Franchisee Case Studies

Mark Swinford – Leeds & Liverpool

At Venture Photography Studios, we have always considered our mission to be making people smile. We specialise in helping our customers capture life’s most memorable moments and transform them into pieces of art that will bring them joy for an entire lifetime.

However, it’s not just our customers who are grinning ear to ear, it’s our franchisees, too! By offering a tried and tested way for ambitious individuals from all walks of life to run their own photography studios, we’re offering a way for them to not only enjoy fantastic financial rewards but also transform their lives for the better.

Thanks to comprehensive training and support which comes with a Venture Photography Studios franchise, previous experience in the industry is not required. However, in the case of Mark Swinford, studio owner at both Venture Leeds and Liverpool, it was a way for him to fulfil his dream of running his own studio after 35 years in portrait photography. Mark took over the Leeds studio in 2019 after the previous franchisee retired and has been instrumental in taking it to new heights. In fact, he has been so successful, he decided to open a second studio in Liverpool at the end of 2022!

“It was clear to me straightaway that a Venture Photography Studio had so much potential, especially with all the support that was on offer from the franchise.“ Mark told us recently.“Looking back, I wish I had done it 5-10 years ago! If I had, I would probably have opened even more studios by now – that’s how good the model is.”

The model available to you as a Venture Photography Studios franchisee does not just include any initial training you need, and access to a proven method for making your business a success, it also includes ongoing support every step of the way. We are able to offer our partners as little or as much advice, guidance and support as they need, whenever they need it. This covers not just the creative aspects of the service they can offer, but also the technical details of how to run their business successfully and maximise their earning potential.

“The support you receive, not just from the network, but also from other studio owners, works really well. Being an independent photographer can be a bit of a lonely place as you don’t have a group of people to share ideas with but, with a franchise, the structure is there, and you have people who are in the same place that you are to work with.
“Most of all, however, it is the vast skills base available at head office which really makes a difference. They have dedicated training managers to help you get your team up to speed and experienced operations directors to help you with every aspect of the business and marketing side.”

Despite the ups and downs of the economy in recent years, Venture Studios have been performing exceptionally well, enjoying some of their busiest trading periods ever. They’ve seen average customer spend continuing to rise, from £717 pre-Covid, to around £774 in 2022. Mark, however, has trumped even those figures, enjoying an average spend of £832 over 625 customers in the last year, making him one of the most successful and profitable Venture franchisees.

“A Venture Studios experience is a luxury purchase in some ways, but it is also an aspirational one. Capturing memories with families and friends has become far more important to customers after Covid, and they are willing to spend on it even if they are cutting down on luxuries elsewhere. After all, you can buy a big telly which might last 5-10 years, or you can buy a family portrait which will remain priceless forever because that moment we’ve captured will never come round again.
Having the power of a big, well-known brand behind you also means you can run special promotions and offers in a way that smaller companies just can’t. For example, I would never have been able to offer the 0% finance deal on my own, which has proven so important to getting new customers in the door in recent years.  Being an established household name makes a big difference for both individual customers and larger contracts. “

Mark continues to be very optimistic about the future of his two studios, and rightly so! The combination of his own ambition and desire to grow the business, and the expertise, branding and support the Venture Photography Studios can offer has already proven to be a winning formula and will continue to be so for many years to come. In fact, it is Mark’s ambition to open at least 1 or 2 more studios in the future!

“I’m naturally a cautious person, but I would say to anyone interested in opening their own Venture studio to definitely go for it! You’re still going to have to work hard and be hands-on with your business, but the guidance and support you get from head office will put you in excellent stead. For the right person, I would definitely recommend it!”
Have you got what it takes to be the next Venture Photography Studios franchise success story? There’s only one way to find out! Schedule a call with us today and discover how you can get involved.  

Jonny Foster – Eton & Palmers Green

Jonny bought Venture Studios Eton in 2012 from the existing franchisee. Prior to purchasing the studio, Jonny had worked in Venture as a photographer, but he had always wanted to own and run his own studio.

“I’ve built Venture Eton up since I purchased the business. The studio team have worked incredibly hard, and I am very proud to have been awarded the Studio of the Year three times. With turnover averaging £650K a year we have always been one of the best performing studios in the country.”

With a view to expanding his business portfolio, Jonny looked at alternative franchise models predominantly in the well-known fast food markets. “I looked at lots of other franchise opportunities, including one of the largest food franchises in the world……..it was apparent that I would have to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to open at least two restaurants, in order to get the same return that I do from running one Venture franchise.”

Jonny has recently taken over the Palmers Green studio in partnership with a rising star within his team. “I firmly believe my future lies within Venture, it gives me great job satisfaction as well as the work, life balance I strive for”

Have you got what it takes to be the next Venture Photography Studios franchise success story? There’s only one way to find out! Schedule a call with us today and discover how you can get involved.

Martin & Michelle Hillman – Southampton

Martin & Michelle opened their Southampton studio in January 2012. Before opting for Venture the couple looked at several franchise opportunities in the market. They were open minded to the type of business they would get involved with, but the decision was made for Venture due to the experience that the customer receives.

“The more we looked at the Venture Model, the more appealing it became. Venture provide a unique experience, which creates a product full of emotional value to the customer. Every day we see how thrilled customers are when they see the amazing photographs that we take of their families”

Martin & Michelle were overwhelmed by the support given on opening their studio. “We worked closely with the Venture opening team prior to opening the studio and as you can imagine, it was an incredibly busy time. The key to a successful opening was making sure that we had an effective marketing plan in place in the 8 weeks prior to launch, which subsequently would ensure that we opened on day 1 with a diary full of customer appointments. It obviously worked as we turned over £100K in our first two full months of being open!”

The Southampton studio continues to be a successful studios in the Venture network, turning over an average of £600k per year. “The financial returns of the business have exceeded our expectations and it’s really satisfying to be involved in such a unique and powerful brand”

Have you got what it takes to be the next Venture Photography Studios franchise success story? There’s only one way to find out! Schedule a call with us today and discover how you can get involved.  

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