Start-Up Clinic Case Study

Emily Harper recently started art-K Ltd. which is an art club franchise where children and adults attend art classes on a weekly basis.

Kathryn started art-K 16 years ago in reaction to there not being enough art at school for children. The art classes follow an age-based programme which explores a wide range of media and techniques such as acrylics, watercolour, clay, papier mache, paper sculpture, oil pastels… Over the years, it has grown to 140 children attending each week with 40 children on the waiting list.

Due to the huge demand for the classes, Kathryn decided she wanted to franchise art-K so children across the U.K could have access to an art hub, where they could creatively develop. Emily attended art-K from 6-16 years at which point she became an art assistant. After graduating Bristol University, with a First Class Honours in Chemistry, Emily returned to start the franchise.

Although Emily had the motivation to make art-K a success she also knew that she needed to gain some business training. She talked to Surrey Chambers of Commerce who suggested that she should attend a Start-Up Business Clinic. At the meeting, Emily worked through some problems with Richard, her business adviser, and started formulating a business plan.

After the meeting Richard suggested that Emily should apply to ‘Start and Grow’; a government programme that offered business mentorship to start-ups. The programme was also a stepping stone to securing a Virgin Start-Up Loan if it was required. After getting accepted onto the programme, Emily and Richard worked together to produce a Business Plan and Financial Forecast that clearly outlined the company’s strategy.

Emily says “The response so far has been fantastic, we have 5 franchisees in 5 months so we are meeting targets. We are working hard to create a market presence for art-K as we believe that schools do not dedicate enough time in the curriculum for art. The Start-Up Clinic started me on the path that helped me develop a clear strategy for art-K and I continue to work with Richard as my mentor.”

Other Case Studies