March 23, 2023

Client Spotlight – Ivybrook Academy

We recently conducted an interview with Drew and Jennifer McWilliams, the founders of Ivybrook Academy—a brand focused on providing quality preschool programs for children between the ages of 2-6—and proud clients of SMB. This Q&A is part of our ongoing Client Spotlight series, which aims to showcase our clients’ franchising journeys and their collaboration with SMB Franchising Advisors.

In a few sentences, can you describe what your brand does and what your company is all about?
Ivybrook Academy is a Half-day Preschool Program for children between the ages of 2-6. We specialize in providing an educational foundation rooted in the Reggio Emilia and Montessori approach.

Why did you choose to franchise your business?
After we opened two campuses in the Charlotte, North Carolina area we recognized that the demand for quality preschool education was lacking throughout the United States.

Why did you choose to partner with SMB Franchise Advisors?
We decided to partner with SMB because of the knowledge and personalized attention their company offered and has delivered to us over the past 5 years.

How many units did you have before SMB, and how have you grown following the partnership? Can you provide some details about your brand’s growth and development? Franchise growth in Q1 2023?
We had 2 locations prior to working with SMB. Since working with SMB, we have grown into now having 70 locations that are either open or under development. Plus SMB has helped us with a large licensing agreement in China. Without SMB’s guidance, there is no way we would be where we are today.

What advice do you have for people looking to franchise?
The #1 piece of advice is to use SMB! Truly, they have cut years off of our learning curve and saved us six figures by avoiding costly mistakes that might have occurred had we done it on our own.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about you and/or your brand?
Ivybrook Academy is not simply Drew and Jennifer. Ivybrook is successful because of the special curriculum, the outstanding franchise team that we have in place, and our Franchise owners. The collective knowledge and passion blend together to make an amazing impact on the lives of students and families throughout the country.