Franchise Success Stories: Women in Franchising

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Women are thriving in the world of franchising. We look at how the gender balance is shifting as women make strides with their own businesses – showcased by four key players in franchising.

Although it may have been in the past, franchising is certainly no longer a man’s world. Women are winning when it comes to the franchise business, with a significant increase in the number of female business owners over the last decade.

In the UK women now account for nearly 25 percent of franchisees. NatWest’s most recent franchise report found that 37 percent of new franchisees are women – a 20 percent increase since 2015.

Did you know? 37 percent of UK franchisees are female.

Women’s presence in the franchise world is growing. While 65 percent of those employed within franchise units are female, the stats show that women are increasingly filling the position of franchisee, starting their own franchise businesses and becoming their own boss.

In this article we’ll look at how females are rapidly emerging as franchise successes. We’ll spotlight three female franchise success stories from the UK and hopefully inspire you to think about potential new career opportunities.

But first, let’s think about why women make great franchisees.

Why women thrive in business

As the Franchise Industry booms, contributing £15 Billion to the UK economy, (an increase of 46 percent over the past 10 years) it’s clear that the presence of women is making a difference.

There are plenty of theories as to why an equal gender balance in the workplace constantly leads to higher success rates across the entire business market, but here are some suggestions as to why women make great businesspeople.

  1. Communication skills – women are often thought of to be better communicators. With the ability to express ideas and make connections, tasks that require networking and collaborating become much easier.
  2. Empathy and trust – these elements of emotional intelligence also tend to be associated with women, and in the macho environment of many businesses, they are unique people skills that prove true strengths. By harnessing a strong ability with language and the empathy to engage with the target market, a franchisee can go from strength to strength.
  3. Personal interests - As suggested by Forbes, it is considered that women may choose a business based on their own interests or its “purpose” rather than simply on financial prospects alone. This passion for the product or service that a franchise offers is vital to growing a business.


Organisations like the EWIF (Encouraging Women Into Franchising) are looking to change the face of the franchise sector by supporting and celebrating the females at the front of the franchising wave.

The EWIF is a not-for-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers, providing advice and guidance to women looking for a route into the franchise industry. If you’d like to find out more about the EWIF, click here.

Our spotlighted female franchise success stories are winners of the EWIF 2019 Women in franchising awards, read on to be inspired!

Female franchise success stories

1. Jo Stone & Tracy Townend, Puddle Ducks Franchising Ltd

Jo Stone and Tracy Townend were winners of the Overall Women in Franchising award. Puddle Ducks was founded in 2002 after the pair met at ante-natal classes. As their friendship grew they realised they shared more in common than the birth of their first children – they shared an ambition to succeed in business; the need to strike a work-life balance; and a desire to pass on the joy of swimming to babies and children.

Having spotted a gap in the market for high quality children’s swimming lessons, Tracy and Jo gave up their corporate careers and after much planning, research and training, they launched Puddle Ducks.

Today they teach thousands of babies and children across the country to swim safely and develop water confidence through a network of dedicated franchisees. They also run aquanatal classes for mums to be.

Everyone who works for the Puddle Ducks’ brand has a passion for swimming, an ambition for growth and a commitment to become experts in every aspect of their business. In 2018, they collectively enjoyed a network turnover of £10,000,000.

2. Hannah Drury, Caremark

Hannah Drury is the Operations Director of Caremark franchise, providing personal home care services. Hannah had experience of delivering care as she supported her own family members through illnesses. She was only 24 years old when she was asked by her stepfather to take over his Caremark franchise business.

Hannah willingly agreed, determined to carry on and build up his legacy. Despite no experience with franchising, Hannah was ready to take on the challenge and throw herself into the business. Her hard work certainly paid off, and she has since won many accolades, including the Young Woman in Franchising of the Year at the EWIF awards.

When asked why she decided to buy her own business, Hannah said:

’I’ve always been a hard worker and I knew I was up for the challenge. I came into Caremark open minded. I had never worked in the care sector before but I’m a people person, which helped – at the end of the day, as long as you’ve got your clients’ best interests at heart, then you’re in the right industry .’

3. Suzie McCafferty, Platinum Wave Franchising

Suzie is the Managing Director of Platinum Wave Franchising – an international Independent British Franchise Association Accredited Franchise Consultancy.

With over 15 years of first-hand international franchising experience, Suzie is a well-known personality in the franchising world. She is a judge for the bfa’s Franchisor and Franchisee of the Year Awards, Chairperson of the Scottish Franchise Forum and her company Platinum Wave is joint sponsor of Scottish Franchise Week and the Northern Franchise Breakfast.

Having franchised her own business from a single shop in Edinburgh and grown it to a network of over 70 franchised outlets across 6 countries, it is fair to say Suzie is very well-placed to run a consultancy.

Suzie was also the Franchise Director and Board Member of a national recruitment franchise and £30m turnover franchise network Select Appointments before setting up Platinum Wave.

Suzie took home the award for Service Provider of the Year at the 2019 EWIF awards.

Women win in franchising

As you can see, success in the franchising world is hardly limited to men who invest in the franchise sector. Women are increasing their presence as franchisees and franchisors alike, and our success stories highlight how much can be achieved by women in the industry.

The franchising community breeds transparency and mentorship, which makes it ideal for women seeking new career opportunities, worthwhile investments and to level out the playing field.

If you are considering getting into the franchise business, get in touch today to find out more about our opportunities to thrive.

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