After amassing over 100 students in one term, Razzamataz franchisee for Leighton Buzzard, Samantha Wingfield, explains the secret to her success and where the future will take her
What led you to start your own business?
SW: I trained in musical theatre and performing arts and after I graduated, I was lucky enough to travel the world performing on cruise ships, at Disney, on the West End stage, in TV and films. I was fortunate to play the leading role in the musical The Producers and I truly can say that I loved the industry and made some incredible memories. During lockdown, like many, I started to reevaluate my life and I wanted to focus more on my home life. I’m getting married shortly, so I wanted to settle down and that is when I thought about a career change.
SW: My partner was a teacher at Razzamataz Medway, and I went to watch them perform. I loved the energy of the school and everyone who was involved spoke so highly of it. I always wanted a theatre school of my own and had started to explore the franchise route. As soon as I met the founder, Denise and Charlotte from the head office, I could see just how passionate they both were about the brand and the importance that performing arts bring into young people’s lives.
Why partner with a franchise?
SW: I didn’t know a lot about franchising, but I did know that I would be given a level of support and training. It is only after I attended the training that I realised just how much you get from Razzamataz. The fact that the website is there for you, all the legalities are in place means that you can get on with building your school without worrying that you have forgotten something important. Without Razzamataz, I really wouldn’t have known where to start.
Did you have any concerns?
SW: I have no business background so I did have lots of concerns but as soon as I started training and could see the support that I would get, everything just fell into place. Talking to Denise gave me so much reassurance and I just needed to look around the network to know that it is important to trust the journey, follow the guidance and training and use all the marketing tools. It clearly works because so many other principals are successful.
What support have you received?
SW: As soon as I met everyone from Razzamataz, I knew that this was the right thing for my life. Although the training was at times overwhelming, there is a lot of follow up from the head office and support from other franchisees, so it all starts to fall into place. Of course, initially, I was worried about getting students through the door, but I just kept listening to the advice from head office and doing what they suggested. Although I’m still newly opened, things are becoming easier already, and I’ve got a great work routine.
What does an average day look like?
SW: This role allows me to live the life I want. I go to the gym in the mornings and then come home and do a few hours of work. I often go for a walk in the afternoon or meet friends and I love the flexibility that it offers. I’m never tied down and can work to my own schedule. If I choose to have a day out with friends, then I will work in the evening. I love having this control and it allows me to live exactly how I want to.
What key questions should potential franchisees ask any franchisor?
SW: Find out exactly how much support you are going to receive, this is vital to the level of your success. Be aware you are going to work hard. Be passionate about the product and make sure that the network shares this ethos.
What have you learnt?
SW: I feel like I’ve learnt so much about myself. Being in the performing arts industry, you must be ambitious, but this is a different type of ambition and I didn’t realise how much I wanted to have a successful business. I loved performing but equally, I feel so lucky to have two careers that I’m so passionate about, not many people do.
What is your favourite part of the job?
SW: I feel so privileged to see the children and be part of their lives and watch their confidence grow every week. There are so many opportunities within the Razzamataz network, including taking the children to perform at The Shaftesbury Theatre at the end of the year. I can’t wait to see them on stage and I know it’s going to be emotional.
What are your future goals?
SW: My original goal was to get to 100 students. Now that I have done that I’ve set new targets to grow the school. I believe that we are helping young people in this community grow in confidence and learn crucial life skills. Over the next five years, I would love to open another school in a new territory and keep offering children unique opportunities to create lifelong memories.