Q & A with babyballet Founder, Miss Claire
Here, Claire explains in her own words about the expansion of babyballet into Australia and New Zealand:
How did the move to Australia and New Zealand come about?
“I was introduced to a fantastic Australian entrepreneur who works in the dance industry called Clint Salter through a mutual business acquaintance. Clint had already found out about me and babyballet before our introduction and was keen to discuss the opportunity of bringing babyballet to Australia and New Zealand…so it was definitely fate! We set up the business together in Australia and New Zealand and then he had an opportunity to move to New York, so I now run the business with Katrina who is wonderful.”
Why do you think it has been an instant hit?
“I am blown away that the classes have taken off so well and so quickly. I think this it is a reflection of all the hard work, time and investment by the UK team over the past 12 years. In addition to that, it has been down to our new licensees down under who have exceptional teaching standards and a real passion for the brand and our ethos.”
Are there any differences between babyballet in the UK and Australia / New Zealand?
“The programme content and brand standards are exactly the same as in the UK. Anyone going to a class can expect exactly the same level of teaching, syllabus content, music and amount of fun! One difference is that the full range of products isn’t available in Australia yet. Over the coming months we will introduce parties, merchandise and shows. I did this because I wanted to make sure that we implemented the brand carefully and steadily to ensure our exceptional standards could be maintained. Another difference is the business model – in the UK it is a franchise and in Australia and New Zealand it is a license.”
Potentially moving to Australia is a big decision. How do you feel about it and what would you miss?
“It is a huge decision and one my family and I can’t take lightly – I would need to organise what to do with our house, get a temporary home for my cat and dog, and then find a place to live in Australia and schools for the children. Packing for a family of 6 for 6 months would be the least of my worries! I don’t think any of this would stop me because technology makes it so easy now to stay in touch with everyone in the UK. If I go I will miss my family and my friends – I love them all so much. I will also miss working in the UK at head office – my team are like my family so I will miss their support and banter.“
Will it be more difficult to get boys into classes in Australia?
“I think both countries face the same issues so I don’t see it being any easier or harder. We all just need to keep plugging away to remove the stigma, and in time hopefully more boys will be introduced to dance and ballet as a positive, fun hobby as they are to football, swimming or rugby. Rather than it being perceived as something out of the ordinary, boys should be given the opportunity to dance and express themselves just as much as girls. It is a shame we are still in an age where it is frowned upon. We will keep welcoming boys though, no matter what country we are in.”