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Keeping franchising in the family: The Morrell family’s journey with JUMP! Swim Schools

In the northern suburbs of Perth, the Morrell family has not only embraced the coastal lifestyle but also turned their passion for water into a thriving business venture. Since purchasing their first JUMP! Swim School franchise in Clarkson in 2020, Jo Morrell and her three daughters have immersed themselves in the world of swim education, transforming a business opportunity into a family legacy. Now they are set for growth as they plan to open a second site in Western Australia, jointly owned by mother and daughter.

 

From banking to franchise ownership

Jo Morrell’s career trajectory took a significant turn when she decided to leave her job in the banking, finance, and insurance industry to become a swim school owner in 2020.

 

“I was looking for a more family-friendly career where my kids could come to work with me,” Jo recalls.

 

The idea of buying into a franchise appealed to her as a first-time business owner because of the support and structure it offered.

 

“JUMP! Swim Schools was the first franchise that caught my eye. The concept of a boutique swim school was new and exciting, and I felt it was a perfect fit for our family.”

 

Jo’s leap into this new venture wasn’t taken lightly. She conducted thorough research, met with the franchise head office, and visited other franchise sites. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from existing franchisees and the importance of swimming skills in Australia solidified her decision.

 

“Being in Australia, it’s crucial for kids to learn to swim. This franchise seemed like a great opportunity to contribute to the community in a meaningful way.”

 

 

Embracing the franchise world as a family

 

Despite the safety net of a franchise, Jo emphasises that success still requires dedication and hard work and that’s why it’s been so wonderful to involve her daughters now aged 20, 18, and 13.

 

“Olivia, Sarah and Frankie have always helped on the front desk, with admin tasks and odd jobs around the site – it has been great for them to be in a business and customer service environment as they learn so much from a young age. It’s also allowed us to spend so much quality time together that I never would have been able to do if I had stayed in my previous career.”

 

Olivia, Jo’s eldest daughter, began working as a swim teacher at JUMP! Clarkson at the age of 17, as soon as she was old enough to receive her qualifications.

 

“I wanted a more impactful and meaningful work experience,” said Olivia.

 

“Swim teaching is so much more fun and rewarding than a standard teenage retail or food service job. I love making a difference in the lives of little kids and their parents.”

 

A significant aspect of the Morrell family’s success has also been their ability to build a strong, supportive community around their swim school – and Jo notes that being family business owners helped make this much easier.

 

“Being a small, family-run swim school with our own kids around has allowed us to create a close-knit environment where families feel welcome, understood and valued,” said Jo.

 

“We make it a point to remember the names of each family, all our staff are friendly, and we go above and beyond to ensure families feel at home here.”

 

This family vibe has not only fostered loyalty among their clients but has also turned their swim school into a cornerstone of the community. 

 

“Parents appreciate the individualised attention their children receive, and this reputation for excellence has driven word-of-mouth referrals, contributing significantly to our waitlist and overall success.”

 

 

Expanding the family business

The success of their first franchise inspired the Morrells to consider expansion and they have decided to open a second JUMP! Swim School at Joondalup, which will be jointly owned by Jo and Olivia. Olivia will manage the new site while Jo continues to manage Clarkson.

 

“At our peak, we had over 150 customers on our waitlist at Clarkson,” Olivia explains.

 

“The idea of having two sites close in location was appealing, allowing customers to transfer between them.”

 

When Olivia expressed interest in co-owning a second site, the plan began to take shape. Olivia is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in commerce, specialising in marketing and management. This academic background aligns perfectly with her new role as a business owner, she says.

 

“Working for myself has always been a goal. The Joondalup site, along with my parents’ support, is helping this goal become a reality.

 

“Not many 20-year-olds get to own a business of this degree. I am very grateful.”

 

Jo said watching Olivia grow within the JUMP! Clarkson community has been a special experience.

“Seeing her develop a passion for the industry and the importance of learning to swim has been amazing. I am so excited to see her start this next journey and am grateful we get to do it together.”

 

 

Tips for working with family

The Morrell family’s journey with JUMP! Swim Schools is a heartwarming example of how franchising can thrive within a family dynamic. Here they offer some valuable insights for other families considering a joint business venture:

 

  1. Have you talked about it – A LOT? Before committing to a family business, discuss the opportunity extensively. Observing each other’s reactions during these conversations can reveal potential challenges and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

 

  1. Strong relationships and shared values A strong family relationship and shared values provide a solid foundation for a business. If the relationship is already strained, business challenges could exacerbate conflicts. Shared ethics and values act as the glue that holds the business together during tough times.

 

  1. Open and trusting conversations Effective communication is crucial. Family members should be able to discuss issues openly and honestly. Avoiding difficult conversations can lead to disputes and business cracks.

 

  1. Thick skins required Family members must differentiate between personal and professional matters. Tough decisions will be made for the greater good of the business, and it’s essential to handle these professionally.

A good mix of skill sets Diverse skills within the family can enhance the business. Complementary skills help divide tasks efficiently and establish clear role boundaries.