What did you do before joining the Christmas Decorators?
I was working in the events industry as an event coordinator. I put on events for both large corporate businesses as well as royalty & VIPs. I had just recently come out of university, prior to that, studying International Business.
What made you choose The Christmas Decorators franchise?
Being both a creative and business-minded individual, The Christmas Decorators franchise allowed both aspects of my personality to be explored. Being young and at the start of my career with the strong support network of family and friends around me to help, I took the leap to start this new venture.
Although I am the youngest franchisee, this decision to come on board at a young age gives me great platform for my future. I am learning to work for myself, be the key decision maker for my own business and delegate tasks out. I am also in control of my own time and can make decisions that’ll benefit the growth of my business.
How useful did you find the initial training?
The initial training was crucial before the Christmas season began. I was able to put the knowledge from my International Business degree into context for my very own Christmas business. Although you are not able to learn everything during training, you’ll learn a lot of the practicalities for yourself on site as well as asking other franchisees and head office for support when needed during the install season.
What kind of support have you received from the head office team?
Install season is a very busy time for everybody at head office and for other franchisees, however I was never let down with support. Whether it was a technical question about how many sets of lights can be connected, stock & delivery queries, finance & invoicing questions or design & creativity ideas, each person at head office was there to support within their field.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the business?
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, so knowing that you have made your client’s holiday season even better by adding a touch of sparkle with our stunning installations makes it all worthwhile. I love building relationships with my clients and seeing their happy face as well as all passers by once an installation has been completed. For me, the creative side is great, and I love being able to pull some unique ideas together. Being part of a wider network of franchisees from all walks of life and all different ages and having that one common interest that is unique to us is very special.
What advice would you have for anyone thinking of taking on a territory?
A strong support network around you is key! Having family and friends especially in your first year to help with making garlands and creating products is really helpful. Ensure you are very organised and also have great customer service and people skills as building relationships is very important. The Christmas Decorators is a very unique franchise which is joyful yet demanding, so enjoy each season as much as you can and it’s great to know that there will always be an end date – 25th December! There is so much growth and potential within each territory, you’ll grow a great passion for Christmas and for expanding your business as much as you can.
What is the actual install season like?
I would say the season starts picking up from September with many enquiries and client visits. Installations usually start from November 6th, after Guy Fawkes night, up until around the 20th December. However, some clients want installations much earlier or even later than that timeframe. The installation season is busier than you will ever be able to imagine, and you’ll only understand it once you’ve done your first Christmas - that’s why organisation is key!
There are many many late nights, early starts, overnight installations, being outdoors most of the day, rushing for a bite to eat, managing incoming enquiries, conducting site visits, writing proposals, making garlands & trees, ordering stock, manging your teams & staff….and after all of that, you may just have time to do your own Christmas gift shopping once your last installation is done!! Although it is manic, there is an end date – 25th December!
Deinstallations may commence even before Christmas Day for some industries, but usually they can begin from 27th December and the first couple of weeks of January. Deinstalling is much faster and efficient than installing, but it is crucial to fill any holes you’ve made and leave the building just how you found it.
The most common question franchisees get asked – what do you do the rest of the year?
Surprisingly, I don’t stop! This is my only job and in order to grow my business year on year I am planning, marketing and preparing from February until October and then installing from November until January. Some franchisees choose not to do as much throughout the year and pick up again later on, but I have set myself turnover targets which I would very much like to beat!