Huge congratulations to Zoe McKibbin, franchise partner at Razzamataz Edinburgh and Razzamataz Glasgow South, who is celebrating her fifth anniversary. Zoe followed her dream about working with children and the arts because she experienced the benefits first hand. This is her story.
In the beginning
I was an incredibly shy and anxious child, and it was through performing arts that I found my confidence. After studying at university, I was offered the position of a drama teacher at Razzamataz Edinburgh. Through Razzamataz, I was able to progress and took over the manager’s position and when the opportunity to become a franchise partner of Razzamataz Edinburgh was offered at the age of 24, I decided to go for it.
I didn’t see myself as being a business owner, but it was very clear to me that I would not be in business alone. The Head Office team were there every step of the way and I found that it was such a supportive environment, and I was encouraged to feel that I could ask anything. I took over the Edinburgh school in 2016 and Glasgow South in 2018.
Describe the community at Razzamataz
We have a very family orientated feel in both schools and are passionate about creating a sense of belonging for the students as well as the parents and families. We’ve really made a name for ourselves in the local community because we make the effort to know every single child and their families and siblings. It’s incredibly important that we have a fully inclusive space where children understand that we care about them and are committed to see them flourish.
Although many students may go on and build a career in the arts, for many others, coming to Razzamataz is about building their confidence. One of my proudest achievements is knowing that Razzamataz really helps to transform lives.
A few years ago, I was contacted by a family support worker about a girl having a lot of trouble at school, not fitting in, and generally having behaviour issues. We invited her to audition for a scholarship and we decided to award her with it. Throughout the year, her mum contacted us to let us know how much better she was feeling in herself and how things in school had really improved.
Upon leaving school, she went on to higher education and has stayed in touch with all her Razzamataz friends. Her mum believes that without coming to us, she would never of had the confidence to go to college and continue her studies.
At both schools, we have a strong history of progressing students into paid work with us. At Glasgow South, we currently have two teachers that were students when I was a teacher. They started by observing classes in progress, taking warm up sessions and then graduating to classroom assistants.
We have helped with their skills and confidence, and they are now teaching the drama class to the Junior groups. Students make wonderful teachers because they know and love everything about Razzamataz, they can empathise with the students and relate to the parents too, they are great ambassadors for us.
Stand out experiences
Within a few months of becoming a Principal, I took the students and their families to perform at Disneyland Paris. Although it was a bit overwhelming at the time, the children and parents still talk about it now and it was an incredible experience. We also loved performing with all the other Razzamataz schools at the 02 in London, truly making core memories and a weekend that will stay with us all for life.
I’ve been a part of Razzamataz for the last ten years and there have been so many things that I’ve learnt along the way. I had absolutely no business experience when I started but through the years, I’ve learnt how to manage people, how to provide the best customer service and how to deal with difficult situations.
Becoming a parent and building the business
My little girl Arizona Jane is now seven months and what I’m grateful for is that I don’t have to start preparing to go back to work full time and find childcare for her. I didn’t really take any maternity or have a drop in earnings because the business can run efficiently even if I have to take a step back. I’ve learnt to be better a delegating, which has been positive for my team because they have grown their own skills and learnt to take on more responsibility.
Of course, sometimes it can be hard if like today, I’ve had very little sleep, but I’m finding the balance of being a mum and managing the business. Razzamataz is so flexible that I can work around her schedule and sometimes even bring her with me to the schools, I’m very grateful.
Support through Razzamataz
It’s just excellent. Denise and Charlotte at Head Office are always at the end of a text or email and if I have any questions, I usually get the answer I need from them within about 30 minutes. Navigating through Covid was not something I could have done on my own and now with a baby, I just need to look at the network for so many positive role models.
We all have the same support, tools, and resources so when I see the other parents in the network with young children being successful, I know there is no reason why I can’t be too. Many Principals have babies, and they are always willing to share their experience and helpful tips that make you feel like you are never on your own.
Advice for others
Look ahead, plan and think carefully about how this will look in your life. If you are working, envision how you will find the time to grow your business and ensure that you have the drive and energy. That said, when you become a Razzamataz franchise partner, know that you are most definitely not on your own. You will have a wonderful community around you with people who have so many different skill sets and will be fully supported the entire time.
My passion is seeing the children develop their confidence. I want to ensure that we maintain the strong family atmosphere that we have and keep providing students with incredible opportunities that will build their self-esteem. As the schools continue to grow, I will ensure that each student’s individual experience of Razzamataz is excellent, and they can get the best out of their time with us.
Become a franchise partner
We are looking for dynamic partners to own a Razzamataz Theatre School as well as teachers and assistants. If you are looking to make a difference in your local community to the lives of young people and you have a passion for performing arts, we would love to hear from you.
Secure your place to find out more
Join us NOW for a 2023 launch and make the most of the last few weeks before our fee increases to £12,995 plus VAT from April 2023.
Training starting Monday 27th February to Saturday 4th March 2023 for a September 2023 launch!
Contact us to secure your place on our next short informal virtual Discovery Dens
To book contact 07821 122242 or click here to book your place:https://www.razzamataz.co.uk/franchise-opps/book-discovery-den/