art-K franchiseNurturing children’s love of art.
art-K is a art education service that teaches art skills to children aged 6 to 18 in term-time classes, after school and on the weekends. These classes follow a proprietary structured programme (the art-K manuals) which is tailored to each child’s development, allowing children to go at their own pace. Clubs are voluntarily Registered with Ofsted which allows payments for the classes to be made by Tax-Free childcare vouchers, increasing access to the classes. During school holidays art-K provides art workshops.
Average floor space:
300 to 450 sq ft.
art-K teaches children artistic skills including drawing, painting, and 3D modeling. art-K believes that children need foundational artistic skills and techniques, from which they will grow in confidence and abilities.
Our manual contains the projects for all children aged 6 to 18 which reflects the different dexterity and cognitive ability in the different age groups. Each class has mixed age ranges, which means any age can join any session. This means no student is working on the same project at the same time, creating a non-competitive environment. The student has no deadline to complete a project within a certain time; the art teacher can encourage them to take some time experimenting with a technique without any time pressure.
Throughout the programme, art-K includes a wide variety of different artists, from masters to modernists, to inspire new ideas. Over time, students end up bringing more and more creativity and style to their projects as their confidence increases in their skills.
As classes grow, you will have art assistants helping to keep the teacher/child ratio at a maximum of 1 to 7 students. Art-K Franchisees actively communicate to the parents the detailed care and attention they give to their students, which is one of the primary reasons why students stay at a club for around 4 years. This is both rewarding the Franchisees – building long-term connections – as well as providing a growing income from the students’ fees.
Being in an educational space, like other children’s activities, the students’ fees are paid termly in advance; this creates a recurring revenue business model. It guarantees a place on a weekly basis for the students, and provides certainty for the Franchisee to plan for resources to deliver the classes. Each student is prepared for individually for each session, because every student is on their own individualised programme.
Maintaining high quality
Franchisees buy high quality art materials from our ‘where to buy’ procurement lists. The majority of our supplies come from Jackson’s Art, who have created art-K branded products such as acrylic paints and canvases. Every art-K product bought through Jackson’s are discounted for franchisees, up to 65%.
Location & studio
art-K clubs are typically established in retail units or highly accessible offices or studios. As art-K uses a wide range of art materials and every student has a sketchbook, it means it isn’t feasible to go into temporary spaces. The studios are therefore set up to use the space efficiently and conveniently for delivering art lessons; art-K will provide you with the information you need to make the use of your studio space.
In the space, we use lighting that refracts the light to ensure the colour of the artwork is realistic. Art-K also has recently installed heating/cooling systems which are highly energy efficient, as well as improving the comfort of the environment in which you – and your students – work.
As a minimum, the Franchisee will run classes for 1.25 hours for 4 days a week after school and 2, 1.5 hour sessions on Saturday. Although the contact time with students is mainly afterschool, a lot of time is put into preparing for the sessions. Most Franchisees also add a GCSE early evening class as well as Adult classes (separate Adult manual), variously through the week in the morning, afternoon and evening. Child sessions are then expanding to two sessions after school on days which fill up. For example, some branches have 2 classes everyday afterschool and classes all day Saturday. Eventually, you also can continue to grow clubs by bringing in part time teachers, to open classes up on days you cannot teach.
Working as an art-K Franchise means there is no fixed minimum monthly payment; instead there is a percentage fee on sales. This means that your success is our success- which aligns our interests in supporting the growth of your branch.
art-K is an activity that gives our Franchisees an exciting purpose in life and a motivation like never before. From our side, when a new Franchisee starts growing, we get excited seeing the output of more and more children enjoying the art-K projects, all in their own unique way. Our programme is a way for our Franchisees to share their passion for the development of art in children.
Training and support provided
Throughout the start-up process, art-K can provide contacts which we use ourselves for every direct club we have launched. These include solicitors, accountants and start-up loan providers. There is no obligation to use these referrals, however these services have been sought out and tested by art-K HQ and therefore they have experience of art-K and its requirements.
Sourcing and finalising a studio lease is the main focus prior to the studio launch. art-K will support all Franchisees in finding the right area (through economic, population density, local services information and prior experience). Once suitable options have been found, art-K has the right to approve or veto your studio location.
Once agreed, art-K can support and advise Franchisees on negotiating heads of terms (HoTs) and we are on-hand to advise help smooth the negotiation through solicitors and avoid onerous terms. Through negotiating over 20 leases ourselves, we can offer the required experience and advice.
Initial training period
art-K kicks-off the initial training period with a 1 week course at our dedicated training space in Ashtead. This training is split between training on the creative side and training on the operational side.
On the creative side, the training focuses on learning – and creating - the projects in Manual 1 (of 3 manuals). Subsequent manuals 2 and 3 provide more projects for the same age ranges, the training for which is delivered at a later date. Also covered are:
- Techniques for behaviour management
- Child development progression
Within this week we also cover essential operational issues such as:
- Role play talking through typical customer queries
- Introduction to the booking system
- Child safeguarding
- Data protection
- Access to training modules on the Health and Safety & HR provider
- Introduction to marketing; subsequent training and development followed up on later
After the first week, you are invited to attend weekly live zoom ‘art mentor’ sessions to review the children’s art projects with the Creative Director. These sessions are normally in groups, where other art leaders in the early stage of their time with art-K are also participating. It’s an encouraging and mutually supportive group with the Creative Director on hand to guide and assist. Interactions with parents and students are often topics of conversation.
Franchisees are also supported on an ad hoc basis on administration or business issues, via email or on the phone.
As the lease is agreed, the training is completed, finally the launch day approaches! This can be an exciting time, but also hard to remember everything that has been taught and referred to. art-K have a ‘launch day check list’ to spare you the worry that you’ve remembered everything, and provides step by step instruction to ensure everything in those early days runs smoothly and positive routines are established.
Ideal candidate profile of the franchisee you’re looking for
An ideal candidate for art-K will find teaching children enjoyable and fun!
To understand further whether you may fit into the team at art-K, it’s important to share art-K’s values. Values are the pillars on how art-K operates and engages as a company and with its customers. Values resonate with every team member and, if they resonate with you, suggest a strong agreement on foundational aspirations of where you see yourself. They are:
- Sharing and educating; Our purpose and drive is to share our knowledge and passion with our students and each other.
- Ownership & connection; taking ownership within the parameters of the art-K brand, we actively seek to grow art communities locally by nurturing relationships with our customers and the local area. This ties very much to our growth as a company, which is something we work on actively in each branch.
- Committed & open to learning; we commit to listening to new ideas and approaches and respect each and every opinion. We may question ‘why’ from a place of curiousness and a desire to learn.
- Kind, caring & thoughtful; we address every person at art-K junior and senior, in a conscientious way. We ensure our language is inclusive and we communicate empathetically, aware that everyone strives to be their best. We remain honest with our feedback, providing constructive suggestions which help all team members develop and grow.
Future Franchisees are motivated to make a decisive new start and to grow their clubs actively every year. art-K Franchisees are successful when they love teaching and engaging with children and relish the structure that art-K offers, understanding that the structure facilitates creativity.
Having replicated and launched 30+ art-K clubs over the last 5 years, art-K continues to provide the highest level of art education service in England to over 3500 students weekly. We hope to hear from you if the above connects with your aspirations.
History of art-K
With a growing presence online and physically, art-K has been found and featured in national newspapers like Guardian and Sunday Times, and was invited to run art workshops at the National History Museum. We have also been many times on the radio.
art-K Ltd was formed in 2016 by Kathryn and Emily. Kathryn taking the role of Creative Director and Emily taking the role of Managing Director. The objective of the company was to bring art classes to children across the UK. By this point, Kathryn had been running her own art club for nearly 20 years and this became the blueprint for the future clubs.
In March 2017, art-K Ewell became the first franchise owned by Stacey, a former art assistant at Kathryn’s club and in 2021 became the first club to have over 200 pupils per week in tuition which is over £3K a week. In Sept 2017, art-K Ltd launched its first directly-owned branch in Wimbledon. By the end of the term in summer 2018, art-K had nearly 1000 students in weekly classes.
As students ‘retire’ from art-K classes at 16 years old, some are offered art assistant roles whilst studying at 6th form college and subsequently go on to study art at university. A couple of these graduates, Kate and Laura, have been subsequently employed as Art Teachers in our directly-owned clubs. The connection to art-K never ends!
art-K opened 7 directly owned units from late 2019 to early 2020 just before the pandemic arrived, when management focus moved from expansion to consolidation. As the Autumn 2020 term started art-K voluntarily register its clubs with Ofsted to enable payment by tax-free child care vouchers and widen the access to the clubs. During lockdowns, art classes were developed and delivered over Zoom and art-K retains this offering to this day, engaging with students who can’t reach the physical studios.
During 2021 further outlets were opened at Kingston, Reigate, Bowes Park, Dulwich Shepherds Bush and Letchworth, bringing the total to over 30 outlets and reaching 3500 students. In March 2021, art-K won a grant from Arts Council being recognised as making an ‘essential contribution’ to the arts in the UK.
Some Franchises have been trading for nearly 5 years and the most recent started in September 2021. With the uncertainty of the pandemic beginning to recede, art-K is looking to share the business model with new Franchisees to bring the art-K programme to more students across England and UK.
There are plans for a further 8 directly owned clubs in Romford, Cambridge and Oxford alongside the expansion of our Franchise network. By summer 2022 there will be over 45 units operating with capacity for more than 5000 students a week.
There are further exciting options for the future where the brand will expand and develop its essential contribution to art in UK.