What were the biggest differences when you joined Venture compared to your previous experience in photography?
I’d come from a very different background in the makeover sector, where the emphasis was on a high volume of customers at a fairly low average order value. There really was n’t any emphasis on trying to find out what the clients were looking to achieve from their photography session, or any real quality controls in relation to the standards of photography produced.
The complete opposite is true at Venture. There is a lot of focus on the “Value Chain”, put simply this is about what each member of the studio team can do to add value to the customer experience, with the end result that we really understand what the customer and their family are looking for by the time that they attend their photography session. It’s a very powerful process and, and a key part of the Venture model.
The other big difference was following the tried and tested marketing channels that Venture uses. This basically means that the targeted volume of customers is being achieved on a weekly and monthly basis.
What made you take the step to becoming a franchisee?
I’d always wanted to be my own boss, and having worked for Venture as a studio manager, I recognised how powerful the model was compared to my previous experience in the studio photography sector. Having the reassurance of a proven franchise model behind me, and the knowledge that there was a support network of other studios, coupled with head office support in the areas of photography training and development, marketing, operations and new product development, gave me the confidence to take the move to running my own business.
Based on this I knew that there was a great opportunity for me to take my earning ability to the next level.
What do you enjoy most about being a Venture franchisee?
I particularly enjoy developing and motivating the team, Venture is really a people business and it is all about delivering a first class customer experience.
It’s incredibly satisfying when you see a customer who is genuinely thrilled by the unique images we’ve captured of all the family, and they leave the studio with great wall art products that you know will be displayed on their wall for many years to come, it’s the best form of advertising there is.
What’s been your biggest achievement since you took over at Venture Rochdale?
There have been a lot of things that the studio team have achieved over the last 3 years, but all of these have culminated in really strong sales growth for the business, in 2018 the studio grew it’s sales by 15% over 2017.
One of the benefits of being part of Venture, is the access that the studio get to the relationship that they have with Hitachi Consumer Finance. This basically allows clients to spread the cost of their purchases through a finance agreement if they choose to. It’s become a big part of the Rochdale business, and from a sales perspective it adds real value, with clients spending on average £1200 when they chose this payment method.
In fact, we were recognised at the Venture annual awards ceremony as being the most effective studio in the country in the way that we use retail finance.
Has becoming a Venture franchisee met your expectations from an earnings perspective?
The simple answer it has exceeded all of the expectations that I had!
Sarah had previously worked for a photography makeover studio in a sales role, and joined Venture as an employee in 2014, taking the decision to become a franchisee and takeover the studio in Rochdale in 2015.