Alexis Jervis provides fabulous award-winning 5-Star rated arts and crafts children’s classes, parties and events in Newcastle-under-Lyme and South Cheshire, covering Newcastle, Alsager, Madeley, Betley, Weston and Woore.
Alexis changed her corporate career as she was feeling ‘like a round peg in a square hole’ and she just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Alexis has always wanted to do something creative but ended up going down the corporate route.
She’s also dreamt of running her own business but wasn’t really sure what to do or how to start. Alexis wanted her work to make a difference to people’s lives and have more flexibility around her career for her family and two wonderful children. Alexis also enjoys a bit of crafting.
When she came across The Creation Station it seemed too good to be true. Running her own Creation Station franchise would tick all the boxes for want she wanted from her career.
Alexis invested in her own Creation Station three weeks before the Pandemic hit the UK. With support, and her passion to make a difference through the tough times, Alexis adapted her business. Straight away, Alexis was providing online classes with crafts packs supplied and supporting her community with a wide range of creative activities for all ages to enjoy.
Alexis has a very creative and sparkly future planned with a wide range of exciting creative activities for new mums, toddlers, after-school clubs, family fun, parties, activities for adults and senior citizens, and events in south Cheshire.
Here’s Alexis’s story.
What did you do before running your own Creation Station?
Before Creation Station, I spent 11 years in the food retail industry, firstly as an Area Manager and more recently as a Buyer.
Why did you want to work for yourself?
I'd always wanted to run my own business but would never have known where to start or in which industry. I've always wanted to do something that I truly love, where I get out of bed in the morning and look forward to going to work. I also wanted to be able to be around more for my two young children. When I first saw The Creation Station and read the franchise information pack, I knew it was for me. The fact that it was all about crafting which is one of my true passions meant that it just ticked all the boxes.
I am married to my wonderful husband Jamie and have two children, Elsie aged 5, and Frankie aged 2. Jamie has been really supportive as he is happy to see me doing something that I enjoy so much.
How did you find making the change from a corporate to running a creative business?
Going from a very stable career to being self-employed was a very daunting prospect for me. However, I know if I didn't make the change – time would fly, and I’d look back with regret. I know I wanted to work and help people, I love doing crafty bits and pieces and I’ve always wanted to run my own business. I remember when I went to the discovery event, I was a little bit nervous but super excited to learn more about the business and running my own Creation Station!
The training was excellent and gave us all the tools to start our businesses. The ongoing support from the network is fantastic and I know I can ask anyone for advice and support and get an almost immediate response.
I had only actually run my business for about 3 weeks before the pandemic hit, and we went into lockdown, so it has been extremely tough as I didn't have a customer base to offer craft kits and online sessions to. I have managed to build a good customer base through marketing and delivering craft kits. In the brief periods that we have been out of lockdown, I have launched my baby, toddler and family fun sessions (which I never really planned to do until the second year of my business) in the absence of being able to run my after-school clubs.
This has actually worked really well as it has helped me build a really good customer base and has then meant that I have been able to successfully run online sessions and sell weekly craft activity kits in place of my usual face-to-face sessions in lockdown #3. It has also helped me to cross-sell parties and my adult craft sessions. All the income streams fit really well together so it’s more like we are helping people than actually selling.
How has it felt running a franchise business rather than setting up by yourself?
Although it has still been extremely tough, having the support of the network has been amazing as we have all been able to support each other, knowing we're all facing the same challenges. There has also been a huge amount of support from Head Office and the network in terms of devising new ways in which we can adapt our businesses to still be able to operate during the lockdown.
I have a Business Development Manager who I have monthly update calls with (but who I also know I can call on anytime with a concern or question), plus we have a group where we can ask a question of the whole network. At any time, day or night when people ask a question, you generally have an answer within a few minutes! Head Office are also always there if you have an idea, concern or any type of query.
You’ve grown your business at a time when many businesses had to close – WELL DONE Alexis that takes some doing! What are you particularly proud of?
Yes - I am very proud that I have still managed to grow my business and build my customer base, receiving lots of fab reviews in the process. The feedback makes it all so worthwhile, to know that my customers are enjoying my sessions and crafts as much as I am enjoying creating and leading them!
During our Creation Station franchise conference, I won the ‘Making People Feel Special’ award, this was such a proud moment for me 😁
What 3 things have you learned about yourself?
Good question! I’ve learned a lot but especially the following three things:
- I’ve learned that I am a pretty driven and resilient person
- I'm a better teacher than I thought (thanks homeschooling 😂)
- I am more adaptable than I thought
I am just so excited for 2021, after a pretty challenging first year of running my business during 2020! I cannot wait to be able to run all of my regular face-to-face sessions and to also explore other income streams which I haven't yet launched.
I am super excited to be able to see the true potential of my business. I have big plans to inspire the imaginations of lots more children (and adults) in my area this year 😁.
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