Karen deWysocki is bringing our art studio franchise to Newport News, VA, and we couldn’t be happier! As one of our newest Kidcreate Studio Franchise Owners, Karen is setting her sights on opening her studio location within the next few months so that she can begin bringing her lifelong love of art to the kids in her community.
A creative person at heart, Karen’s unique career path started with a love and talent for photography. “I started my professional life as a photojournalist with a BA in photography from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology),” she shares. “I have a degree in photojournalism and American politics, and my goal was to be a photographer for a magazine or a well-known newspaper my whole life.”
For ten years, Karen achieved her career goal of becoming a successful photojournalist, with her work even being published in such impressive news outlets as The Washington Post. However, there was a different path in store for her. “I really did think that was going to be my career for my life, but life takes turns,” she says.
In order to meet her needs of a steadier work schedule and a higher salary to support her growing family, deWysocki transitioned into a corporate career selling advertising in the same news building where she had worked as a photojournalist.
Though Karen enjoyed her new position selling advertising space, she still needed a way to fulfill her lifelong desire to express herself creatively. “I think what is interesting about my past is that I started it with the sort of thought of being in that artistic perspective of creating,” she explains. “I always felt like I needed to be creating something in order to be happy.”
Through a side position teaching photography classes at the local community college, deWysocki was able to keep one foot in the art world while she continued to navigate the corporate world. “The thought behind [teaching photography] was that I would sort of stay in the arts and be able to go back into it once my kids were older.”
Once again, however, life had other plans. Karen went from advertising sales to business sales, wireless technology, and then corporate training, where she has been for the past 15 to 20 years, including 10 years as a team leader. This eclectic and unorthodox career path, says deWysocki, has led to the widespread accumulation of knowledge, from both the corporate and creative sides of the coin, that she feels will make her a successful Kidcreate Studio Franchise Owner. “For the last twenty years, I’ve progressed in corporate sales, marketing, and training positions and learned how to be a leader,” she notes. “I was taught to think like a customer, but act like a business owner. I’m ready to invest in myself and build a successful business that matters in my community.”
How Karen Discovered Our Art Studio Franchise
Karen’s entrepreneurial journey officially began six years ago, long before ever hearing about our art studio franchise opportunity, when she began thinking about starting a business from scratch. “I was looking for a business I could build, where I could create something that mattered to me and that mattered to the community. I think over time you learn, and you change, and this is the way I’m coming back to building something and creating something.”
However, the considerable risks and obstacles associated with starting a business from the ground up were a cause for concern for Karen, leading her to decide that franchising was her preferred option for business ownership. “Every time I took a step forward there were too many things that made me step back,” she explained. “I made a decision that when I go back to that thought, I would do it with a successful franchise because it’s a built business, the risk is lower, I can bet on myself, with my skills, that I can make a good solid business plan work.”
Once Karen decided that franchising was the best fit for her, she began searching online for opportunities that fed into her desire to own a business geared towards creativity. In Kidcreate Studio, she found just what she was looking for: an art studio franchise with a proven track record and a successful business model that inspired kids to learn art techniques through a fun, engaging curriculum.
Though her Google search returned results for other creative-themed franchises, a quick comparison revealed that Kidcreate Studio was the best choice for deWysocki. One of the biggest draws of our art studio franchise model, she says, was having a dedicated space where class instruction takes place. “I know myself well enough to know that I needed a team- I need to work with people and I do best in leading a team, that’s where I’m happy. So I knew I wanted a brick-and-mortar and I wanted something that could be created in that place- I wanted to go to work.”
Thanks to her years of experience in outside sales and corporate training, Karen was also excited by the sales-oriented aspects of owning a Kidcreate Studio. “Outside selling is something I’ve done for so long and I’m comfortable with it- I taught it, I know what to do- and I wanted it to have a component of [sales], and that is part of [Kidcreate Studio’s] business and revenue model.”
Meeting our Art Studio Franchise Founder
In addition to feeling at home with our art studio franchise model from a business standpoint, deWysocki felt a connection with our Founder, Lara Olson, after hearing her story and meeting her via a virtual Discovery Day. “I admire Lara as a businesswoman and mother and how she’s built the business,” she says. “I could see myself in her and I understood her perspective and really admired what she’d done.”
Karen was also encouraged by Lara’s hands-on involvement with the franchise and enjoyed seeing how dedicated our Founder still is to the business she created. “Probably the best part that I got from [Discovery Day] was confidence that Lara, as the Founder and owner, understands the business as she always did…she’s very involved,” she explains. “To me, being a leader, there’s a level of involvement and accountability and visibility that you need to maintain to keep a business healthy. I’ve seen it done different ways- I’ve seen it where owners and Founders step away and they think things are happening differently than they actually are, and I didn’t see that. I left that Discovery Day with confidence in the leadership. To me, that’s really important, especially if I’m investing in someone else’s business.”
Keeping Art Education in the Community
Besides her lifelong passion for art, deWysocki had another reason for believing that an art studio franchise like Kidcreate Studio would do particularly well in her community. The elementary school her children had attended, which had featured a robust arts education program among other well-rounded enrichment activities, was closing, and she saw an unmet need for art instruction in the lives of area kids. “I was a single mom all the while they were growing up, and that school played a very big part in their upbringing,” she recalls. “More and more, these schools that had [art education] are now closing because they can’t afford to stay open, so let’s find a way to make it affordable some other way.”
The importance of art in education is a cause that resonates deeply with deWysocki, thanks to her background in an artistic discipline. “I studied art and realize and appreciate the impact it had on my life and career,” she points out. By opening a Kidcreate Studio, Karen feels that she is fulfilling multiple goals by not only realizing her dream of owning a business geared toward creativity but also bringing an important, endangered resource- quality art education- back to her community. “I believe that art matters and I’ve learned that research agrees,” deWysocki says, referring to a number of studies that have been published showing the correlation between art education and children’s academic success.
Looking Forward to the Future
As Karen moves closer to realizing her goal of owning a business focused on creative pursuits, she looks forward to using all the knowledge and skills she has gained throughout her career to be a successful Franchise Owner with Kidcreate Studio. “My unconventional career path finally makes sense!” she says. “It led me to this new adventure. I’m beyond excited to own a Kidcreate Studio and can’t wait to get started.”
Owning an art studio franchise like Kidcreate Studio has helped Karen deWysocki strike the perfect balance between her dual passions for creativity and business, while also providing an essential, necessary function for the children and parents in her community. If you are thinking that you could similarly benefit from becoming a Kidcreate Studio Franchise Owner, we want to talk to you! Visit us at https://franchise.kidcreatestudio.com to take the next step toward your goal of creative entrepreneurship.