For husband and wife duo, Gabby & Dave, the thought of owning a We Love Pets franchise had been in the back of their minds for years. Finally fed up with the inflexibility of Dave’s schedule, and desperate to regain a work-life balance, they decided now was the time to follow their career dream!
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
Well, we knew a little bit about franchising and knew that joining a franchise offered a lot of security – as opposed to going into business on your own. Knowing that we weren’t in it on our own, and that it would fit around our family was what really drew us to it. Plus, we were familiar with We Love Pets and felt like it was such a great opportunity; more like joining a family than a network!
Why did you choose WLP?
Jo and I actually went to university together, where we became good friends, so I’ve really seen We Love Pets grow over the years! The choice was a no brainer when we decided to pursue a franchise. Dave and I love the ethos of the company, really enjoy working with animals, and feel really lucky to be a part of it all.
Did you look at any other franchises?
Nope, we didn’t need to.
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
I learned about franchise models while studying for my business degree, so I was pretty familiar with the concept and what it entailed. But for Dave, it’s a totally new world!
What was your day to day like in your previous role, and why did you decide to switch paths?
I’ve been a project manager for the past 16 years, with three large projects on the go currently. I work for a company that administers international exams, so my tasks include coordinating and scheduling the exams, managing a team and recently have involved moving everything online. Covid has presented us with massive challenges, and really changed the way we work! Dave has worked on railways since he was 18, and never knows what his shift may bring. He works a mixture of day and night shifts, which means we have very little flexibility in our life – everything revolves around his schedule. We figured that surely life can be better than this.
How long had you been thinking about changing your career?
This has kind of been in the pipeline for a long time – I can remember having chats with Jo about launching a franchise from 7 years ago when I was pregnant! But the timing wasn’t ever quite right. Originally, I had been thinking about the franchise as a career change for myself, but with the inflexibility of Dave’s job it began to appeal to us as a joint effort. Now that the children are older and in school full-time, it seemed like the perfect time to get stuck in.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes! We have a 12 year old Beagle/Jack Russell cross called Basil.
What do you love most about your area?
We live in a village just 4-5 miles outside of Cambridge, and it is so lovely. We’re just as close to the city as we are to gorgeous countryside, and there’s even a nature reserve that borders our village. It’s been a great place for the children to grow up, and perfect for walking Basil.
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
I think my background as a project manager has given me some really insightful experience into managing a team and fielding an array of tasks. In my job you have to prepare yourself for anything and know that each day is going to be totally different. You can have a plan for your day, and it go totally out the window! So, my ability to adapt and stay organised will benefit me. Plus, I’m accustomed to working with a variety of people in different roles, so I feel prepared to work with customers and our branch team. Dave has worked in the railway industry for the past 37 years, and the majority of this has been in a supervisory role within high pressure rapid response. Signaling faulting teams with lots of varied and interesting scenarios to be dealt with and deadlines to meet.
What hobbies do you have?
We both love walking and cycling, and we’re so lucky that our area is perfect for both! We also enjoy working with young people, years ago Gabby was a youth worker and now she volunteers with the local Beavers colony. Dave plays cricket with the local cricket club and also volunteers with the youth development side of the club as well.
What’s an interesting/fun fact about yourself?
I love to travel, and ironically I travelled around Australia on my own when I was younger, visiting more places than Dave has ever been, even though he’s from Sydney! Again Ironically Dave has probably seen more of Europe as he has travelled extensively throughout!
Which are your favourite animals?
I think dogs have to be my favourite, but I also really like goats! My nephew and his wife live on a farm and breed goats and they’re so much fun to visit. I love horses as well, and Dave & the kids love all kinds of animals too. Dave used to own a parrot (Cockatiel) and has had several cats and dogs over the years.
What’s your biggest achievement in life?
There’s a few:
When I was a youth worker, I worked with five really difficult to reach young people, and I can remember that it took them a long time to trust me. But later one of them went on to train as a youth worker themselves, and it was really impactful that it came around full circle.
Dave lists his greatest achievements as having trained and mentored several younger, inexperienced colleagues to see them achieve quite high levels in Railway Signaling careers as well as having his own successful Railway Signaling career in 2 different countries.
We both also consider our children as two of our biggest achievements, as well as getting through the pandemic and balancing Dave’s work – especially last summer.
What do you think will be the best part of your job as a We Love Pets franchisee owner and what are you most looking forward to?
So many things! But we’re really looking forward to meeting the other franchisees, doing something that’s going to be ours and having the opportunity to work for ourselves, as well as meeting new people and getting to work with/see animals all the time!