Established in 1980, Poppies is a brand with a unique heritage and is proud to have been the UK’s first ever domestic cleaning franchise. Now, thanks to the passion and commitment of long-standing franchisee-turned-franchisor, Chris Wootton, the franchise is set to bloom once more.
“Buying the Poppies franchise has been a dream of mine for over a decade; I absolutely love this business,” says Chris. “I worked closely with our founder, Sue Rorstad, for many years - she was my franchisor, my mentor and, later, my great friend until her untimely death in 2015. With the support and blessing of her family, I’m incredibly proud to be able to give Poppies a new lease of life. This is a highly respected and extremely successful brand. I’m determined to put the franchise back on the map – where it belongs!”
Chris, who launched his own Poppies cleaning franchise in 1996, brings over 23 years’ knowledge and experience to his new role as franchisor. Crucially, he retains ownership of his West Lancashire franchise – a distinct USP for the brand and an ongoing benefit for both his fellow franchisees and the next generation of Poppies franchise owners.
“I’ve seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t, and I’ve been able to use my experience to fill the gaps that I saw as a franchisee. In actual fact, the last twelve months have been spent developing the brand ready for its next phase of life. The goal wasn’t to instantly recruit franchisees but rather to invest in the business and create the best possible environment for all franchisees to succeed. We’re ready – it’s time!”
As a franchisee, Chris knows only too well that Poppies has a strong team culture. But since his takeover of the brand, fellow franchisees have rallied round like never before to help bring the business to life. Together with their new leader, the network has helped to develop innovative business systems, a customised technology platform and an intricate support infrastructure to benefit new franchisees as they are welcomed into the fold.
As well as updates to internal systems and technological advancements - including a bespoke App for franchise staff and clients - Poppies have firmly planted themselves in the 21st century with a fresh new look. “We may be approaching our 40th birthday and be the oldest cleaning franchise in the UK, but we’re every inch the modern, professional brand,” says Chris. The refreshed Poppies branding, whilst still instantly recognisable thanks to its vibrant red blooms, now reflects the prestige of the company. Franchisees old and new will also reap the benefits of an updated website, marketing collateral and a social media presence, all of which have been strategically redesigned with target audiences firmly in mind.
The first Poppies franchise was launched in 1984. Today, the 22-stong franchise network cleans over 6000 homes every week across the length and breadth of the UK and boasts an impressive turnover of more than £5million. Franchisees have the opportunity to build a truly flexible business as both lifestyle, single and multi-territory ‘empire-builder’ options are supported by the franchisor. One thing’s for sure, with an industry worth £4.7billion in the palms of its hands, Poppies is ready to take 2020 by storm.
“My aim is to double to size of the network in the next four years; welcoming new franchisees from all walks of life, each with their own individual aspirations, into the business. Poppies is a truly home-grown business, designed and built in the UK - I’m excited to be the one who is introducing it back to the market.”