Helen & Derek

COVID Halted Our Wedding - So We Bought A Franchise Instead

Having postponed their wedding twice due to the pandemic, Helen Jennings and Derek Brown focused on their other life-long dream of opening their own franchise business.

After their wedding was postponed for the second time in 2021, the couple from West Sussex decided to temporarily halt their plans and focus on embarking on another new adventure – opening a franchise.

Having carved out an impressive career in interior design in the kitchen and bathroom industry, Helen had always dreamed of opening her own interiors showroom. After finding out about Ripples franchise opportunities via LinkedIn, Helen signed up to open a Ripples showroom in 2021, alongside her partner Derek who boasts an equally impressive 15-year career in operations within the interiors space.

Starting A New Business

Whilst the showroom was being kitted out – a slower than anticipated process due to various lockdowns – Helen and Derek undertook extensive product training with Ripples suppliers, ensuring they had in-depth knowledge of the products that make up the Ripples collection. They also spent time at Ripples Head Office in Bath, learning the processes and procedures that underpin the award-winning franchise business and gaining valuable experience from more established Ripples franchisees who guided them from the showroom floor.

After another lockdown or two, Helen and Derek were finally able to open their showroom doors in April 2021. Since opening, Ripples Chichester has grown rapidly, developing sales to the point that they are currently looking for a full-time bathroom designer to support Helen and grow the business further.

“Building a new showroom and business through lockdown has thrown many challenges and obstacles but if I were asked would I do it again, the answer is yes. Exciting times ahead!” – Helen Jennings

Choosing The Right Location For The Ripples Franchise

Born and bred in West Sussex, Helen was confident that Chichester would be ideal location for a new Ripples showroom, with a demographic perfectly suited to the design service and products offered by the franchise. After finding the ideal retail space in the heart of Chichester’s shopping district, Helen and Derek set to work on creating their new showroom. The couple were not only assisted by a number of banks, but they also received support from Ripples suppliers who ensured they had the products required to create the showroom they had dreamed of. Working closely alongside a specialist retail architect, Helen and Derek began to scope out the showroom space, planning an impressive 14 displays featuring dozens of stunning products to inspire their soon-to-be customers and showcase the very best of what Ripples offers. Work quickly got underway to build-out the product displays as well as plenty of space to interact with customers, including a collaborative area to share designs, moodboards and samples with customers.

“Building a new showroom and business through lockdown has thrown many challenges and obstacles but if I were asked would I do it again, the answer is yes. Exciting times ahead!” – Helen Jennings

“Building a new showroom and business through lockdown has thrown many challenges and obstacles but if I were asked would I do it again, the answer is yes.”

Helen Jennings, Ripples Chichester

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