ColourWheel Art Class Interview with a CEO


Aug 22, 2017


Sarah Beaumont is the Director and Founder of ColourWheel Art Class. Her background is in Human Resources having spent 15 years as a HR professional working in a corporate environment for blue chip companies and SMEs. As part of the senior management team her role was to understand and support every area of the business which has given her a excellent and well-rounded business experience from Finance to Supply Chain.

With a focus on training adults in the workplace it was a natural progression to turn to adult education when starting up her own business.

1. Tell us about the ColourWheel Art Class concept.

ColourWheel art classes are for adults who want to learn how to paint and draw. Our approach is very different to most art classes on offer throughout the UK. Whilst fun, they are highly structured and focus on teaching real skills and techniques so that our students see significant improvement throughout the course. The classes are extremely well organised and all held in inspiring venues. Our rebooking rate is exceptional because of the care and attention we put into the classes

2. How and when did you become involved with ColourWheel Art Class?

Following a second redundancy due to a company take over I decided that I wanted more control over my working life. I needed a role that was flexible and that would work around my commitments. I looked at my strengths and decided to focus on what I knew I could do well and that was to deliver training to adults. After that it was a case of looking to see what was on offer and to see which sector I could make the most difference in. Also you don’t need a lease or capital equipment to run an art class. I started branding and planning in 2014 and launched ColourWheel in 2015. The classes were an immediate success. With the two locations doing so well it was a natural progression to open more venues. The decision was whether to do that ourselves or to recruit partners to run the classes. With the problems that come with running locations remotely it seemed obvious to have the classes run by someone invested in the business because they owned it and we focused on putting the processes, procedures and infrastructure in place to support new franchisees.

3. What was your background prior to joining ColourWheel Art Class?

I worked for most of my adult life in HR, my last employed role was as a European HR Manager for an international fitness equipment manufacturer. This background has given me the experience needed to train and develop new franchisees to give them the skills they need to run a successful art class location.

4. What are some of the advantages in being a ColourWheel Art Class franchisee?

The main advantage is being able to work part time whilst still earning a great salary. There are initially three classes a week. The classes run only during term time so there are lots of holidays too. You can increase the number of classes you provide if you want to earn more. Working with the students and seeing their artistic journey is very satisfying. The classes are for adults and our students are a diverse mix of people and lovely to work with.

5. Who is your ideal franchisee?

Our students’ experience at our classes is at the forefront of everything we do. We provide an exceptional service from the point at which they book to the end of term get together so we only partner with those who have an innate understanding of how to deliver outstanding customer service. The rest we can teach you but attention to detail and a desire to go above and beyond has to be in their bones.

6. Tell us a little about the HMO Market?

Our art classes are for adults with the majority of students attending classes during the daytime. When we first went to market with our classes at two locations we had an expectation that most of our students would be women at retirement age with a few ‘ladies who lunch’. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Whilst we do have students over 65 there is a much greater spread between men and women than we anticipated. The other surprise was the diversity of the backgrounds of our students. Nurses, air traffic controllers, company directors are just a few with either shift work or flexible working practices allowing them to attend daytime classes. Our youngest student is 18 and our oldest is in their mid 80’s with everyone else in between.

We also find that our rebooking rates are high. Once a student has found a class they are happy with they come back again and again, they make friends and it becomes a part of their routine. A lot of our students say the same thing, ‘its me time’. Time for themselves to do something they love which otherwise they would not get around to.

7. What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise?

I don’t come from a sales background and am sometimes hesitant to explain the benefits of a ColourWheel franchise so, the main thing I have learned is don’t be embarrassed to tell people how great your opportunity is, if you don’t promote it no one else will.

8. Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?

Not one individual. When I see someone excelling at something I want to know how they are achieving that. I want to learn how they do it and look at what and how I am working to see if I can make improvements. Its not all high level stuff either, I can learn from the lady at the checkout managing a difficult customer with tact and grace.

9. What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

When you choose to go down the franchise route you are entering into a relationship that will last for at least five years. Can you work with these people, do they inspire trust in you? Do you think that they will work hard for you to make your business successful? You should only enter into an Agreement with a company that is transparent, who will encourage you to talk to other franchisees in the network and be open and honest about the challenges you will face, because all business do.

10. In your opinion, why do you think that ColourWheel Art Class would be a fantastic opportunity for someone?

People who sign up for art classes are genuinely lovely, so you are working with a set of individuals you will enjoy spending time with – it’s very social. You have the satisfaction of running your own business but as it is part time the business doesn’t run you and you will have the ability to earn a full time salary for a part time role. It’s a wonderful opportunity to strike a good work/life balance which is rare in these hectic times. You also get to work with a wonderful group of people at head office whose sole job is to support and help you with your business, who are invested in your success. Running a business can be a lonely experience but with a franchise that gives you the right support you can be part of a wonderful team, all working towards the same goal.

For more information on this franchise, please click here.