When mother and daughter team, Ann and Joanna-Marie began looking for a franchise to realise their dream of owning a business together they found their perfect opportunity with Kids Bee Happy.
The pair first came across the company at a franchise exhibition and a few weeks later they signed up.
Ann recalls: “Our very first booking was at a prep school with 70 little boys from the ages of four to 11 creating their sand art pictures. It was a challenge but proved great fun and went really well.
“Right from the beginning the franchise back-up has been brilliant. The initial package included a generous amount of materials and the friendly training and guidance gave us confidence.
“But we still had the freedom to build our own business in a style to suit us and our local area. As with any venture you get out what you put in. We have been hectic at times but have also had great flexibility to work the business to fit our lifestyle – and no boss to answer to but ourselves!
“We are working to a two year plan and at present have chosen to reinvest in the business. We are on course to recoup our initial franchise cost within the first year and have also chosen to build up a high level of stock as well as marketing materials such as posters and flyers.
“We have also focused on networking and building up valuable contacts and are already seeing the benefits with ever increasing bookings for workshops and parties to ensure a good income.”
Kids Bee Happy can comfortably be operated as a one-person business but Ann and Joanna-Marie used their individual strong points to market their business right from the start.
Joanna-Marie explains: “I take care of all our online marketing while mum focuses on more traditional ways of letting people know about us. We have our own website, facebook page and twitter account which have been great for keeping people up-to-date with our public appearances and displaying photos of our events, as well as for keeping in touch with contacts in our area.
“We have also succeeded in getting newspaper articles published both when we launched the business and again a few months later when we ran a competition with the local newspaper.”
Taking part in public events and festivals boosts their profile as well as bringing in revenue.
Ann says: “For example on Jubilee weekend we were booked on all four days for big events. We achieved our earnings for each day but also got bookings for ongoing private parties.
“We have a base price of £4 a picture which is both affordable for parents and sufficient to give us a good return after allowing for materials and costs. At events we offer a discount price for more than one child doing a picture, which increases turnover.”
The pair have built excellent working relationships with local venues. They hold regular workshops at Butterfly World, a major family attraction in their area as well as in hotels, pubs and coffee shops. Private bookings that have come from these include birthday parties, Christenings, a brownie pack fun day and an after-school club.
“We have also been asked to support a number of charity events and is great to be able to give something back to the community in this way,” adds Ann. Joanna-Marie sums up why they are glad they chose this business: “The kids (and their parents) enjoy the activity as much as we do and it is great to see their beaming smiles when they have completed their pictures. The business is easy to run and mum and I love being able to work together. We also have a great support network of other Kids Bee Happy franchise owners and the head office team. In short, Kids Bee Happy is a great opportunity for anyone looking to run their own business.”