07 Jul Meet a Tenant: How Jigsaw Performing Arts School Transformed into a Thriving Franchise
Nicola Lander is the founder of Jigsaw Performing Arts School, a franchise-based performing arts school that offers classes for children aged 3-18 years old. In this interview, she shares how she got started with the business and what sets Jigsaw apart from its competitors.
Can You Start By Introducing Yourself And Your Company, Jigsaw?
Sure, I’m originally from Bristol and trained as an actress in London. I worked as an actor and teacher before setting up Jigsaw with a friend from drama school. We started with one school on a Sunday morning and now have 36 franchises mainly in London and the Southeast.
That’s Amazing! How Has The Business Grown Over The Years?
We started by running schools ourselves, but as the business grew, we employed managers and teachers to run the schools. By 2011, we had 22 schools with managers and teams in each school. It was all very organic. We also developed the classes to provide sessions for different age groups, focusing on dance, drama and singing. So the offering is quite diverse and our aim is to always help children build self-esteem and confidence through our classes.
Sounds Great! When Did You Decide To Franchise The Business?
I decided to franchise in 2012 when I found out more about it and realised it could work if I found like-minded people who wanted to run their own theatre school. One of my current managers, Michael, in Wimbledon was my pilot franchisee, and we slowly opened more venues.
What Sets Jigsaw Apart From Its Competitors?
Jigsaw is less focused on big shows and venues and more focused on the children. We provide a place to belong for our students and prioritise kindness, authenticity, and community. As a franchisor, I’d say we are more nurturing than other franchise businesses and focus on finding the right people who share our values.
What Made You Decide To Move To The Brentano Suite And How Has It Helped You Adapt To The New Business Model?
We moved to The Brentano Suite because our previous office was so draining to manage, and after COVID we no longer needed such a large space as we changed to a hybrid way of working. I used to spend so much time worrying about the building, the electricity bills and how messy the alleyway outside our old office was. The Brentano Suite is a smart building, it’s near where we live and I love having access to a meeting room and kitchen stocked with tea and coffee. Being here really simplifies things and allows us to focus on running the business.
What Are Your Plans For The Future Of Jigsaw?
Our aim is to continue opening three to five franchises a year and train up new franchisees. We will also hire an operations manager to work alongside me to oversee the whole business. As well as that, I am also a business and life coach and plan to do more coaching as I free myself up from running the day-to-day of Jigsaw.
To find out more about Jigsaw, head to their website here.
Here at The Brentano Suite, we offer serviced office suites for companies across Northwest London and Hertfordshire, including meeting room hire, mail handling, and more. Have a look at our video tour to see inside our offices.