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Picture Perfect

Starting a business becomes an art form for one franchisee.

For the artistically impaired, the idea of standing before a room full of students and teaching the finer points of art can be intimidating-especially if your last formal attempt at a masterpiece was the time you took your favorite crayon to the living room wall. Christy George, a stay-at-home mom from Marietta, Georgia, had never considered herself an artist. Now, armed with a KidzArt training certificate and a desire to work with children, George, 33, is finally fulfilling her entrepreneurial dream.

Searching the Web for part-time franchise opportunities, George stumbled across KidzArt, which promotes creativity and self-confidence by teaching drawing and other forms of art to kids of all ages. Even though she was immediately intrigued by the idea of working with children and liked the low $12,000 start-up fee, she still took three months to make a decision. After some due diligence uncovered not only a lack of enrichment programs for the kids in her area, but also overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone she talked to, George purchased the franchise in June 2003.

Although her business is fairly new, George is already reaping the financial and emotional rewards. "Before I started, I heard what the possibilities were and what the kids could get out of it," she says. "But now that I'm doing it, I witness it myself, and it's just amazing." The KidzArt classes were so popular that George began expanding her business only two months after teaching her first class. In addition to offering classes at local schools and recreation centers, George now offers KidzArt for Seniors classes at senior-care centers. She is also targeting home-schooled children by advertising through several home-school networks' newsletters and Web sites. George employs four people, including her husband, Houston, 31, to help her teach the art classes and run the franchise.

George projects 2004 sales to be close to $60,000, but she's just as excited about the other benefits of her business. "It's worthwhile," she says. "It's an enrichment program for myself, not just for the kids. I'm getting a lot out of it, too, because I see what I'm doing in helping these kids."

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This article was originally published in the February 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur's StartUps with the headline: Picture Perfect.

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