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“I went from investment banking to investing in myself and my future”

Penny Gilbert Creation Station Franchise owner in OxfordCreation-Station 2016 logo - RGB - for AE


“I wasn’t really enjoying my work for an investment bank so I decided to look into the options of running my own franchise.  I wanted to use my skills to run my own business, and also benefit from the reassurance of a tried and tested business model. With so many franchise options available I decided to look at what I enjoyed doing and use this as a guide to help identify the type of opportunity that would work best for me.

Nicki 035As a volunteer in Brownies and Guides I’ve always loved running activities and working with children, so this seemed like a good place to start. I explored a number of franchise options that would enable me to maintain my own personal values and fit within my family commitments.

I came across ‘The Creation Station’ online and it immediately jumped right out at me. I couldn’t quite believe that it would really be possible to run a business doing what I love! I could also bring my daughter along to the classes too and have much more time with her. This all added up to reduced childcare costs, more time with my daughter and doing something I loved with lots of great support! It just seemed to have my name written all over it!

PENNY Smiles of Success: Penny picks up the award of 'Best Franchise Owner of the Year 2016'

Smiles of success: Penny picks up the award of Best Franchise Owner of the Year 2016


That was 5 years ago, I’ve since had our second daughter and I took 6 months off. The team at Head. Office have really supported me though my journey which even includes me speaking on BBC Oxford radio.I was thrilled to be awarded the prestigious title of Best Franchise Owner of the Year in the2016 awards from of our team of 97 franchisees.

 My life now has all the things I want, believe in and all that value. I absolutely love running my own award winning Creation Station franchise. I am able to balance my home life with our youngest and my 8yr old without giving up my rewarding business. By investing in a brand I believe in and investing in myself, I have been able to make a lifestyle choice that ticks all the boxes for my family's future. Our Founder, Sarah Cressall is a pure inspiration as she is committed to building strong working relationships within the network and the whole of the head office team are just as dedicated and passionate about each individual Franchise Owner's business. This has really helped me to maximize potential opportunities, develop personally and to help me be in control of my working life and be there for my family commitments”


If Penny’s story has inspired you to consider running your own successful Creation Station franchise then request your free information pack.



fr Penny circle






Fun facts about Penny



Tell us about a challenge you have overcome.

“I recently completed the London Marathon 2016 which was amazing!”

What is your favourite food?



What makes you smile the most?



What would be your ideal day?

“I’d say a spa morning, drinking bubbles, lunch with my nearest and dearest and then partying the night away with friends”


What is your favourite book?

“The Davinci Code”


What do you love most about working with The Creation Station?

“Support from Head Office, the network…and glitter!” 


What do you really dislike?

“Rude people”



What people say

Excellent 4.9/5

7290 reviews on Trustpilot

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20th Apr

My child had a great time at the space…

My child had a great time at the space themed creation station with Alexis at Betley School! Thank you so much! :)

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19th Apr

Thank you for inclusive, fun and engaging intergenerational workshops Alix!

Thank you to Alix for the fantastic intergenerational workshops she ran for us at Sussex Housing & Care last week. Residents at Saxonwood care home in Battle and Oakwood Court care home, Haywards Heath connected with relatives, staff, families and children. The experience was very enlightening and emotional. The activity was designed to be inclusive, fun and encourage interaction, building on the positive resources that young and older people have to offer each other and those around them. But little did we know how captivating this latest venture would turn out to be! We have had amazing feedback from all involved. A relative said “Thanks for a lovely event, it was great to chat and to see everyone”. Evelyn and Peggy, residents at Oakwood Court, joined up with Evelyn’s grand daughters Hannah aged 2 and Isabelle, 13 who tuned into the workshop from home on zoom. Evelyn even said during the session “We need this!”. Lots of fun and belly laughter was enjoyed by all as we created our portraits and connected with relatives. Care assistant Charley added, “it was lovely to be part of and we look forward to running more intergenerational workshops in the future”. Thank you for all the fun and enthusiasm and your hard work in pulling it all together Alix; the collages and experience was amazing! Fingers crossed for the world record!

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19th Apr

Very well run course

The course was absolutely brilliant and efficiently run. My daughter really loved the amount of different mediums she was able to create with and the fact the some of her creations are able to continue growing at home!! Looking forward to the summer course!

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18th Apr

We had a lovely afternoon making slime…

We had a lovely afternoon making slime and experimenting what we could do with it. Kelly was a fabulous host and we received a warm welcome. Would definitely recommend The Creation Station classes to others.

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18th Apr

Messy fun a great time.

Messy fun a great time.

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18th Apr

great time

We loved our session last week doing hand and footprints. it is perfect for arty/creative mums wanting to get their baby into crafts as early as possible! cant wait to come back!

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16th Apr

Slime making and more - Easter holiday

This was a great session led by Alix via Zoom. Started with silk clay making keyrings and more and then finished with slime. Excitement started with box of goodies arriving in the post before the event. Everything was provided so really easy. On the day loads of interaction with every child on the Zoom call. We will definitely do it again with Alix. Thank you so much!

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16th Apr

A fantastic few days for my daughter

A fantastic few days for my daughter. She loves Emma and everything they did - came home full of beans!

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15th Apr

Fantastic class for babies and…

Fantastic class for babies and toddlers! Great for development and lovely class leader!

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15th Apr

Well organised ascusual and Eva was…

Well organised ascusual and Eva was really happy to tell me what a fantastic day it was. Really lovely to hear that she was able to do something with new friends.