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Benedetta Doro talks to Genevieve Woodford about running a Seasons Art Class franchise.
Genevieve Woodford, a teacher, mum and artist, set up The Seasons Art Class in 2009 after spotting the lack of any comprehensive art classes for individuals interested in expanding their skills.
Genevieve says: “She thought it would be something that would be in high demand, so she put together the curriculum, which covers four different mediums: drawing, watercolour, acrylics and oil pastels. It’s something exciting and fun to do.”
The course lasts 14 weeks, one day per week, with three hours of class split between the morning and the afternoon, and every week students work on a different project.
Their main target audience is retired people “who have been wanting to go on a really good art class, but hadn’t actually had the opportunity”.
Every class is a step-by-step lesson, designed to be fun and also an opportunity to socialise. Students are also supplied with all the necessary material as well as tea and cake.
The Seasons Art Class started off in one location and was an immediate success, selling out in the first three weeks, which led to the opening of a second one. From there it picked up momentum and a franchise business model was introduced.
Currently, the franchise has 150 branches across four countries with the curriculum changing every season.
The Seasons Art Class runs courses in autumn, winter and spring with the summer off as a lot of the franchise owners are mums. Gen says it is a great business for mums as initially it is only one day a week and they can build from there.
Gen explains that it is a very easy business to operate and owners do not necessarily need any art experience, but they do need to be well organised and having an interest in art and creativity is always a bonus.
The franchisee’s role involves preparing the location, making sure that the tea and coffee is ready for the students when they come in and meeting and greeting people.
The Seasons Art Class then provides the curriculum and a tutor who teaches the lesson. Training is included for the tutors and also for the franchise owner so that they receive all of the support they need. The franchise costs around £18K, with the company saying it expects most Licence Owners to make their investment back by the end of the first year.
The venue where classes take place is found by the company and the day of the week on which classes will be held is chosen by the franchise owner.
“It’s a very flexible business as it is one day a week and you choose the day that you want to actually operate the business. So if you’ve got kids, which most of our licence owners do as they are mums, and many have at least two kids, you need to get somebody to look out for the kids only on that particular day,” says Gen.
She adds: “The fact that it’s one day a week makes it easy enough to slot in, so if you’ve got another job that’s three days a week, for example, and choose to do this on a Thursday, we try and find the venue that is going to be available on that particular day.”
After a year of running the business, the franchise owners then have the opportunity to open another set of classes in a different area. Some run classes in three or four different locations. “That increases your income quite substantially as well, but this business can bring them a full-time income for part-time hours,” explains Gen.
In addition to the one day per week spent on classes, there is about a three-hour preparation time for each week of the course.
Gen says: “It’s an amazing business because it doesn’t really have any downsides to it and it’s very rewarding on every level as well. All students who come along to the classes absolutely love it and so do the franchise owners.”
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