As a young high school student, Kathryn Parker (BA ’00) needed money for college, but she had a busy summer schedule that didn’t accommodate a full-time summer job. Instead, Parker put her performing talents from community theatre, vocal performance and dance to use and created a singing and dancing company for elementary age girls. With her new dance company Parker could set her hours and share her love of song and dance as she saved for BYU. As a teen, however, Parker never could have guessed how large her business would eventually become.
When Parker moved to Provo to attend BYU, it seemed as though her entrepreneurial adventure had ended. But while Parker was still in school she realized, “I missed [the singing and dance company]. I realized how much a part of me it had become. . . .So I started [a company] in Provo while I attended BYU.” Parker maintained her little song and dance company while she completed her degree in Public Relations.
After her graduation and marriage, Parker moved to California and took her budding company with her. Parker’s small group of students grew and she named it the Singers Company. As it grew, “. . . people would approach me to franchise, and I shot them down for probably five years.” Parker knew the tremendous amount of work franchising would require, and she wondered if she could do it successfully. As she considered her vision for the company, however, Parker had a change of heart. “It was a personal moment. . . . I just knew [franchising] was what I was supposed to do. If I know how to do this and help little girls grow, how can I not share it?”
As Parker worked to set up franchises she struggled to keep up with Singers Company’s rapid growth. With every new franchise Parker had to secure more legal documents for licenses, contracts, and other agreements while ensuring that older franchises’ legal documents remained up to date. Even with the help of attorneys, Parker still faced a much larger workload--just as she had predicted. But also true to her prediction, Singers Company has seen many little girls grow.
One franchise directors describes, “Yesterday a sweet little girl that speaks very little English sang her solo yesterday. I had never heard her utter a word . . . [but] yesterday she sang into the microphone! I could not believe it. It was amazing.”
Parker now has 60+ franchise directors whom she mentors and guides. She regularly sends her directors the costumes, choreography videos, music, and training they need to help their young students blossom. Most importantly, Parker helps her directors to connect with her vision. “My [Public Relations] background has helped so much in . . . making sure that our mission and our message is solid and that it’s working,” Parker explains. “[This] is our mission: strengthening the confidence of little girls.”
Singers Company has now grown to over 2000 students from Alaska to New Jersey to Texas. Parker takes great care to ensure that, despite Singers Company’s rapid growth, the individual directors from each franchise clearly understand their mission to instill confidence in their pupils. “We’re not just about making money; we take these little girls in our hands each week and we can really make a difference,” Parker says. “What keeps [directors] going is the joy and fulfillment they find . . . seeing a little girl . . . have the courage and confidence to put herself out there.”
Singers Company has grown from a college job to a national franchise, but for Parker its more “about the girls. . . . I love the girls, I love watching them grow, and I love working towards that growth. . . . They have my heart.”
-Madeline Buhman ('18)