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‘Dragons’ Den business’ adds celebrity franchise expert to its team

Written by Andy Swales on Thursday, 17 September 2020. Posted in Franchise

Razzamataz Theatre Schools, which captured the attention and support of TV star Duncan Bannatyne, is widening its search for new business by bringing on board a former bodyguard of Michael Jackson.

‘Dragons’ Den business’ adds celebrity franchise expert to its team

Razzamataz Theatre Schools, which captured the attention and support of TV star Duncan Bannatyne, is widening its search for new business by bringing on board a former bodyguard of Michael Jackson.

The world of franchising is extremely diverse and interesting. But few stories have caught the eye as much as this one: A celebratory martial-arts millionaire and former bodyguard to ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson, is now providing his experience and expertise to a business that was backed by Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne.

Matt Fiddes, who has built a global fitness empire with over 700 schools in the UK and worldwide, was recently unveiled as the franchise director of Razzamataz Theatre Schools. Razzamataz first came to the public’s attention in 2007, when Denise Hutton-Gosney appeared on the BBC programme Dragons’ Den, and quickly earned the financial support of Bannatyne who spent £50k for a 25% stake in the business.

Hutton-Gosney remains the company’s managing director and has now added Fiddes to her team. Fiddes, who was born in Swindon 41 years ago, is an entrepreneur and franchising expert, and he runs one of the largest chains of martial arts schools in the world. As for his connection to the King of Pop: Fiddes was one of the star’s bodyguards for over 10 years and, according to a recent press release from Razzamataz Theatre Schools, ‘it was Michael Jackson who first introduced Matt to the world of franchising’.

Razzamataz believe Fiddes’s network of business contacts, that include celebrity clients and other entrepreneurs, will help boost their own chances of growing the company in the years ahead. The press release continued: ‘Razzamataz Theatre Schools is delighted to welcome Matt to support the theatre schools’ ambitious growth plans and to work with franchisees to help with their own individual growth. As a mentor, entrepreneur and franchise director, Matt’s main focus will be to help the entire network become more profitable and successful, and to bring further enrichment to our students’ overall experience. He will also be looking to improve and streamline the operations, and ultimately improve profitability. 

‘Matt currently runs a multi-million-pound, international martial arts franchise but is perhaps best known for being Michael Jackson’s personal UK bodyguard for more than a decade. He has a huge list of celebrity clients and friends, and has the perfect contact list to help Razzamataz achieve the next level of growth.’

Fiddes, who is a 7th degree black belt master in Tae Kwon Do, and holds black belts in kickboxing and Kung Fu, is one of the most in-demand personal trainers in the world. He is also delighted to have joined Razzamataz, saying: “Through my 23 years’ of franchising experience, I believe we can make Razzamataz the number one theatre school in the world. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with fantastic people and it’s important that I can share this knowledge.”

His celebrity connections include Kim Kardashian, to whom he provides advice as a bodyguard and self-defence consultant, a role which came about after she was robbed at gunpoint in Paris nearly four years ago He is a regular contributor to ITV’s This Morning programme and Mail Online, and sits on the board of advisors for the Worldwide Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA).

When Denise Hutton-Gosney was given financial backing by Duncan Bannatyne, following her TV appearance, she said she wanted Razzamataz ‘to help each child with their confidence and self-esteem.’ And now, 13 years later, she explains: “We had a great experience working with Duncan who invested in us, and we have been very thankful for all the opportunities that have come our way since then. Having Matt on board shows we are committed to continue the development of the Razzamataz brand. 

“Matt is passionate about working to support the education, emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. He started his own martial arts empire after he discovered a talent for self-defence, after being bullied at school. Much of his current success is down to understanding exactly what parents are looking for to support their children.” 

One of Fiddes’s own success stories is the development of a Life Skills Programme within his own martial arts franchise. He says: “Each month, the student will work on a core skill, such as manners or resilience, and they need to complete a number of activities in order to pass. During this time, we discuss the progress with both student and parent to share their achievements, and give them the confidence to believe in themselves. Razzamataz has many similar expectations of their students, so we are excited to be rolling out a similar Life Skills Programme.”

Despite the recent lockdown, Razzamataz continued to offer classes and content online, and they even added five new franchisees to their network. As for Razzamataz’s own Life Skills Programme, Hutton-Gosney added: “We believe that this is the right time for us to grow even further as a network because of the flexibility that running a Razzamataz franchise can offer. Many people will be looking for business ideas that allow them to continue to work from home in a rewarding career that fits alongside their current lifestyle. “Razzamataz are now looking forward to launching more theatre schools across the UK, as well as overseas.”

About the Author

Andy Swales

A dedicated journalist for three decades, Andy has spent much of this time working for ITN, Sky Sports and Today’s Golfer magazine, after starting out years back at the Hackney Gazette. Since leaving Sky Sports in 2018, has spread his wings into other areas and loves writing about property and the nations rising stars in the SME business world and franchise community.

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