Women in franchising – Jan Chidley of Recognition Express

Jan Chidley, 48, was born in New Zealand and first came to England at the age of 21 for a working holiday.

Recognition express

Having been a full-time mum for 18 years providing stability for her children whilst the family travelled Jan decided in June 2008 that it was now her time and she set up Recognition Express Hull and East Riding.

One of the most successful business to business franchises in the UK, Recognition Express operates in a market now worth over £3billion per annum and has become the UK’s leading supplier and manufacturer of corporate and personalised products to businesses.

From business gifts and promotional products to personalised name badges and staff awards to the comprehensive selection of branded corporate clothing and extensive schoolwear collection the Recognition Express range is huge.

Recognition Express has a proven record of trust and success

  • bfa Franchise of the Year 2003
  • Over 30 years experience and profitability
  • Continued growth and business development
  • Full bfa member since 1980
  • Europe’s number one industry provider

Jan takes up the story

“I had a business back in New Zealand with my father, growing apples.  We sold it and I decided I wanted to do something in the UK now that my family are nearly all grown up.  I like the idea of doing something that is my own business but where I am supported.”  “My husband, Chris, is the CEO of a large nationwide franchise, Driver Hire, and I could see the benefits of being a part of a franchise.

“Nigel Toplis and the team are very supportive, there is a wide range of good quality products and hence a broad range of potential customers, and the business model is sound”.  “My husband Chris was aware of Recognition Express and had met Nigel on several occasions.  We both felt that Recognition Express was the right sort of business for me.”

Although Jan is the sole franchisee, husband Chris has been a big support along with the Recognition Express head office staff.  “The business is growing nicely each month and we are picking up new customers all the time.  We are building up a good loyal customer base.” explains Jan, who continues  “I have a real feeling of achievement with what I have done so far but look forward to growing year on year and creating a booming business that I can be proud of.  It is not always plain sailing but with the support of the franchisor and my family I feel we shall succeed.”

Asked what advice Jan would give other women (or men for that matter!) thinking of starting their own business, Jan is very clear.

“It is hard work, with a lot of commitment required, but if you get it right it is extremely satisfying.  It is all about meeting people on a regular basis, forming good relationships and being able to deliver the end product.”  “Having my own business gives me flexibility around my home life, however it is important to remain focused on the business and to continue to put in the time required to keep things on the up.”

But would she recommend franchising to other women?

“I would.  Whilst you have to do your homework before signing on the dotted line you should be buying into a proven business model.  For busy women this can be an appealing option.”  “When you go into a franchise, you need to be sure it’s a business you can trust, with a proven track record.  With Recognition Express you can be part of a major success story.”

Further information:

Investment level: £35,000 + VAT

Business type: Business to Business

Franchise Contact: Emma Downes

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James Coombs

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