Franchisor Natalie Perkins danced her way to achievement on a solid legal foundation.
When Natalie Perkins started looking for dance classes for her toddler-age daughter in 2011, she was surprised to find that her options were limited to traditional recreational lessons.
Identifying a need in the market for an elevated dance experience for children, Perkins founded Bella Ballerina later that year in Brambleton, Virginia with a mission of providing young dancers with memorable, storybook-themed dance lessons in an inspiring studio environment.
The concept quickly proved to be popular among locals, prompting Perkins to open a second location. By 2016, with two successful studios behind her, Perkins made the decision to franchise Bella Ballerina – bringing the brand’s uniquely magical dance lessons to little dancers across the country while creating opportunities for other like-minded entrepreneurs.
After working with a lawyer for the brand’s first year as a franchise, though, Perkins quickly realized that Bella Ballerina was in need of stronger legal support in order to grow – support she found in 2017 after contacting The Internicola Law Firm.
“We were already working with someone when we came onboard with [The Internicola Law Firm] and realized all of the mistakes that we made,” Perkins says.
Under the guidance of the firm’s franchise law experts, Perkins was able to correct the franchising mistakes her former firm had made. With Bella Ballerina’s legal foundation finally in order, Perkins was able to scale her business with peace of mind, knowing she was franchising the right way.
“It was really nice to have someone franchise-specific to walk us through the ins and outs of everything we needed to change to get back on track,” Perkins says.
Bella Ballerina sold its first franchised studio in 2017. Since then, the company has grown to include eight studios across five states. Offering franchisees assistance in site selection, opening, hiring procedures, studio management, teacher training including annual retreats for studios, a full year of pre-developed dance curriculums for dancers between the ages of 18 months and 10 years, costuming and more, Bella Ballerina is on track for even greater franchising success in the years to come.
As the brand continues to scale, Perkins says the fast communication she’s come to rely on from the staff at The Internicola Law Firm has been invaluable for maintaining her growing business.
“Any time I have a question or need to reach out, there are a number of staff members I can reach out to and email and get a response almost immediately – which is nice, because you want to have the answers to your questions at your fingertips,” Perkins says.
In a competitive and highly-regulated industry, having that personalized level of legal support and strong, reliable communication within reach is critical for franchisors at every level of their career – a fact Perkins can attest to.
“There’s that saying, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know,’ and it’s very true when it comes to becoming a franchisor. It’s such a new world and a completely new business. You really need someone who has your back along the way,” Perkins says.
To learn more about franchising opportunities with Bella Ballerina, visit https://www.bellaballerina.com/franchise