66. Turtle Tots
The unique franchise combining ‘aqua-natal’ fitness for mums with baby and toddler swimming classes
Founders: Gabrielle Lixton and Caroline Sparks
Founded: April 2011 (launched July 2011)
With extensive knowledge and experience in the baby swimming industry, Gabrielle Lixton and Caroline Sparks launched Turtle Tots with the aim to provide pre- and post-natal ‘aqua-yoga’ classes for mums combined with swimming lessons for mums and dads. After realising its market potential, the mumpreneurs decided to licence the start-up and their innovative business model has paid off. Since appearing in our 2012 Startups 100, the brand has won approval as a licensor by Lloyds TSB, enabling the chain to offer business loans to potential franchisees if necessary, which the duo believe will help them double their franchisee numbers by next year. Lixton and Sparks are passionate about growing the Turtle Tots brand and plan to develop office headquarters, along with a pool, to expand their support and training to licencees. With trademarking of the business already underway in the USA, Ireland and Australia, the family-friendly chain is onset to enjoy renewed growth over the next year.