Chloe Phillips becomes franchise partner for First Gymnastics in The Chilterns

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Hi, I’m Chloe Phillips, and I am the First Gymnastics franchise partner in the Chilterns.

I have always worked with children and had some experience in marketing. I was interested in being my own boss, but I didn’t really know how to go about setting up my own business. My father in law suggested franchising could be an option.

I was made aware of First Gymnastics by a friend of my sister whose daughter attended classes in Chester. They were well established across the North West and were looking to grow a franchise network. It was intriguing as I loved gymnastics as a child and it seemed like a good opportunity. The initial investment was low and they were offering over £5,000 worth of free equipment to their early franchise partners.

The first conversation with Ruth, the founder of the Business, was a fairly informal Zoom call, where I began to learn about what First Gymnastics was all about.  After speaking with a number of family members and friends, I decided becoming a franchise partner could be a good opportunity for me, and we took things to the next stage.

We spent time in a number of actual classes – observing and helping out. This was the first time I got to view the Smile – Move – Grow ethos, and how the First Gymnastics programme was being delivered.

The training was thorough. In the classroom, we learnt about the Business, processes and the automated systems we use to manage the Business. The automation is brilliant and cuts out a LOT of admin, which, for me, is a godsend!

The classes were busy, and the children seemed to be having so much fun. It started to give me real confidence in the brand and how this could work for me.

We received lots of support through the set-up process. Nothing was too much trouble. Ruth and the team helped identify and contact potential venues (secondary schools) to hold events.

Once we had identified our first venue and booked our 1st event – an event is a set of 3 classes starting with the youngest gymnasts – minis, Midis and then the oldest gymnasts – maxis. Classes are for all primary school aged children. It was a case of recruiting qualified coaches, which has gone well.

The marketing support that we received – in terms of the spend that was included within our investment – as well as the set up of the marketing campaigns across social media and local schools was fantastic, and the response was amazing!

Within 3 weeks the classes were full – over 60 children subscribing to our first event and we already had waiting lists on 2 of the classes.

The second event at the same venue opens in the next three weeks, which to be honest I didn’t expect to happen so soon and our first holiday camp is booked in for the school holidays.

My plan is to have 4 venues supporting 8 events up and running by the end of the year. That will mean monthly revenue of £12,500. Our franchise is big enough to be able to deliver events in 5, maybe 6 venues.

I’m so excited to think where we can get to in the next 12 months. It’s hard work, but to have the support of Ruth and her team has been invaluable and given me great confidence. I am my own boss…..but with a safety blanket of Head Office supporting me.

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