Over five years ago, Tracey left her job in Corporate Communications because it was making her ill. She was passing out every other day, exhausted, stressed and could no longer drive as a result. Things had to change and her health had to start coming first. Tracey’s work-life balance needed to be restored so she quit her 9-5, became a We Love Pets franchisee, and hasn’t looked back:
“Work-life balance achieved! I’m not saying it’s easy, and I work at weird hours, but it’s the best job ever and I wouldn’t change it for the world!” Tracey says.
Today Tracey is healthy, happy and has started her own family too. She enjoys the opportunity that owning a pet care franchise gives you to breathe in the fresh air, work flexible hours and spend time with animals you love.
Tracey embodies everything that We Love Pets is all about. She runs a high performing branch, is liked and trusted by everyone, but she also because performs a vital support function in our ever expanding network. It’s no surprise she won Most Supportive Franchisee 2019 (voted for by our franchisees at our Annual Conference) for all the work she does to help onboard new franchisees. In fact, we’ve made meeting Tracey part of our recruitment process as an extra layer of due diligence. Tracey even converted one of her customers into our first Welsh franchisee. In short, Tracey’s opinion matters to us.
Tracey comes to head office at least once a month to get involved and share ideas and twice a year she organises and facilitates the Franchisee Council, now in its second year. Tracey is the ideal franchisee to take our best ideas and present them to the network for consultation because if anyone can help franchisees adjust to a changing landscape and innovation, it’s Tracey. And if the council are still unsure, she’ll pilot ideas in her own branch to show how they could work.
“From the start I found myself really loving what We Love Pets is all about and admiring everything that Jo, Ryan and the team do. I always wanted to contribute in a bigger way to the company than just being a franchisee and working hard at it, so to be involved with head office is really rewarding for me and I hope I’m making a difference with the support I try to offer other franchisees.” Tracey says.
When Tracey joined We Love Pets back in August 2014 as the Reading East branch owner, she was 32 years old, had a new fiancé and sleep was something she took for granted. About a year into owning her new business, Tracey and her new husband Rob, (also a busy business owner) had their first baby, William. Franchising meant that Tracey could have it all and now William is nearly three, Tracey is still able to spend time with her son and work hard on the business. A balance that wouldn’t have been possible in her previous corporate role.
“After having William and keeping things steady for a while to get settled into ‘new life’ (!) I realised I wanted to, and had the capacity to, push the business and grow again. With a lot of support from head office I have increased my turnover by around a steady £2.5k per month in just over a year, and I’m ready with a great team in place to keep going now.”
Like all great leaders, Tracey attributes a lot of success to her team. With excellent planning and support from her team and neighbouring branches when needed, Tracey was able to take that valuable time off when she had her baby and build a work life balance that suited her without having to scale back.
Having a baby suddenly changes everything in your life and sadly, so can the loss of a loved one. Tracey has also had some difficult personal times after joining We Love Pets with her mum dying of cancer at only 60 and caring for her nan who also passed away just 9 months later. Thanks to fantastic relationships with her customers and a brilliant team, Tracey was able to spend time with her family when it mattered most and keep her business running effectively. Her branch even managed to grow during that time.
“I feel that my biggest ongoing achievement is my team. They are all – every single one of them – amazing! They regularly go over and above, are super flexible and just want to do a good job for our customers and We Love Pets. Four of them have been with me for 4.5/5 years, which is probably quite unusual in a role like theirs. They’re really committed and make my life so much easier! And I’m confident that they are living the brand values and getting We Love Pets noticed for the right reasons locally.” Tracey says.
Tracey has the most loyal team of 10 people because she looks after and motivates them so well. Her team won the Annual Staff Award last year and they regularly get together socially. Tracey’s branch is strong and growing so much that she has also just recruited a manager so that she can maintain that work-life balance that’s so important to her and be an integral part of the management team for We Love Pets at HQ.