After being made redundant from her sales role, Lydia decided to pursue a career that offered flexibility and support for a better work-life balance. Franchising seemed like the ideal route, and We Love Pets was the perfect fit for her business aspirations and passion for working with animals.
Why did you choose a franchise over setting up your own business?
I’ve wanted to get into business for a while, and actually used to run my own salon, which I enjoyed. I especially liked the aspect of running my own business and not having to rely on others, but didn’t want to continue in the beauty sector anymore. The pet care industry fit my interests, as I really enjoy walking and being outdoors, and having the support of the franchise network was an added bonus.
Why did you choose WLP?
I did a lot of research into a variety of franchise companies, but when I came across We Love Pets, I really liked the balance it offered between having a support network and allowing some flexibility to do what I like. The more I learned about We Love Pets, the more I liked the ethos and their mission as a company.
Did you look at any other franchises?
Yes I did, actually, and I even messaged a few. Some didn’t get back to me though, and I realised that I wanted to work with a company that treated me the way I would want to be treated as a customer, and I was underwhelmed. We Love Pets, though, felt like looking in the mirror – I just really liked it!
What did the word ‘franchise’ mean to you before you came across We Love Pets?
I was already familiar with franchising, as I have a few friends that are franchise owners in different sectors. From chatting with them, I knew what a franchise entailed, like having the flexibility and support under a branded company. The word ‘franchise’ meant running a business under an established brand, with a name and security behind you.
What was your day to day like in your previous role?
In my previous role I sold cars in an Audi dealership, which consisted of meeting customers in the showroom, booking test drives, making sales and finalising them through paperwork, calls and emails. Unfortunately, I was made redundant in the wake of the pandemic, and found an interim job working with a car financer in their call centre, working to get people financing for purchasing a car.
What was the final straw for leaving your previous job?
The final straw, so to speak, was kind of a combination of events. As a result of the pandemic, my kids were out of school and I needed to be home with them, and also was responsible for tending to my parents and in-laws who were both in high-risk categories. My employer wasn’t particularly understanding of my situation, and wouldn’t allow people to work from home, so it was really straining and forced me to think about finding something different.
How long had you been thinking about changing your career?
I had actually been looking to make a career change since before I was made redundant by the car dealership, as I didn’t enjoy the cutthroat environment of the sales floor. I made decent money, but the culture wasn’t great, and I was ready to find a new position!
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes! We have a 5-month-old Cocker Spaniel called Harley. She’s actually teething at the moment.
What do you love most about your area?
There’s lots to love about Poole & Bournemouth! There are so many lovely places to walk, like Queen’s Park, Hamworthy Park, and Creekmoor Lake, and a few hidden gems to escape to when the tourists flood the coast over the summer.
What have you done in the past that you think will help you in your new venture?
My experience in running the salon will probably be really beneficial as I have experience with recruitment, building a customer base and training employees. And my background in sales will give me the basis for bookkeeping, converting enquiries and successfully selling the services and brand of We Love Pets. I also pride myself on being an effective communicator – I always message people back!
What hobbies do you have?
I have several hobbies actually! I enjoy being outdoors and going for walks, being creative through art and playing the piano, as well as paddleboarding and playing games with my kids, like ‘Among Us.’
Which are your favourite animals?
I would definitely say dogs and cats are my favourites, but I used to ride horses when I was younger and I love horses too. If I had to pick a favourite dog breed, I would say I’m a sucker for Cocker spaniels, like our pup Harley. I have also always thought it would be really cool to own a snake or parrot!
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?
I’m really looking forward to home boarding and walking so I get to interact with as many dogs as possible! What job would be better than playing with puppies and caring for animals?