Mumpreneur of the Year 2013
Caroline Sparks and Gabrielle Lixton of Turtle Tots
Co-founders: Caroline Sparks and Gabrielle Lixton
Year Started: 2011
Created by busy mums for mums, Turtle Tots is a swimming programme, which begins during pregnancy with aqua-natal yoga, and continues once the baby is born with specialist baby and toddler swimming classes.
A license business, Turtle Tots has scaled quickly with 308 territories across the UK and has recently extended its trademark to Australia and Ireland with plans underway to trademark in America. Its model has proved just as attractive to customers; over 2,000 people have attended its classes and it boasts an impressive customer retention rate, growing by 25 to 30% every quarter.
In recent months the ‘aqua-natal’-come-swimming franchise has received licensor approval from Lloyds TSB to enable it to provide business loans to prospective licensees if necessary, a move which Sparks and Lixton predict will see licencee numbers double over the next year.
Returning as a second-time finalist, Caroline and Gabrielle are proof that persistence pays off. Combining their dedication to their young families with operating a highly successful licensee model, Turtle Tots already operates in 37 territories with 22 licensees and has clear plans for growth in Australia and other major markets. Judges feel sure the business is going places.