Read Annes story…
I was a teacher for a long time (32 years, yikes!). I taught Design and Technology and Art from 7 years to 18 years. Most of my time has been spent in UK but I also taught in Belgium and Malaysia as well as a short stint in Norway.
Previous to teaching I gained a degree in Marketing and worked for a blue-chip company for a couple of years. I also ran my own part-time business so I’ve enjoyed a great range of different roles and job.
Why did you want to work for yourself?
I previously ran a catering company alongside my teaching, travelling around in a small van serving crepes at events and weddings. It was always inevitable that I would consider another business of my own. My marketing and business background has always been an underlying feature of how I operate and when I got the chance to drop down to part-time teaching I thought I would use this time as an opportunity to get started on something exciting.
Tell us about who’s in your life
I met my husband Alan in the sixth form at school. We both ended up both becoming design teachers so it was always on the cards that we would raise a fairly creative family. Despite being told we would never have children, we now have three in their twenties. Luke is 26 and is a freelance artist enjoying international success, Chloe is 24 and has a successful career working as an Occupational Therapist and Milly is 21 and has just finished her training to go and work on the superyachts.
Why did you decide to buy a franchised business?
Having some level of security was important to me. I have run a sole trader business before and it can be a fairly lonely venture. Being part of a leading franchise not only gives a business more marketing clout through national branding and a vast support network but having the day-to-day support of such a large team is hugely motivational.
What attracted you to The Creation Station?
I had looked at the business originally ten years ago when we relocated back to the UK from Belgium but it wasn’t the right time for me. At the time my youngest daughter was very ill at the time suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MS) and I was her carer. Years later when I started exploring ideas it was fantastic to see that Creation Station not only was still providing a first-class service but it had flourished. A creative opportunity was definitely something that I needed after years spent working within teaching and it seemed the ideal business to inspire imaginations.
How did you finance your business?
Taking early retirement meant I received a lump sum from my Teacher’s Pension which I invested part of this into Creation Station.
What areas do you operate?
I cover a gorgeous and largely rural area called Cheshire West. My home town is Tarporley which in essence acts as the hub. My area also extends to Chester, a better-known town but serendipity strikes as it also contains the districts where I was born, where my parents live and where both sets of my grandparents also lived. So, it feels like my life has come full circle.
What were the barriers you had to overcome before you made the decision to invest? EG Family, Cost, Fears
Starting up does require a decent level of courage and self-belief. My husband was hugely supportive (I must have been driving him mad at home!). All of my children thought I would be very well suited and that it was a great idea, so their encouragement certainly spurred me on.
What were your feelings when you attended a Discovery Event
It was a great chance to find out more about The Creation Station. It was very open and transparent. I spoke to people who were genuinely interested in finding out about me. It was a fantastic opportunity to ask lots of probing questions and nothing was off limits.
What did you think about the training and the support you have received?
All of this has been second to none! My husband frequently comments on how helpful everyone has been in helping me get started. There are so many strands of support available that you know whatever time of day (or night!) there is always someone who will answer a random message.
Can you give a specific story about why you think creativity is important, or why you feel Creation Station is great at delivering creativity?
When my children were all little they had to wait in our design department until we had finished for the day. Naturally we provided them with lots of materials to keep them occupied and as they have progressed through teens and into adult life creativity is a central aspect of all of their lives. Making things together as a family has really connected us as there is nothing we enjoy more than working on a big project together.
What do you love about running your own Creation Station
Having recently moved back to my home area after many years away, I am really enjoying meeting lots more people and helping them explore their own creative journey. Since starting, I have LOVED providing so many creative activities in after school clubs, helping parents provide the best birthday parties ever and working with organisers to tailor activities to their events. Every day brings something new.
I’m also very proud that I have ran kids zone for CarFest North in 2021 and 2022 alongside my husband Alan (who is always on hand to help. Also my artist son Luke was also exhibiting at the event and we ended up being right next to each other so it was a real family affair.