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Ieva Kellere, Hungary

Before I became a Stenders franchisee I worked as a Bar & Restaurant Manager at Reval hotel in Latvia and was a regular customer of Stenders. I did not intend to invest in a franchise initially. At the time I was moving to Hungary with my fiancé and was looking for a business venture that had connections with both Latvia and Hungary.

I researched different opportunities online and came across an article about Stenders franchising and decided to contact the company's Franchise Manager to schedule a meeting. The thought of working with products I loved that had ties to both Latvia and Hungary seemed an ideal investment.

I launched my franchise in September 2004 and since then I have successfully opened four more stores. Initially I went on a training course to learn the management of the shop inside out. The week I opened my store an experienced shop assistant joined me to help employ and train staff.

For me, the benefit of investing in a Stenders franchise was the training and support package, which included help finding a suitable premises and location, initial and ongoing training and the design of the shop exterior and interior. Everything was in place to run a business, all I needed to do was learn the ropes.

I really enjoy running my own business because I get to make my own decisions, am able to work in a beautiful environment with high quality products and have flexible working hours - I do not have to work a standard nine to five week. In the four years I have operated my franchise I have not been bored!

This year I do not intend to open any more stores, instead I want to focus on keeping my established shops to a high standard and good quality. Long term, I hope to open another three to five shops across Hungary.