Low-Cost Franchise Spotlight: Young Rembrandts

BY 1851
December 10th, 2012


By the Numbers
Founded: 1988
Started Franchising: 1997
Startup Costs: $40,380-$48,600
Territories 82

As arts programs continue to be among the larger casualties of school budget cuts, programs like Young Rembrandts are more and more important.

Founded in Elgin, IL 24 years ago, Young Rembrandts understands and promotes “the value of the power and passion, as well as the significance of art,” as Director of Franchise Development Kim Swanson puts it.

“This is really about raising the self-esteem of children,” explained Swanson. “We combine the love of art and children to teach and empower them while also building confidence – this goes way beyond art.”

After founder Bette Fetter was asked to come in and lead an arts program at the Montessori school her children attended, her program grew to the point where franchising seemed like the best way to continue to develop the program as a business, complete with a low cost of entry that continues 11 years after the company first began franchising.

“To date, we have about 82 units throughout North America, South Korea, the Middle East and Germany,” said Swanson, noting that the love and passion for art and how it empowers young children translates to any language.

As the economy continues to struggle, more and more people are turning to franchising as an option to get into business for themselves or after losing a job in corporate America.

“Because of the recession and the environment in banking, franchises like ours have garnered a lot of attention, and we’re thrilled because of the caliber of franchisees that have joined our system over the last few years,” said Swanson.

While there are other concepts out there like Young Rembrandts, the brand is unique because of its history, with over six years of lesson plans ready for franchisees to grab hold of and make an impact in their communities while also bringing in lots of business.

“Parents are always looking to give their children an advantage, and Young Rembrandts provides that while also being very affordable for the families,” said Swanson. “We use dry media, so the supplies are not as expensive, which actually also allows the franchisees to grow rapidly.”

The home-based franchise model also saves money for franchisees who typically bring the Young Rembrandts program to elementary schools, both public and private, park districts and libraries.

And while hugely successful simply because it fulfills an important need in schools with no arts programs, Young Rembrandts is also successful in schools where art has a large presence, oftentimes because of an art teacher who inspires his or her students to practice art in their afterschool time.

“Our franchisees really appreciate that they are involved in a business that impacts a child’s life – that’s why they grow their business. It’s all about passion and giving back to the community.”