”I looked for another job in a charity, but decided that the move was a perfect opportunity for me to try doing something completely different,” said Jane, 52. ”I had always been interested in photography and had worked in it before on the sales side for about seven years when my children were younger. I was aware that I was 52 and didn’t have the facility to take 10 years to build up a business and get myself known, so that’s why I decided to look at franchises.”
Choosing the franchise
Jane used the internet to find out what was available in the photography field and narrowed her interest down to a few franchises. ”I met with the owners because I was aware that when you’re going into a business it’s not necessarily just the product which is important but the people who are running it,” she said. ”I nearly signed with another franchise, but as I was in the process of deciding they became extremely pushy and were wanting a deposit. I then wondered what they would be like to work with. So I tried another franchise and this is when I met up with Jan Massey from Photography for Little People – the franchise just shone out for me and I felt I could work with them well.”
Jane went on a three-day training programme in July to learn how to use the camera and lighting equipment, backboards and also how to deal with clients appropriately. She also learned how to make casts for hand and foot prints. The franchise is split into photography and casts, but Jane felt she had the capacity and time to take on both strands.
She bought all the necessary equipment to set up the business and then turned her attention to marketing it. She attended a nearby baby show in a bid to persuade people to be models so she could take photographs and then use them in publicity material. But armed with business cards and leaftlets, she quickly realised she had found the perfect place to attract her first customers.
Soon she was up and running. Customers usually prefer to be photographed in their own homes because they’re more relaxed, but Jane does have a studio in her own home if people prefer to come to her.
The skills she acquired in her previous jobs have proved useful with the photography franchise when it comes to interacting with people, and, of course, being a mum means she knows the foibles of children.
”You have to have patience and need to take advantage of the short attention span of children,” laughed Jane. ”Most parents start off taking pictures of their own children, and this is really perfecting that art.”
Although Jane’s children are now older – daughter Sam is 22, and 18-year-old son Jamie is a student at Manchester University – she is appreciative of the flexibility the franchise offers. She also likes having the back-up of the franchisor and it’s important to her that she knows she’s not alone.
”I wish this opportunity had been around when my children were much smaller because I would have grabbed it,” she said. ”The work is completely flexible and suits mums with younger children. It fits in so well for mums who want to do the school run. For me, it’s a great career choice. I’m thoroughly enjoying it – it’s very different from what I was doing before. The photography is fresh yet timeless, which is what customers are looking for. The training, support and advice is excellent and you can be in business as quickly as you like.”
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