Rhythm of Life

21st August 2017
ENTREPRENEURIAL mum embarks on pitch perfect music and song franchise.
Like many mums seeking the right balance between parenthood and professional life, Kathryn Gaskin was becoming increasingly out of tune with the demands of a career as a secondary school English and drama teacher.
So, with her husband having given up his job to start his own business, Kathryn decided to do the same, but admits she “had zero business acumen”.
The answer was to join a franchise, developing her own business but as part of an established brand with all the support and advice she would need. She came across Rhythm Time on social media. Its weekly classes for babies to four-year-olds aim to support speech and social development through music and song.
The concept fitted perfectly with Kathryn’s experience both as a teacher and a mum. “Although there was a strong structure in place already, they were also keen for you to make your business individual to you, which I really liked. I’m a creative person and there is a lot of scope to put your own twist on your classes, it’s not prescriptive,” she explains.
Before signing any contract, Rhythm Time recommended that Kathryn consult a specialist franchise solicitor, and her husband recommended Maxine
Buckton, at BHP Law, the only firm in the region to be a professional advisor member of the British Franchise Association, the voluntary self-regulatory body for the UK franchise sector.
Maxine helped take away some of the mystery, but also ensured the contract worked for Kathryn.
“She made it very informative, straightforward and a lot less scary than I thought it would be. Business is a different world from what I knew and I’m really glad I went to a franchise lawyer who knew what to look for,” says Kathryn.
“Rhythm Time wanted me to feel comfortable with everything and to have independent advice, which was reassuring and actually made me have even more trust in them. There wasn’t anything I requested on the back of Maxine’s advice that they didn’t agree to.”
Maxine adds: “Inevitably contracts tend to focus on the franchisor, but they also have a business and reputation to protect so that’s understandable. As the franchisee, you are able to make reasonable requests to suit your particular needs.”
As with most franchises, the franchisee must pay an initial investment – some of which, in Kathryn’s case, comes back to her for marketing purposes – then pay an annual percentage of turnover, typically five to ten per cent, or a fixed fee each year. A technical fee and contribution towards the company marketing fund may also be required.

With everything in place to start her first classes, Kathryn adds: “It’s very exciting, I can’t wait to get started.”
Marc Allison Partner