This month, we had the exciting opportunity of speaking with Frances. One of our sellers who started her childcare / playgroup business in New York City! Over the years, her business made the move to London, where it has continued with great success for the last 29 years. Frances is now looking to sell her much loved business to focus on her other great loves in life - writing, painting and her wonderful family.
We had a chat with Frances to find out more about her business, and what advice she would give to our buyers looking for a business such as this...
Starting a business in New York sounds like a dream! How did it all begin?
I started my business in 1990. I had worked at a couple of playgroups which will remain anonymous in New York City! I left them after a relatively short time because I did not like their attitude towards the children. The staff were expected to have a permanent fake smile on their faces and the businesses were run in a very detached impersonal way. I felt they lacked in creativity what they made up in business.
I decided then to start my own business. My older son, then eleven, came up with the name, I had some flyers printed , rented a room in a local church on East 66st . Nick, my son and I painted a large rainbow in our room, I bought easels. Two weeks later I had thirty kids enrolled in my first toddler classes! My younger son Jesse joined the classes. They really were so much fun. We had happy mothers and children singing, dancing and painting. I played my guitar and it was a world of pure colour and magic. I made one of my dearest friends in that first group in Manhattan in 1990 . She loved it so much she told me she had been inspired to open up her own yoga for kids years later which is based in Texas!
What has been the most rewarding experience when running this business?
I think my most rewarding experiences are seeing these happy children creating in a free and stimulating space. The love and laughter coming from these groups has been unimaginable. Like a big happy family. Kids are such natural artists and when left to create with minimal intervention they produce the most amazing art. It has been truly rewarding and a privilege to be around children and my helpers who are also arts professionals in a relaxed fun filled environment. I have been able to always be myself and not have to have put on a corporate front like you sometimes find in businesses. I have also loved meeting the mothers and nannies over the years. A few have become very close friends. This has been the only work I have ever done apart from my work as an artist and writer and it has been fantastic!
What has running this business taught you?
Running this business has taught me that the most important thing, as in life, are people. ( but I have always known this!) I think if you are not a people person, this business would not work for you. The business can also be seasonal with some periods being incredibly busy and others less so. People going on holiday and trying other activities. One has to be prepared for this and also be flexible with people booking last minute places.( this didn’t happen when I first started) This kind of business works well with staff who are artists and also “big kids!” like a lot of artists. I find most artists don’t lose their inner child( such an overused word!) so that they connect really well with children. All my helpers over the years have an arts background.
What are your plans for the future, once this business is sold?
When I sell my business I plan to travel even more, paint and write more. I have a second book planned. My first book of my paintings and writing was published a couple of years ago. I also have two gorgeous grandchildren with whom I want to spend more time!
The last thing I would say about this business is that it can be as large or as small as you make it. It is perfect for franchising all over London/ England and anywhere else. Or you can keep it small and personal like I have done and get huge amounts of pleasure from it. I personally never wanted to franchise my business or have more than one or two centres. It has masses of potential.This is a fabulous opportunity for the right person!
If you like the sound of Frances’ wonderful business, it’s currently for sale with Bizdaq - and you can find out more and speak to Frances directly by clicking here.
Posted on May 23, 2019 | childcare, nursery, moving my business, owning a business, selling, buying an nursery, buying a business