I had been looking to get back to work after having my son Henry in October 2008. As we had moved from Lancashire to my home county of Buckinghamshire when I was pregnant, returning to my old job was not an option for me. I kept an eye on the local job adverts but everything that was on offer seemed like too many hours for very low wages that would not justify the cost of childcare, let alone the hours away from my baby.
I had always had an ambition to run my own business so I began to explore that option, which is when I discovered Tatty Bumpkin. I remembered seeing an advert for the brand when I was pregnant and was surprised to see that there were no classes in my area. I contacted Head Office in to enquire and was told that my territory was available, and invited to attend a Discovery Day in London. I was very impressed with what I saw and loved the concepts behind the brand. The fact that the territory on offer was so generous also really appealed to me. The franchise is sold as being scalable, meaning that you can chose to keep your business relatively small and teach the classes yourself, or you can run it as a management franchise and take on teachers to run classes for you. I definitely had ambitions for the latter option.
I made my decision to buy the franchise quickly as I didn't want to miss out on my home territory. I had a very busy Christmas that year as I juggled hosting Christmas dinner for eight, with doing market research and writing my business plan.
The hard work paid off as in January 2010 I was accepted as a Tatty Bumpkin franchisee and attended the initial four day training soon after.
I had a slow start to my business as my son was still very small and I was not ready for him to go to nursery yet so I didn't have very many hours to dedicate to teaching. I started off running just one class in a local hall and building up my confidence with the teaching programme. I completed further training to teach the Baby Bumpkin programme in June 2010 and started teaching that soon after. One of the really great things about being part of the Tatty Bumpkin franchise network is there is a lot of support available from the other franchisees, as well as from Head Office. I had been speaking to one of the other more experienced (and very successful) franchisees and she told me how she focussed her business on nurseries and children's centres. I realised that, particularly with the limited hours available to me, this would be the most sensible way of making the best use of my time.
I am now coming to the end of my second year as a Tatty Bumpkin franchisee and I can honestly say that I am so glad that I made the decision to invest in the franchise. I have just taken on my second teacher and am planning to expand the business even more in 2012. My son is now three and is only in nursery for three mornings a week; I have managed to build a business that provides my family with a valuable second income as well as allowing me to spend plenty of time being Mummy too. I am really proud of what I have achieved with the support of the team at Tatty Bumpkin.
I have been practising yoga since I moved to London almost fifteen years ago. I generally practise about three or four hours a week and couldn't live without it. After I had my two children, Daisy and Poppy, I realised that I really wanted a more fulfilling job than the one I already had and so I looked into franchising.
I looked at a few different options but it was a friend of mine who told me about Tatty Bumpkin. I researched it a lot before I decided to buy the North London franchise (Winchmore Hill) and the more I learnt about it, the more I wanted to be a part of it. Before signing, I was asked to put a business plan together and I presented it to the company with some trepidation. I was so nervous, I felt like I had no idea what I was doing but the whole process has been a great experience and a massive learning curve for me. I have owned my franchise for seven months now; from November I will be running twenty classes per week and hopefully a lot more by Christmas time.
I have taken on a teacher and feel that I am really successfully running my own business. I am very confident with the classes and have a great rapport with the children. I struggle a little with the business side of things sometimes but I am learning all the time and miraculously I haven't deleted anything of major importance yet. The team at head office are so very supportive and kind. It's a good feeling to know that I am working for myself but at the same time if I need a little help or support all I have to do is pick up the phone, they are always there to help. Also, there are twenty one other, very supportive, franchisees and we all share our advice and ideas on a closed network page, a great way to stay in touch.
I work long hours at the computer in the evening and run around from venue to venue in the daytime but the rewards are massive. I have never been happier, I get to play with children all day long, whilst all the time helping them with physical development which makes me very proud. As well as the CACHE (Council for Awards in Childcare and Education) accredited Tatty Bumpkin training, I have taken my qualifications a little further and am also studying to be an official yoga teacher, I wanted to do that just for myself, I don't see myself ever wanting to do anything other than run my Tatty Bumpkin business and I really hope that I will be able to buy the franchise next to mine possibly in the next year.
If you work hard then you will win contracts, there is a little bit of luck involved I think but I think out of all the taster sessions I have given I have only not secured contracts with five of them. I am passionate about yoga in schools and I think that helps to sell the sessions too. There are so many ways into a school with Tatty breakfast clubs, after school clubs, Nurture Groups, reception classes, Healthy Schools Week and many more. It has a lot of scope within a school and I try to maximise that.
A couple of months ago, I also undertook two further days of training to become a qualified Baby bumpkin teacher. These classes are just so popular that I have hardly needed to advertise it. It's very focused on bonding and nurturing and again it makes me feel lovely.
I always remember how I felt coming out of my last session of the first week of my Tatty classes. I felt giddy with excitement; this is a wonderful way to feel at work I thought and the best part is that I still feel like that. I am really glad I bought this business. I am proud of what I do for a living and I am proud of myself.
In 2007, my husband and I returned to London with our one year old son Dylan after living in The Netherlands for several years. We loved the Dutch way of life and their holistic approach to health and wellbeing, especially in pregnancy and parenthood. Whilst in Amsterdam I had discovered a love of yoga through a wonderful teacher. I enjoyed practicing yoga throughout my pregnancy and also took Dylan along to baby yoga with me from just 4 weeks old. I loved the bond this gave us, whilst keeping fit.
When we returned to the UK I was really keen to continue yoga with Dylan but found that I couldn't find anything done in a fun, lighthearted way. In the summer of 2008, whilst at the Innocent Village Fete, Dylan said "look mummy yoga" and we joined in a Tatty Bumpkin class led by founder Sam Petter. We loved the class and enjoyed chatting to Sam about Tatty Bumpkin being an ethical business and how they were starting to franchise. I went home buzzing with ideas and by the next day I had decided that running a Tatty Bumpkin franchise was my ideal job.
Before having children I had worked as a marketing manager, but once I had been inspired by motherhood I knew I wanted to be able to put my children first whilst finding a job I could make into a real success. I now have two sons, Dylan aged five years and Toby aged three. They are Tatty's biggest fans, which mean that my work is now also their play. All the skills from my previous career have been essential in being able to run my franchise business effectively.
I have owned my franchise for three years now and I believe I have built a very successful business. I am proud to say that I have been franchisee of the Month five times this year for achieving the highest franchise sales across the company. I now have contracts in a number of council run Children's Centres and also in chains of private nurseries.
I feel rewarded by the owning and running a business that is not only making a profit, but also allows me to make a difference to little ones across Richmond.
Marie Naud has been a Tatty Bumpkin Franchisee since February 2009, running yoga-inspired classes for little ones in the Plymouth area, this is her story.
My name is Marie and I a mother of two wonderful girls and expecting a third. I am a research scientist by training but after having my second daughter I realised I could not perform well in this field and still give my family the quality time they deserved. I was half looking for another opportunity. I found Tatty Bumpkin beautiful and ethical clothing in a catalogue and logged onto their website to have a look at the full range. That is when I discovered that they also offered yoga inspired classes for little ones and that they were selling franchises. As I have been practising and enjoying the benefits of yoga for over 10 years I was really keen to know more. I went along to a discovery day and then I knew I had to give this a go.
I completed my training in February 2009. The training is CACHE (Council for Awards in Childcare and Education) accredited and gives you all the tools you need to be a confident and professional teacher. The amount of work that has gone into developing the award winning Tatty Bumpkin programme is mind blowing; all our classes material are fully aligned up to the goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage. It appeals to all children and is full of such simple ideas it can overflow into everyday life. The children love the sessions, the parents find it useful to spark creative parenting and the Early Years professionals are amazed at how well the programme fits into the curriculum.
The franchise has proven to give me the flexibility I was looking for. I am able to work hours around my children's need and still earn a decent wage. In addition I know that when my children are all at school I can increase my hours and my earnings as there is still a lot of potential for my franchise to grow. Of course it is challenging at times, but because of the nature of the work I feel like I could always do more, but the staff at the Tatty Bumpkin head office are always very supportive and help me achieve my goals. To be honest I also quite like a challenge and would not have found a repetitive occupation very motivating. I have had my franchise for nearly 3 years now, all during the recession and have managed to earn a living without compromising the quality of my family life. I can't wait to see how well we will do when the economic crisis finally ends.
The core of the business is the teaching of lovely yoga inspired classes to babies and children and is extremely rewarding on a daily basis. I found that adapting to this new work comes naturally if you love children, supporting a healthy life-style and have a sense of fun. As a Tatty Bumpkin franchisee you can run your own business and let your inner child run wild at the same time.
My first contact with Tatty Bumpkin was made after reading the tag inside one of their garments of clothing. My little boy loved the clothes and when trying to understand why they were so comfy, I discovered that Tatty Bumpkin classes for children existed. Brilliant I thought, yoga classes were just what I wanted for my children and so I contacted Tatty Bumpkin head office. My delight was soon squashed when I realised that sadly no classes were running in my area. The conversation quickly turned into one which changed my path in life on so many levels. The business was just starting to sell franchise opportunities and from that moment in I was hooked.
I made the enquiry in September 2008 and soon found myself at a Discovery day. I made an immediate decision that I wanted to purchase the regional franchise for Oxford. In truth I had not been looking to return to work at this particular point in my young families life (my children were aged 2 & 3), however, it just felt right and I knew it could work for both myself and Tatty Bumpkin.
The business built quite quickly after an initial marketing push with a general mix of private, nursery and school classes. Time was the definitely the greatest overhead. I was constantly trying to push the name out into the parent network and encourage people that Tatty Bumpkin was a credible alternative to the numerous other children's classes which were available.
Getting a teacher on board was the next crucial step to start expanding the franchise. The business opportunities were there to be realised and had to serviced by reliable professional teachers. Organic growth shifted my focus from private classes to nurseries and schools. It soon became apparent to me that they offered a regular dependable business structure which formed the core of my particular regional franchise.
Tatty Bumpkin is absolutely on trend with the mind set and goals of our national network of children's centres. Our Baby Bumpkin and Tatty Bumpkin classes are a very easy overlay to their existing program which seeks to support positive and nurturing parenting. I soon found myself with young mums, challenged families and special needs groups constantly reinforcing the "fit" which Tatty Bumpkin has with people from all walks of life.
Today, 3 years in, I find my franchise well established, financially delivering and supportive of my young family's lifestyle. Business is out there to be won and the demand for our unique product continues in spite of the constant cries of recession. Hard work, enthusiasm and a genuine interest in working with children has supported the growth of my franchise along with the unquestionable support from Tatty Bumpkin Head Office. A wealth of knowledge, training provision and business acumen continues to drive the brand forward and support the growing franchise network. Tatty Bumpkin's ability to adapt and evolve makes it an exciting franchise to run and I would heartedly recommend it to anyone who wants to become part of an ethical, inspirational business with integrity at its core.