Huge congratulations to Helen Bell, franchisee of Razzamataz Sheffield, who is celebrating her tenth anniversary. Helen has been part of the Razzamataz network for many years, starting as a teacher during her second year of university. Fast forward 14 years and Helen is now a mum to her son Harrison and has created a thriving business, offering exciting job opportunities for local people, and creating exceptional opportunities for her students. This is her story.
In the beginning
Starting my business at the age of 23 certainly had many challenges but I’m now in the privileged position of having a thriving theatre school and being able to combine work with being a mum to my son Harrison who was born in October 2017 and has just started school.
Describe the community at Razzamataz Sheffield
Once you are a Razzer, you are always a Razzer! I know that sounds a bit cheesy, but we really are like one big family and our students know how much we value them, and they are always incredibly welcoming to new children. We recently asked our students what Razzamataz means to them, and this was Senior student Poppy’s response: “For me it means I have a second family that I can rely on for anything. These people do not judge me and always look out for me, and I will do the same for them because they are so important to me.”
Achievements over the decade
There’s really been so many from students gaining professional work in shows such as Waitress to students that have won scholarships with the Future Fund to attend performing arts colleges. We have also got lots of past students that have used the confidence that they have gained at Razzamataz to go on and achieve their dreams at many varied careers.
As well as seeing the students do well, I’m so proud of the opportunities that Razzamataz has given my staff. We have had so many that have found a career that they love with us and to give people employment has been personally satisfying. For example, Paige joined us almost five years ago as an assistant while she was still at university. By working with us, she has discovered that she wanted to pursue a more managerial role, which we have been able to help her with thanks to our ongoing training and support. She has proved instrumental at being able to support our Senior students with any mental health challenges and wellbeing and we look forward to being part of her future career progression.
Stand out experiences
I love every single time the children perform, whether it is locally at a street fair or on a West End professional stage. However, the one experience that really stands out is when Razzamataz Sheffield performed at Disneyland Paris just five weeks after Harrison was born and I was able to be there with him cheering along our students. Watching them on the stage and particularly during the Disney parade, made me see how special it is to be part of Razzamataz. Watching the schools in the Razzamataz network in the most magical setting will stay with me forever.
Although there is always something new to learn when running a business, the pandemic showed me that it is important to embrace change. This can bring with it new ways of working and new processes that can improve the way you do things in the long run.
Building a lifestyle through franchising
Razzamataz has given me the knowledge and training at my fingertips that allowed me to build a good structure in my school. This has given me the freedom to step back when I need to, enabling me to spend time with my family. The flexibility of Razzamataz has meant that I can adapt my business as my lifestyle changed. Razzamataz has allowed me to grow as a person and given me the opportunity to work out what I want my business to look like to ensure that it gives the best possible experience for me, my team, the students and their families.
Support through Razzamataz
I had taught for four years before opening my own theatre school and I thought I knew all I needed to. However, once I started, it was very clear that although I understood about running a theatre school, I really didn’t know very much about running a business. This is where our Founder Denise and our Head Office are so
great at getting in experts to offer fantastic training with webinars and Zooms in all areas. Whenever there is anything that we need to know, we get an expert with every bit of info that you could possibly need. Covid was a great example. If I were an independent, I dread to think what would have happened, I would have just panicked but being part of the Razzamataz network gives you confidence that Head Office will always get the right info to us.
Advice for others
Ask loads of questions. Watch classes, watch the Principal in action and if you join the Razzamataz network, join in all the free training which will help set you up for success.
We had a lot of changes during the pandemic so for now, the focus is on maintaining and running my business as efficiently as possible around my family. It’s been a life-changing experience and I’m incredibly proud of everything that we have achieved at Razzamataz Sheffield.
Join our team
We are looking for dynamic partners to own a Razzamataz Theatre School. 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.
Occasionally franchise territories come up for re-sale due to a change in the franchisees’ personal circumstances or simply because they have decided to sell their asset and reap the rewards of their hard work. These re-sale schools very rarely stay on the market for long, so if you are interested, don’t delay in contacting us. Re-sale schools in:
If you would like to find out more about our ambitious growth plans and be part of multi-award winning Razzamataz Theatre Schools network, drop Charlotte a line from our friendly Head Office team to book on to one of our virtual Discovery Dens.
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