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Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2003
Active Board Member

Membership History

Full Member
Joined 2003
Active Board Member
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Company Overview

Monkey Music classes first opened in 1993 in London but their popularity and demand across the UK led to the company being franchised in 1998.

Today, nearly 50 franchises operate at over 300 locations across the UK and every week more than 12,000 families attend our classes.

A Monkey Music franchise is an opportunity to work for yourself, whilst being supported by a team of specialists sharing an integrated approach to providing the best franchise support at Head Office – you will find them friendly and approachable too!

Franchise Overview

Having been franchised since 1998, Monkey Music classes operate across the UK. Most of our franchise sales are new territories, although a small percentage are sales of existing franchise businesses.

Our long-term objective is to further increase the number of franchises more extensively to cover all areas of the UK.

Training

Twenty five years of tried and tested business knowledge is incorporated into an initial 5 day teacher and business training programme comprising ‘on the job’ teacher training, group seminars, online practical sessions and introduction to our integrated Customer Relationship Management System and on-line bookings, consultant presentations and one-to-one mentoring. Subsequent day-to-day support and diarised meetings with our dedicated Franchise Support Manager and specialists at Head Office help franchisees as they plan and grow their businesses.

Daily Life of a franchisee

Franchisees offer weekly music classes for babies and pre-school aged children. Some run all aspects of their business, including teaching their own classes, whilst others train separate teachers to run their classes. There is also the opportunity to run holiday workshops, private parties and provide lessons in day nurseries.

Classes are held at local venues, and the business side of running the franchise is generally carried out in the franchisee’s own home using the Monkey Music Customer Relationship Management System & online booking system, operating manual guidelines and continued access to the Head Office Support Team.

Resales

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Zed Tooke

What is your career background? 

My background is Music and Marketing. I toured with my own band in London for over 8 years before going to work in marketing at Sony Music. I have always been hugely passionate about music, and have been involved in it one way or another for as long as I can remember.

How many years have you owned a Monkey Music franchise?

I started in September 2014.

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?

I was introduced to Monkey Music by my sister and her husband, who run their own franchise in a neighbouring territory and it combined everything I had ever learned and loved about music, with the added bonus that you have the incredible fortune of working with young children. I started working with them as an office manager, and after a couple of years took the next natural step and began to enquire about buying my own franchise. I can tell you now that it’s the best decision I ever made. I still work with them both as we continue to work as a trio on both their franchise and mine. It’s quite literally a family affair.

How often do you work?

I work full-time - a decision I took early on - you quite literally get out of it what you put in. However, you can be very flexible. If you work hard throughout the term you really will see your customer numbers and profits grow and still get decent holidays particularly in the Summer.

How does the job fit around your personal life?

The job fits very well around my personal life. As well as having the benefit of working with my family, we have built a great team of teachers who we work very closely with to ensure the smooth running of the business. I prefer where possible to get my work done in the day time but it’s great to have the flexibility where, if needed, I can work from home to catch up. Equally if you ever need to be somewhere else during office hours you can very easily plan for it and working as a team means there is always someone to cover for you - managing your own time is a huge benefit.

You get all the support and training that you would ever need from head office. They are hugely welcoming and support you in every way possible, particularly in your first year where you are supported by your Franchise Manager. Head office are also always present thereafter if you ever have any questions or need advice.

Do you get support/training? 

You get all the support and training that you would ever need from Head Office. They are hugely welcoming and support you in every way possible, particularly in your first year where you are supported by the Franchise Support and Development Manager. Head Office are always ever present thereafter if you ever have any questions or need advice.

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?

The flexibility it offers you. The fact that you run your own business, and can build a team that you feel utterly comfortable with, makes for such a wonderful working environment. Working with children is obviously hugely rewarding, watching them grow over the years and seeing them develop is massively inspiring and that is all thanks to the incredible (and vast) curriculum that Monkey Music has to offer. The Monkey Music brand never stays still, it is constantly expanding and developing, and as it grows so do you and your business.

Are there any downsides to the job?

I have yet to encounter any but if I had to pick one...it’s that I cannot walk past a buggy now without seeing it as a business opportunity! I find myself wanting to flier and talk to mums or nannies constantly, even on my days off, so you can become a little obsessed!

Would you recommend this franchise opportunity to other professional people?

Absolutely, I already do at any given opportunity. It’s a lot of fun, it’s extremely rewarding, it’s sometimes hard work and you are often rushing from A to B but when it’s your own project and you feel passionate about something it’s so fulfilling to see it going well. With two children myself I have found Monkey Music and my family life fuse effortlessly together.

Val Stephenson

Val Stephenson talks about running her Monkey Music business in Newbury, Hungerford and Henley

What is your career background?
I originally trained as a physiotherapist but I have always been involved in singing through numerous opera companies and theatre groups. I then studied for three years at the Royal College of Music in London where I was awarded an Exhibition Scholarship. Following this, I worked for three years in France with Opera de Lyon and toured with them to many exciting locations as well as being involved in numerous recordings and radio broadcasts with the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. I also play the piano but my first love has always been singing – I sang everywhere according to my Mum!

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise Opportunities?
Monkey really found me! An acquaintance who taught Monkey Music and knew I was a singer asked if I would be interested in covering maternity leave for another teacher. I knew immediately I had found something really special. My singing career took second place as I brought up my three children so I was looking for something where I could use my singing experience, and my love of children, that fitted around a very busy family life. Monkey Music does all this and more. It is a fantastic job and incredibly rewarding. Subsequently, when the Franchise came up for sale I had no hesitation in purchasing it.

How often do you work?
I teach some mornings and one full day each week and the rest is spent running the business; administration, advertising, preparation time for classes, learning new songs, making props, managing my teachers, ordering new instruments, merchandise and generally promoting my business. I have several teachers across different venues in my Franchise area – we continually build the business and I support them whilst allowing them to develop their own ideas and put an individual stamp on their classes. We are in regular contact which helps me stay up to date and deal with any issues that arise. There are busy periods of the year when it can feel a little manic but I like to keep on top of the administration by sometimes working in the evening or at weekends. I also now devote time to my role as a teacher training consultant which I really enjoy. I do try to have one day a week when I don’t do any Monkey Music.

How does the job fit around your family life?
I do enjoy the fact that it is term time only - when my kids are on holiday, I am too and can give them my full attention. As they have got older I have introduced some holiday workshops though.

Do you get support/training?
The training days I have attended were absolutely invaluable and extremely inspirational to keep my teaching fresh and bounce new ideas off other teachers. It is amazing how many different ways the same song can be presented! When I first took over the Franchise I had a mentor to help me and we spoke many times in those early days. I can call Head Office at any time to ask for help and our Franchise Support and Development Manager is always very quick to respond to any queries or problems. I have attended business seminars arranged by Head Office which have been very informative and have become a teacher training consultant so I am able to assess prospective teachers.

How many classes do you run?
I run 35 classes and another 3 in a nursery school.

What is the best thing about Monkey Music?
To see my little Monkeys develop and grow in confidence, not only in their musical ability but socially too, is absolutely inspiring. To watch them suddenly be able to play an instrument for themselves, to see their faces when Monkey pops out the box week after week, to see a smile when their favourite prop appears, to witness that first clap - the list is endless. To feel that Monkey Music may shape their lives in the future and to know that you have been a part of that is a privilege. I am also fortunate to have some fantastic Mums and Dads who love the classes just as much as the children do. It is a happy job, and for me, personally fulfils my needs as a performer.

Are there any downsides to the job?
At busy times of the year it is difficult to cope with all the administration and organising you own teaching as well. Teachers’ illness is difficult and demands many phone calls to cancel classes, but on the whole most clients are sympathetic – we are only human.

Would you recommend this Franchise opportunity to other Mums?
I would have no hesitation – it is inspiring, rewarding, fun and every day is different! It is a busy job and sometimes feels like it is taking over your life - but I try to remind myself that it is my business and I am in charge to make it work for me and my family.

Rachel Huggins

Rachel Huggins talks about running her Monkey Music business in Comely Bank, Murrayfield & Corstorphine

What is your career background? 
My background has been entirely business orientated. I started working for the family business and progressed through recruitment into sales, marketing and business development. My final position was a Business Development Director for an award winning interactive design consultancy in London. The variety of my roles has been extremely beneficial to me as I have pulled on all previous work experience at some time since joining Monkey Music. I have always been a keen singer and attended drama college. My speciality was in community theatre which has proven itself to be really useful when it comes to managing a busy class. Monkey Music met all my needs as an individual and single mother and it has been the best decision I have made.

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
I was introduced to Monkey Music as a parent when my daughter was just 3 months old. I absolutely loved it and really looked forward to our classes together. Only when I realised how impossible my situation was to maintain, juggling my profession and everything involved in being a single mother, did I investigate the franchise opportunities with Monkey Music. I was delighted to see that there were a number of really interesting franchise opportunities across the UK and after careful investigation I chose Edinburgh as there was only one other franchise in the city and I knew the area really well. Another factor was Monkey Music’s award from the British Franchise Association. All things considered I realised how interesting this company was and what the possibilities could be should I join the team. From a business development point of view it was essential to me that Monkey Music had a proven track record and wasn’t just 'wishy-washy' in its approach.

How often do you work?
In my first year of business I didn’t really allowed myself that much time out of the office or away from teaching but that was my personal choice. This role is my key focus and by putting in the hard work at the beginning it was going to help the business in the long run. I started teaching 3 days a week but that developed in the second term to teaching 4 days per week and have two half days in the office. The balance between developing the business and running my own classes has been fabulous and has really developed my learning and skill sets. One thing I have learnt is that you can never afford to sit still for a moment in this job - what you put in you most certainly get out - maybe not this term but by next term you will be reaping the rewards!

How does the job fit around your family life?
Very well considering how manic it can be. The classes operate during the academic term, although I also do holiday workshops, which are also an excellent marketing opportunity for new families to come and see what Monkey Music is all about. I work in the evenings and try very hard not to do very much during the weekends – sometimes this can be a bit of a juggling act but so far so good! The first year of any business has challenges while you get to grips with running things. Then the second year offers completely new challenges as you grow your business and have more time to develop ideas, new opportunities, new directions that you can strive towards. Throughout it all, you make so many new friends, allowing you to integrate the business into your personal life or just allow it to operate independently – no matter where you go though, you will always be spotted by a little Monkey or two!

Do you get support/training?
There are ongoing training opportunities throughout the year at Head Office which are an excellent opportunity to meet other franchisees, and teachers, and hear new initiatives. The Franchise support team at Head Office are a great support to bounce ideas off or ask questions. The Franchise Support and Development Manager supports us all no matter how awkward a question!

How many classes do you run?
I started running 6 classes a week and working in 2 nurseries and that has developed over the years to running 32 classes and working in 2 nurseries. I currently teach around 300 children a week.

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
Everything. It is the most rewarding job I have had. I love the fact that my varied career has come together in all the things I now do each and every day. As I complete my second year I am now starting to work with far more proven knowledge and experience and this creates far more confidence in what you are doing. The product I work with, the children I teach and the fabulous people I have met, make it such a rewarding thing to do as an individual and for your family. There aren’t many roles that can give you the freedom and flexibility to cater for everyone’s needs and feel utterly satisfied when you go to bed at night!

Are there any downsides to the job?
The juggling of office work, teaching and still making time for marketing and learning the curriculum in the first year was and can still be really hard. Also branching out to work with teachers can be a bit frightening, as it is a big step for the business and also sharing the responsibility of creating an excellent experience for all who attend Monkey Music classes. You have to take time to find that right person that you have complete and absolute confidence in.

Would you recommend this franchise opportunity to other mums?
Hell Yeah! It is hard work and you are really busy at certain times of the term but if you enjoy being your own boss, being creative and above all meeting people and showing off just how great Monkey Music is then this is definitely the role for you.

Jeni Eastlake

Jeni Eastlake talks about running her Monkey Music business in Putney, Barnes & Fulham

What is your career background?
I was an Early Years and Key Stage 1 teacher and music co-ordinator in primary schools for almost 10 years. Although I enjoy playing the piano, I don’t have any formal music qualifications (although I do have grade 5 on the trombone!). However, I’ve always been passionate about music and loved being in charge of the music at my school. Anyone who has been involved in education will know that this involves far more than just playing the piano during assembly. Monkey Music was a great way for me to combine music, teaching and family life, and I haven’t looked back since.

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
I read an article about franchised music classes, and thought it would be a good opportunity for someone of my experience to work flexibly around my child care needs. I was aware of Monkey Music in my area, so got in touch to see if there were any opportunities. When I observed the classes, I loved the energy and enthusiasm of the teachers – all the children and grown ups were having a great time, and each class covered so many teaching points. I knew straight away that Monkey Music was the perfect thing for me!

How often do you work?
I currently teach a few mornings a week and generally work in the office during office hours when I’m not teaching, and occasional evenings and weekends too. I have teachers taking some classes and an extremely organised part-time administrator which is absolutely invaluable. I have had some periods when I have taught much less, for example when I took some maternity time for my children. This is one of the great things about a Monkey Music franchise: you can vary the amount you take on, although it’s always hard to pass up on new venue opportunities, and my franchise does seem to have grown each term which is great but does make for more work!

How does the job fit around your family life?
Really well most of the time. I am free from teaching during school holidays so I can spend lots of time with my children. I've been very lucky to have some wonderful teachers who have helped me out during my 'maternity time', which has meant that I have been able to really enjoy it. I can usually fit some of my office work around school times. My children love having all the props and instruments around, and have been a great help when I’m learning any new songs!

Do you get support/training?
There is a Franchise Support & Business Development Manager who is always there to support me and answer any questions. She has always been at the end of the phone, and has been very willing to help and give advice when I’ve needed it. Head Office has always been great if I’ve ever needed their help too. Ongoing training is available, which is really important to keep the classes fresh. My nearby franchisees are all really lovely and we occasionally meet up for a chat which I find really supportive..

How many classes do you run?
Ove 50 each week. This has grown considerably since I started, (I ran 15 classes each week when I first started).

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
There are lots of things I love about Monkey! It’s great fun and so rewarding. The babies and children are gorgeous and I love welcoming new baby brothers and sisters from families who have been coming to my classes for as long as I’ve been doing them! I get to sing my heart out, dance, do the occasional animal impression, and generate gasps of wonder simply by pulling a pink monkey out of my bag! I can vary the amount I work (within reason), still pick up the children from school myself most days, and usually be there for class assemblies and school productions.

Are there any downsides to the job?
Getting a phone call the night before from a teacher who is ill so unable to teach her classes the next day isn’t great. Some periods of the term are madly busy and I do find it difficult to keep on top of the office work, especially if I’m doing lots of teaching.

Would you recommend this franchise opportunity to other Mums?
Absolutely! It is sometimes challenging fitting everything in, and I do always seem to be rushing around, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s a fulfilling, rewarding career – I can’t think of anything else that would work around family life so well!

Jayne Harris

Jayne Harris talks about running her Monkey Music
business in Chelsea & Westminster

How many years have you owned a Monkey Music franchise?
Over 15 Years

What is your career background?
I trained at the Royal Academy of Music and have been a professional violinist for over 25 years. My work spanned orchestral, chamber and commercial genres, including 20 years’ experience performing in West End Shows and 25 years of being the leader and business partner of a highly successful commercial String Quartet. I also developed a reputation for contracting numerous string ensembles for tours and concerts country wide.

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
A friend had a baby and told me about it.

How often do you work?
Full time

How does the job fit around your family life?
I am able to plan tasks around family life and this is very different for me as in my former life as an extremely busy freelance violinist, work always had to come first as if you turned down the offer of lucrative work it was unlikely to be offered again. With Monkey Music I am in control of time planning and I am able to have weekends off (most of the time!) and to plan very regular holidays.

What aspects of your ongoing support and training do you value most?
I always feel I can pick up the phone to Head Office for all types of support. Teacher training forums are great too.

How many classes do you curently run?
Nearly 60

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
I love the challenge of all apsects of the business. In the classroom one day and in the office the next.

Are there any downsides to the job?
It’s sometimes hard to switch off.

What are your Monkey Music highlights so far?
My 10th birthday celebrations were amazing when I raised £8,000 for our local hospital and of course I was delighted to win Franchisee of the year 2014.

Amy Thatcher

Amy Thatcher talks about running her Monkey Music
business in High Barnet, Mill Hill & Whetstone.

How many years have you owned a Monkey Music franchise?
Four

What is your career background?
Before joining Monkey Music, I worked as an area manager for a well-known high street fashion retailer. I was responsible for 40+ stores and a considerable amount of profit/turnover. My role involved managing and developing a team of managers to achieve various key performance indicators. A varied role that also included marketing, customer service, strategic and business planning all of which I still use today running my franchise!

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
I first heard about Monkey Music as I attended classes with my first son William when he was 3 months old. After my second son, Thomas, was born we were all still going to Monkey Music and with maternity leave soon to end I was keen to explore more flexible working opportunities that would still challenge/stretch me, but ensure I was around for my family too.

How often do you work?
Every day – it’s a full time job – but you can flex the hours to suit your needs. (I.e. around school pick-ups)

How does the job fit around your family life?
The job is very flexible and fits well around family life. I am often able to pick William up
from school and support him with his learning. I then plan in time to work a few additional hours in the evening to make sure from a business perspective I am up to date.

What aspects of your ongoing support and training do you value most?
The ongoing support and training has been amazing. When I first started the business, I had a support call with the franchise manager every 6 weeks, this was a great help to ensure that I was going in the right direction. The teacher training forums have been an absolute inspiration. Sharing ideas with other teachers to ensure that you are planning/delivering the best classes and keeping ahead of the competition! The franchise network too is so supportive. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience which the network are always on hand to share.

How many classes do you currently run?
Over 30 each work, this has grown since I started

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
It’s a great job, where you can utilise lots of skills. I love the creative side of the lesson planning and lesson delivery. Watching the children grow and develop is incredibly rewarding. The business side of things is also great as that is where I can stretch and challenge myself. Plus, I get to spend quality time with my family, which with a 9-5am job could never do.

Are there any downsides to the job?
It is always busy so do not under estimate the hours that you need to put in. It is a full time flexible business opportunity.

Alex Schirn

Alex Schirn talks about running her Monkey Music business in Weybridge & Cobham.

How many years have you owned a Monkey Music franchise?
Since April 2016

What is your career background?
Before having children I worked for an events agency in London organising large scale corporate events and exhibitions. I had 2 children and during that time I became a childminder and subsequently started freelancing back in events.

How did you first hear about Monkey Music and the franchise opportunities available?
Working in events involves long hours and going away a lot - it was really hard trying to balance this with home life so I started looking into other options. I wanted something that would mean I was doing the same hours each week so I could be at home to drop off and pick up my children from school. I grew up surrounded by music, attending stage school and taking part in exams and competitions for singing, therefore I always wanted my children to be exposed to music as soon as possible. I attended Monkey Music classes with my son from the age of 6 months and then my daughter. When the opportunity came up for me to purchase the franchise it was the perfect solution. With my experience in childcare, and music, and the fact I was looking for a more family friendly career - I jumped at the chance to own my own franchise.

How often do you work?
I tend to work during school hours and sometimes for an hour in the evening during busy periods.

How does the job fit around your family life?
It’s always easier than you think it will be, whichever way you go, be it working for yourself or going back to your old job. Children are so adaptable and love being with lots of other children either at a childminders or nursery. Finding a balance can be hard but lots of employers are becoming more flexible for working mums. It’s also a bonus being able to have a hot cup of tea and eating your lunch without a toddler’s hands in it!

What aspects of your ongoing support and training do you value most?
Franchises are so great, you have the flexibility of being your own boss while having the support of a team. Monkey Music especially has won awards on being a great franchise to work with. We have regular support meetings where we are given advice from people who have been in the business for over 20 years. We get together throughout the year as a whole network so we can share ideas with each other and we also have an on line forum for teaching ideas and support.

How many classes do you currently run? 
I have several teachers as well as myself and we run over 30 classes 6 days a week.

What is the best thing about Monkey Music for you?
Being my own boss means I choose the hours I work, I work around the school day so I can drop my son to school and pick him up again. It also means I can go to school assemblies and coffee mornings so my son doesn’t really know I work! Having the school holidays off is probably one of the best things about Monkey Music, it means there’s no extra childcare costs in the holidays and we are able to spend time together as a family.

Are there any downsides to the job?
It can be hard, especially when I first started out and wanted to check my emails at every opportunity! It takes a bit of discipline but I’ve now decided while the children are at home and awake I don’t go into my office, even if the phone is ringing!

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Expert Advice
Latest News
Record growth, awards and TV all in a year's work for Monkey Music
8 August 2013
Monkey Music rewards its top franchisees at annual conference
25 March 2013
Monkey Music celebrates record growth
10 October 2012

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