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Teacher wins major business award after pandemic taught her a lesson


A former deputy head teacher who set up a cleaning business just before the pandemic struck has won a major industry award.

Alison Chilvers, the owner of Bright & Beautiful Ipswich, has walked away with a Great British Franchisee Award from whichfranchise – one of the greatest honour in the franchising world.

“From the moment we first spoke to Alison, it was crystal clear she had the attitude, determination and people skills to run a Bright & Beautiful business,” says Jo Vorwerg, the network’s Managing Director.

“Her background as a deputy head at a senior school held her in great stead for organising teams, quoting and winning new work, marketing her business locally and taking care of the all important numbers. This partnership was meant to be!

“She’s already our third biggest franchise owner, showing that hard work and following the proven business model pays off.

“And her bounce-back since our industry had to fully close for a few months during the pandemic is more than impressive – it’s a testament to her resilience, strength of character, and work ethic.”

With two offices, 19 employees, and five vehicles on the road, Alison has generated such a demand for her services that there is now a five to six-week waiting list.

“We were not able to clean in people’s homes for several months during the pandemic, but despite that I achieved profitable trading in 2022,” she says.

“The hardest part was calling myself a business owner and believing I could really do this. That’s where being part of a franchise makes all the difference.

“My business had just started to really take off in February 2020, so to hear that we’d have to close in March 2020 came as a huge shock.

“I honestly thought that was it and I’d have to give up my dream, but I didn’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity for too long and threw myself instead into making sure that my business would bounce back bigger and stronger.

“I used the time to become a cleaning expert, networking and quoting via WhatsApp videos. It was amazing how many people soon got fed up with cleaning their own homes after the novelty wore off - and especially when they had to work at home and home-school their children!

“Being very ambitious, I became the fastest- growing franchisee despite the pandemic and in 2021 I was awarded a prize for having the third highest network turnover.

“We have new areas within our territory we haven’t moved into yet and therefore lots of potential and my aim is to be the biggest premium domestic cleaning company in Suffolk.

“We’re not ‘just cleaners’. We are professional housekeepers and we change lives. A client contacted me in a panic because his father was moving house, had contracted Covid and the removals company refused to enter the house unless it had been fogged.

“It was one of the snowiest weekends in Suffolk, but we rallied around and cleaned and sanitised the house on the Sunday, nearly getting snowed in, so the removals were able to access the house on the Monday.

“I invested in a franchise so I could be part of a team - and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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