Company Director

Name: Colette

Job Title: Company Director

What exactly is that?

I run a franchise of Gymboree Play & Music and set up my own limited company Seven Ways to Play to trade from.

How did you get there?

I have worked for Gymboree for 12 years, starting as a teacher a the Bayswater branch, going in to be their manager then moving the the states where I was a Gymboree teacher in Philadelphia. Moved back to the UK and set myself up as a cover teacher in London and Kent and kept saying that if I had a Gymboree I would run this differently than I found in the various sites so when moving to Sevenoaks we realised there wasn’t a local franchise so decide to open one up ourselves.

Describe a typical day for you

I currently work on-site teaching 3 days a week. This changes periodically as it depends how many staff members I have at any particlar time as to how many hours I have to be on-site. Currently I have a staff member on maternity leave so I am working more than I would like to. Mondays and Tuesdays are my “days off” but with two small children and a business this is not strictly adhered to! I’m up at 7am, breakfast is a protein shake (I don’t have time for food that needs to be chewed) and we’re out the door by 8:30am. I drop my son to school then usually pop into the site to drop off washing, drop off/pick up paperwork and other various bits. Then I’ll entertain my daughter for the morning (sometime with a Gymboree class) before heading home to do some work in my office.

I’ll put a film on for my daughter so I can catch up on emails. These will consist of anything from member queries that I am not comfortable with my staff dealing with, to setting up free demo sessions for local nurseries and playgroups as a means of advertising. I’ll pay a few bills, check my cash flow for the month and other bits and pieces depending on how much time I’ve got and what point of the month I’m in!

Wednesday – Friday I’m on-site and this will consist of teaching for half the day split with my staff member, and doing admin, answering the phone, dealing with enquiries and member issues etc. If I’ve got my daily tasks I’ll also plan lessons, shop for props for class and retail to sell, or maybe construct the monthly newsletter.

I have to leave at around 3pm to pick up my son and drop him home where my mum or mother in law will be babysitting my daughter, and then head back to work for the final hour and finish at 5pm. I’m lucky that my business is based locally (a 5 minute drive) and that as I’m the boss I can nip in and out if necessary to sort the children out. Many people with regular jobs don’t have that luxury. I am a member of a local choir and I swim twice a week so I am able to make time for myself as well as run my house and business.

What’s the best thing about what you do?

Freedom to spend time with my children (if I have enough staff!)

What’s the one thing you would change if you could?

To make more money! We are currently turning a small profit, but after 5 years of struggling to get it off the ground and with a huge investment made it would be nice to have a bit more cash in return! I would also like to open a second franchise at some point so will need some decent figures to persuade my other half!

Tell us about one thing you were insecure about when you were at school?

I was bullied at school, so was insecure about a lot of things. In retrospect I hung around with the wrong people (the cool crowd) and I was never good enough for them. They saw me as a good way to have a laugh, and still to this day don’t see they did anything wrong (I have had NUMEROUS conversations about it). So I didn’t do anything about it but it made me who I am today and I now know which people and situations to avoid that won’t be positive for me.

What would you tell yourself at 18 if you could?

That’s a tricky one as at 18 I was doing what I wanted to do (performing at college) and was already with the man I was going to marry (9 years later), so things were pretty good! Perhaps I might advise myself to be a little better with money. I didn’t have much to spend in those days, but any spare cash I had would be gone very quickly! It would be amazing to go back and tell myself I really don’t need those cherry red doc martens and to save the money for the future instead!

What’s your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

Singing, swimming, spending time with my family.

What’s the title of the last book you read?

Hunger Games trilogy although I barely get a chance to read these days.

Please share with us one beauty tip

Don’t pick your spots! Although I still do!

Please share one money tip you have learned

You only need one of everything. No need for two pairs of black jeans etc , save your money for something else!

Please share one life lesson with us you have learned

Family is the most important thing.

Tell us about your favourite recent purchase for £25 or under

I love to cook and recently got a set of electronic scales which have changed my life’

How can people contact you for more info?

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