DEA Music & Art
Q&A with Magi Kapllani, Founder and Director of DEA Music & Art
1851 Franchise: How was the brand founded and what void does your brand fill in the industry?
Magi Kapllani: My parents are well-known, classically-trained musicians in Albania. They established a popular music school and center for culture in the area named DEA Center of the Arts. Being raised by the two of them, music was around me and my siblings all the time — our second home was the opera house. In 1999, I came to the U.S. to attend the piano performance master's program at the University of Illinois and performed all over Chicago. After moving to New York City, I decided to establish my own school where students could receive the absolute best music education possible like my parents did in Albania.
The first DEA Music & Art studio was established in 2003 in Staten Island-Rosebank to meet the demand from parents who were seeking high-quality music and arts education for their children. DEA Music & Art studios are run by musicians and artists who have dedicated their lives to performing, exhibiting and teaching. In both one-on-one and group lessons, each and every student benefits from tailor-made music and art instruction that is designed to meet their specific aspirations.
1851: What are your brand’s differentiators?
Kapllani: As opposed to the usual music schools, DEA Music & Art offers a wide range of programs in music, visual and performing arts, including Pop Idol, Rock Band, Virtuosi, Visual Arts, Chorus, Theatre and individual instrument lessons. Students can also enjoy summer camp and book birthday parties at the studios, which create additional revenue streams for franchisees.
In addition to a diverse curriculum, my classical experience with piano performance was a key differentiator in establishing DEA’s success. I’ve always believed that practice is only half of the work — performing is the other half. Through carefully constructed performing and exhibiting platforms, our students learn how to overcome their fears and handle themselves confidently in front of other people. Our students achieve public speaking skills, confidence and high self-esteem, which they can utilize to become anything they want to be in life. They not only learn the foundations of music and arts, our students take home experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
These performances aren’t small-time affairs either. Every year — prior toCOVID-19 — our students would perform as the opening act for the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular™ at the prestigious Radio City Music Hall, sing the national anthem at Madison Square Garden and more.
1851: What are your growth goals? What is your vision for your brand, realistically or in an ideal state?
Kapllani: In 2019, with a dream to help others open their own studio, I decided to start franchising the DEA Music & Art brand. Now, we are looking for franchisees who can help bring DEA Music & Art to more communities throughout the East Coast and beyond. Looking ahead, I’d love to see 25 to 30 locations open within the next five years.
1851: What does your ideal franchisee look like?
Kapllani: Our ideal franchisee is someone who is a hard-worker and has a passion for teaching children. They don’t necessarily need to be someone with my kind of music or art background — as they will not necessarily be the teacher — but they should be passionate about what they do. If you have been seeking the right fit for your future, DEA Music & Art is a place where you can thrive, inspiring a love for music, art and education with the youth in your community.
1851: How does DEA Music & Art support franchisees?
Kapllani: In terms of support, the first DEA Music & Art franchisee is going to receive 100% of the team’s attention. Initial franchise training for DEA Music & Art owners will last five days in one of the studios. Pre-opening training will provide owners and studio managers insight into the day-to-day operations, how to choose the right curriculums and programs from the DEA Music & Art library, marketing tactics for establishing enrollment as well as overall financial and studio management best practices. There will also be additional in-studio support once the DEA Music & Art center is ready to open and ongoing support as well.