Ripples franchise owners' double delight

Colin and Claire Payne have been laying the foundations for a successful business since taking on leading bathroom retailer Ripples' Tunbridge Wells franchise in 2007

Such is the couple's high regard of the Ripples' package and the success at their first showroom, they bought its Brighton franchise last year and were delighted how their dream of running their own business has become reality.

"I had been a manager at a builders merchant for a number of years which opened my eyes to bathroom design. Having been made redundant from a previous job I had always planned on running my own business and had initially looked at opening my own showroom," explains Colin.

"However, that would have meant taking lots of risks and finding it difficult to get the bathrooms I wanted on display. I had seen an advert for Ripples and found myself returning to it again and again so decided to call them. After speaking to Managing Director Paul Crow, I discovered that we were on the same plane when it came to a business model and arranged to meet."

That meeting left Colin with the feeling that Ripples really cared about their franchise owners, so he and Claire, who manages the accounting and office side of their two showrooms, became franchise owners of the Tunbridge Wells showroom.

Colin explains that Ripples aims to drive customers to their franchise owner's showrooms so regularly places advertisements in newspapers such as The Times and The Telegraph and magazines including Homes And Gardens.

After an initial two-week training period covering how the franchise operates its showrooms, Ripples continues supporting and updating its franchise owners.

"Paul Crow and Chief Executive Roger Kyme regularly visit us and they organise conferences and other opportunities at which franchise owners can meet up and share their knowledge," says Colin. Becoming Ripples franchise owners has also enabled Colin and Claire to support the communities. Ripples' Tunbridge Wells showroom sponsors a squash team and Ripples' Brighton donated a hamper for a raffle to aid The Rocking Horse chairty for children. While the couple are organising a fashion show and raffle in the Tunbridge Wells showroom in June to raise funds for a locally based charity.

Colin and Claire, who employ seven staff across their two showrooms are pleased with the way their franchise is going but advise potential franchise owners that success takes a lot of work. "With confidence, determination and planning the results are rewarding," says Colin. "Just don't expect Ripples to run your showroom - you must always remember you are running your own independent business."

Reported by Fraser Mckay