16 Jul It’s official – our very first franchisee!
I am thrilled and excited to announce that last week we signed our very first franchisee, just two months after launching our new franchise opportunity!
And what’s more I am so pleased to announce that it is Nadina, who has been in my life for 6 years, helping me build Baby Squids into what it is today! Nadina has bought the first Baby Squids franchise in the New Forest. We treated ourselves to celebrate and had our own mini photoshoot and celebration lunch (see pics below!). The Pig Hotel in the New Forest is very special and promotes this amazing local area which is just a couple of minutes from where my journey began. I setup my baby swimming classes in the New Forest through a lucky contact who was a spa manager at the time. My aim has always been to provide a fun, safe and calm environment to encourage babies and their parents to love their time in the water. My own son was nervous in the water from a young age and I knew that through a nurturing environment children can flourish in their own time and in their own way. I am very excited about what the future will hold for her and Baby Squids!
Nadina has written some words about the last six years and why she has made the decision to be our very first franchisee below.
My journey with Baby Paddlers began six years ago however the story that led me here is so poignant and relevant to where I am now. When my youngest was 12 weeks old I signed him up for mum and baby classes at my local leisure centre. Instantly we fell in love with the water together. I was relaxed, confident and enjoying rare one to one time. The time we spent bonding was priceless, even the screaming in the changing rooms afterwards because he was so hungry, memories I’ll cherish. As he got older he went onto preschool classes without me in the water. I saw a totally different child; he was nervous, upset, shy and scared and ultimately didn’t want to be there. It broke my heart as I could clearly see he needed someone to be patient with him to get him passed this point, build his confidence, gain their trust and show him how to respect the water, be safe and most importantly, be happy. Sadly that person wasn’t there.
That moment gave me the inspiration to become a Baby and Preschool Swimming Teacher. I knew I could be that person that my son so clearly needed in a swimming teacher. After gaining all my qualifications I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and was introduced to Laura and Baby Paddlers. Laura was about to have her second child, Sophie, and was looking for a Swim Teacher in the New Forest. Those first years were great, I was new, excitable, keen and not to mention nervous. After a shaky couple of weeks I found myself in my element. Somehow I knew, even back then, there was more to my journey that just teaching. Laura ran Baby Paddlers as a busy mum of two, juggling the business with family life and all that goes with it. There came a point where I could sense Baby Paddlers was in my blood and I knew it was a company I wanted to invest my time in.
When we rebranded and Baby Squids was born I didn’t think this change would have had such an impact on me. The discussions about franchising always felt too far out of my reach but the more I thought about it the more I realised this was my calling, an opportunity I couldn’t let pass me by. An opportunity to be my own boss, doing something I love whilst still being here to raise my family and not miss out on the gigantic milestones so many women in business compromise when trying to succeed. I am so thrilled to have the support my family. To take on this challenge will mean changes for us all but it is a change I am truly excited to embrace.
As Baby Squids continues to flourish in the pools we work in with our wonderful group of inspiring teachers, my aim is to expand our ethos (and our lessons!) across the UK and maybe beyond.
I have a passion for developing people and I am really excited that this new direction will give me the opportunity to support and ignite future parents like me to fulfil their own dreams of a rewarding and exciting new challenge. Being a franchisee gives the opportunity to grow a healthy profitable business with a proven brand, proven model and outstanding support. I have no doubt the next one is just round the corner and can’t wait to get started.