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Studio Expansion with Chantelle Bruinsma

Posted by Team APATA | May 5, 2021

Meet Chantelle Bruinsma,

Founder & CEO of Studio Expansion covering business growth aspects for studios across the country.

Where it all began

It was while studying a Bachelor of Music/Music Education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and looking for some summer work that Chantelle went back to her roots searching for jobs at musical theatre camps. Chantelle had grown up attending those types of camps. Kids working together to put on a production in a short amount of time. Making friends and memories along the way. However, there were none to be found.

At 19 Chantelle, not one to sit back and wait for something to come along, took it upon herself to then open her own program. Born to Perform delivered performing arts workshops in singing, acting & dancing. That first introduction to studio ownership was enlightening to say the least. With 50 students on her roster Chantelle made all the textbook mistakes and soon realised her business, barely breaking even, was not viable.

What Chantelle did right when things went wrong

  • She decided to take a step back and do some deep digging
  • Became fascinated by the intricacies of studio strategy.
  • Researched the best studios in USA, UK, Asia & Australia
  • Analysed pricing schedules, timetables, job descriptions, student manuals
  • Compared the results to her own philosophy on what a studio should be.

Results of re-opening after 6 months of research

  • By January had 114 students
  • Made 14k profit her first Summer camp.
  • Scaled business every 6 months opening new locations.
  • 6 locations, 1000 students, 34 teachers and a systemised, replicable business.

The results of Chantelle’s investigation into what a successful studio looks like. How it works? What systems, when put in place, could make it run smoothly and effectively for all involved created a ripple effect for her business. Opening more locations, maintaining great relationships with her students, staff and community Chantelle had discovered studio success. Success that didn’t go unnoticed by her peers. One afternoon Chantelle received a call from a competitor wanting to take her out for coffee to pick her brain and find out how she did it.

That was Chantelle’s first experience as a business mentor. From there she had her first paid coaching client and eventually sold her studios transitioning to full-time studio consulting specialising in getting the business model right.

“Studio owners work so hard every day of their life. They give their blood, sweat, tears, they sacrifice their time, their health, their relationship with family…they give so much to their studio because of what it needs. And what I’ve learnt is that it’s actually in the design- the architecture of the business model that huge changes can happen. If we just do things a little differently, not the essence of what the studio‘s about, but how things are designed…magic can happen and that’s what I’ve devoted the last ten years of my life to do.”

“We as owners are passionate and good at what we do but running a business can be overwhelming”, says Chantelle

One of Chantelle’s top tips is ensuring you connect with your community. Understanding what your local families need and serving that need can only help you create connections. Another tip? – inclusive pricing. Including extras like childcare and end of year recital fees in your program pricing removes financial burden and helps the families whose children really want to be a part of your studio.

Studio Expansion’s mission

  • To redefine studio business.
  • Simplify life for families.
  • Simplify the business.
  • Scale and grow business.

“I love questioning – ‘Why are we doing it this way? Is there an easier way where we could still get the output of connection, academic progress and the transformation within the child and student that is really going to make it easier for people to say, ‘Yes I love this. Yes, I want to stay forever, I’m never leaving this family.’ What is that?”

Common questions from studios:

  • How do we maintain our culture as we grow?
  • How to ensure a studio’s family environment from a systematic perspective.
  • Ensure every child feels included.
  • Managing a culture of acceptance.

“My whole philosophy is reverse engineering from the ultimate goal. I want to design the business model for the ultimate vision of your business. That for me is the strategic nerdery that I’m obsessed with because if we get those systems right, if we can design those systems – Wow! You’ll have so much more confidence in growing the business, it happens with more ease and it’s a stronger more stable business.”

We want to amplify what makes you unique!

Listen to Chantelle’s APATA Podcast HERE

APATA members can access Studio Expansion’s latest FREE workshop HERE

Reach out to Chantelle at Studio Expansion

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