Family so impressed with Ripples they became franchise owners

For Richard and Diane Garnett, their Ripples franchise has become a real family affair since they opened their Newbury showroom in 2006.

Richard and Diane have been joined on Saturdays by Jessica, one of their three children, who is gaining valuable work experience while she studies for her A-Levels, while Diane has moved from the administration aspect of the business to become one of the showroom's designers.

"I have always had a flare for designs and running my own business has given me the confidence to move from the office into dealing with customers in the showroom," explains Diane.

Award-winning designer Gemma Hewick completes the team and has been with Ripples' Newbury showroom since it opened and has proven to be a "fountain of knowledge" for Diane should she ever need any advice or a second opinion about her designs.

Fate seems to have played a hand in Diane and Richard's move into franchising as it was while ordering a new bathroom from Ripples' Oxford showroom that the couple "fell in love with the showroom and staff".

Not long after, Richard was made redundant from his job as European sales manager for a mobile phone company and thought it was the ideal opportunity for him and Diane to start their own business.

"We chose Ripples as we had a passion for interior design," explains Richard, who visited many of Ripples' showrooms to confirm that the franchise was for them.

The couple saw franchising as the best way to start their own business as it had fewer risks and has the support of the franchisor and a network of other franchise owners.

"You still have to be self-sufficient as it's your business, not Ripples. You also have to realise that franchising is not an easy option and still needs lots of sweat and hard work," explains Richard. With their Newbury showroom proving to be a great success, Richard and Diane plan to maximize what they have built up over the last four years and are aiming for a turnover of £600,000 per year. "We are still a relatively new showroom but we are very happy that we are always busy which is immensely satisfying," says Richard.

Reported by Fraser McKay