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Jigsaw Watford – Three years on…

Last weekend our Company Director, Nicola Lander, visited franchisee Katie Jackson, and her team at Jigsaw Watford.

Having taught and managed at several Jigsaw schools across London and Hertfordshire and worked at Jigsaw Head Office running the agency Jigsaw Arts Management, Katie took the plunge and decided to open Jigsaw Watford in September 2015. Her hard work and determination has paid off, and now as the school approaches its 3rd birthday, Jigsaw Watford is flourishing! We caught up with Katie and asked her to spill the beans on what has made Watford such a success.

How has Jigsaw Watford grown?

“I opened with 33 students in Autumn 2015 and this had doubled by Spring 2016. I continued to grow and now I have 143 students in Jigsaw Watford so we are pretty much full!”

Has running your own business changed you as a person?

“Certainly. It has given me a huge purpose and a really big responsibility to provide outstanding performing arts classes. It is also so much more than just a Performing Arts school – for many children Jigsaw is the place where they can just be themselves, let loose and feel supported no matter what else is going on in their lives. I feel very responsible for them! I have always thought of myself as being ambitious and organised and Jigsaw has really tested this. Deciding to go for it in the first place scared me, and that’s why I knew it was the right decision to make. I had to believe in myself and put my heart into it!”

What’s it like running a franchise?

“In the beginning you have that fire in your belly to get your franchise up and running. The excitement and anticipation is quite a rollercoaster, so it’s important to enjoy every little baby step and each accomplishment along the way. I still remember getting my first booking and the feeling of joy it gave me! The highs are very high – it can be extremely rewarding, and generally the more hard work I put in then the more I see my franchise succeed. There have been testing moments along the way however and managing a big team of creative teachers isn’t easy when you first start out in your 20’s!” 

How do you see the business developing?

“I want to make sure that I keep Jigsaw Watford being the exciting and energetic school that it is. From a business point of view, I want to maintain my school and its current customers so that my numbers remain high. This is a different challenge to my second school which is still growing and building. I feel very lucky to have my school in the position it is now, but I will never sit back and take it for granted because of the hard work it took to get it here!

Top tip to prospective franchisees?

“If the idea of setting up your own Jigsaw school terrifies you but excites you at the same time then GO FOR IT! There is no better feeling than accomplishing something that scares you. Don’t over think whether you can do it or not – the tools will be handed to you along the way! It’s the passion and determination that you need to succeed. Enjoy the early days – they are incredibly rewarding and be sure to celebrate each milestone whether it’s your first show or opening a new class. Oh, and listen to every little piece of advice from Nikki – soak it up, she’s been there and done it so her wisdom is priceless!”

Is there anything you would have done differently?

“I feel the past 3 years have been such a journey and in order to get to where I am now I have had to go through that journey. Cheesy, I know! It’s easy to look back and say “Oh I wish I hadn’t worried so much about …. and ….” but perhaps the reason why it worked out fine was because I took the time to worry and think it all through. So, no, I wouldn’t change anything.” 

If you could, would you do it again?

“I did do it again! I opened Bushey in April 2017, and I am thinking about a third school…” 

There you have it folks! If you are interested in opening your very own Jigsaw school, have a look at our franchise package and get in touch about upcoming Franchise Discovery Days. Come and have an informal chat and meet the team and take advantage of this exciting opportunity.