Why franchising with Make Believe was the perfect scenario for me!
My journey began when I met Joel at an acting convention in London called “Surviving Actors”. I went there just out of curiosity as I had seen it advertised on twitter. When I met Joel, he explained to me what Make Believe was all about and I knew there and then that this was a path I should really consider.
I am a working actress auditioning all year round but we all know how difficult it is to find work when we are not acting, right?
Have you ever dreamed of having your own performing arts school but not knowing where to even start? Well that is exactly why franchising with Make Believe was the perfect scenario for me!
A couple of weeks later I sent off an application to become a “Make Believe Principal”. I had an initial meeting with Joel where he went through all aspects of the school in great detail. I left the meeting really excited and absolutely LOVED what I heard about the company. Unlike other performing arts schools out there, there was just something different, more likeable. For a start it felt friendlier, the schools ethos is amazing too! I love that we are a performing school that is accessible to children of all backgrounds and abilities.
My next step was to go into Head Office and have an interview/ meeting with Joel and Eilidh who is in charge of recruitment and talent. They have to make sure you are the right person for the job! It is a huge responsibility and there is a lot of work to do to run a successful Make Believe school. By the way be prepared to answer: “If you had to be a brand, which brand would you be and why?” Joel loves to chuck that one in!
That evening, I was lucky enough to receive the call to say that they would be happy for me to open my own Make Believe School! I was over the moon, finally all of my dreams and plans were about to take off and at the age of 21 I was about to have my own business, how exciting!
Now the planning had to start: Area for the school, date for opening day, facilities, marketing, promotions, social media, teachers. So many things to think about? Thank God you have the Make Believe team there to help you!
I knew that I wanted to open in Bishop’s Stortford as it is the closest town to my family home; I know the area very well and lots of people in surrounding areas too. And let’s face it; it was one of the only places left that Emma doesn’t have a school in! Joel came down to the town with me in the summer and we viewed some of the local facilities as potential locations. I absolutely fell in love with Birchwood High, I think we both knew as soon as we arrived that it was the one! They have great facilities there and it is also a known school in the area that would be easy for people to find. So we booked it in!
Eilidh helped me recruit my teachers’ which was very helpful! I have never been on the other side of an interview before so that was a really great experience. We had decided to launch on the 17th September 2016. Around three weeks before I was told to start my campaign.
Hannah (Operations Director) then got me to do some promotional training with her and Vanessa who runs Make Believe Enfield. I didn’t realise how hard it would actually be! Be prepared as the most important aspect of opening a school is the marketing surrounding it! How can you have a school with no one there? Head Office gave me the tools, guidance and technique to maximise the opportunity within my surrounding area. Unfortunately we had a slight set back that prevented us from launching on the date that we originally planned however, Head Office were at hand to guide me through this slight issue!
Back to the drawing board, slowly getting stressed and I thought that not enough people were going to attend my open day. Joel and I decided to push the launch day back! I felt a little sad, but it was definitely for the best.
Now I had even more time, I expanded the promotional activity within the local area and pushed it as much as I possibly could. If I am being honest, if you have another job it is hard to balance your time but it is imperative that you create a good, solid balance between the two.
Before I knew it, here it was! THE LAUNCH DAY, 5th November. I was so nervous as I just did not know what to expect!
9.45am a couple of people started to arrive (thank God some people turned up) I quickly ran upstairs to set up the studio and when I came back down there was children queuing out of the door! 64 children had turned up for my launch day. I was overwhelmed, still stressed but held it together as I knew there was still a lot of work to do, especially with that many people! The children went off to their classes, whilst Joel kindly welcomed everyone to Make Believe!
So that’s it…. my journey of joining Make Believe! Now the most important thing for me to do is make sure they all come back and sign up with us to become official MAKE BELIEVERS.