last updated 15/09/2022
Wise Head Young Shoulders
last updated 15/09/2022
Youngest sKids franchisee makes a difference to Waiuku kids and families
At just 24, Taylor Speedy is the youngest of the more than 45 sKids franchisees who own single and multi-unit sites throughout New Zealand. She’s also an inspiration for the younger generation to consider a whole different career path as a business owner.
Born and bred south of Auckland in the rural township of Waiuku, Taylor left college with career decisions to be made. ‘Working in a supermarket supported me while I qualified in travel and tourism, but even though I was offered a job, the long commute to Auckland put me off. Besides having family, my partner Hamish and so many friends in Waiuku, I also wanted to stay put to keep up the Speedy family tradition of racing on the Waiuku dirt track,’ explains Taylor.
‘So while I figured out what to do about a career, I applied for a job with the local sKids franchisee at Sandspit, my old primary school.’
Amazing and lasting impact
Taylor says, ‘I love working with kids and I love the amazing and lasting impact sKids has on the education, health and wellbeing of children aged between 5 and 13.
‘After working there for three years, I went full-time – and then my boss floated the idea of me buying her out of the franchise. She operated two sites, Sandspit School and Pukeoware, with the possibility of five more primary schools within a 30 minute radius. Waiuku is growing, with young families putting down roots well away from big city stresses, so I could see increased need and demand for sKids.’
Taylor admits she felt being 22 at the time may have raised eyebrows. ‘I had a long interview with sKids Business Development Manager, Chris Bartels. The franchisor team were obviously intrigued that someone as young as myself was serious about becoming a sKids franchisee, but they recognised I knew a lot about sKids and had proven my genuine love of kids. Then I was asked to prepare a business and marketing plan to put to the board of directors and, once that was accepted, it was full steam ahead.’
Taylor took over the franchise with two existing sites, but as a consequence of Covid is currently using her 13-seater sKids sign-written bus to shuttle kids between the Sandspit site and local schools.
‘We are back to pre-lockdown levels with over 15 kids every morning, and 30-plus after school,’ she says. ‘Our before-school kids get a healthy breakfast, and we’re getting a lot more parents and caregivers who now work from home and need a few hours of quiet to focus on their work, while others use sKids for more hours after-school to get home chores done or go to the supermarket.’
Serving the community
On site from 6.30 to 8.30am and then 2.30 to 6pm Monday to Friday, Taylor also puts hours of each day into activities, planning, administration and marketing. All sKids programmes are Ministry of Social Development-approved so parents can access WINZ subsidies – a process that franchisees learn to help with. She employs a programme manager, and three staff to deliver the education, health and wellbeing programmes that make sKids so much more than a child-minding service.
‘The team are great at coming up with new ideas across arts, crafts, sports, music, drama, cooking, technology and fun games that make every day different. For school holiday programmes, I love bouncing ideas around with my brilliant franchise support manager, Rose King, who helps me 100 percent. If I have a question I can call her any time, and if she can’t give me an answer or solution there and then she will always call back, usually within half an hour.
‘Community involvement is also high on our list of priorities. We’ve sponsored an Otaua School soccer team with jackets and shirts. Oh, and I wonder if there’s another sKids franchisee who races dirt track with sKids signage all over their car?’ laughs the aptly named Taylor Speedy.
Taylor said to call
sKids opportunities are available throughout New Zealand starting at $39,000 +gst, with both new and established sites available. Full training and start-up assistance is included, along with help in recruiting and training staff, compliance with Ministry regulations and, of course, the full range of sKids programmes.
‘It might sound like a cliché to say that I wake up every morning excited about the day ahead, but I really do. I’ve found no resistance to my age – in fact, it’s the opposite. For anyone in their twenties who loves kids, I’d say go for it. Ring Chris for a chat, and say Taylor told you to call!’
See this advertorial on page 15 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 31 Issue 2
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