People’s Champion Finalist: Puddle Ducks (West Hertfordshire)
Does this swimming academy for children and mums-to-be have what it takes to win your vote?
Start-up name: Puddle Ducks West Hertfordshire, Luton and Dunstable
Founder: Ravneet Bermi
Started in: 2014
Based in: St. Albans
Business description: A swimming academy franchise for children and expectant mothers
The Puddle Ducks story:
After over a decade in business development Ravneet Bermi launched her Puddle Ducks franchise in 2014, in part so that she could spend more time with her children.
Inspired after taking her own daughter to baby swimming, the Bermi bought into the brand and was the only teacher running 12 classes across three venues each week when she started.
Now Bermi operates a team of seven, which includes three instructors, a marketer, administrator and two poolside assistants. She runs 42 weekly swimming classes across six different venues. The franchisee admits the business “has grown quicker than anticipated” after doubling her predicted first-year customer target, which saw her end the year with 229 clients.
Up until January, Puddle Ducks West Hertfordshire, Luton and Dunstable only catered for babies and young children. It offered specialised swimming training and focused heavily on ‘survival skills’ for older children.
However as part of her long-term growth plan, Bermi launched an Aquanatal programme for expectant mothers which provides a combination of relaxation and cardiovascular exercises to help prepare the body for labour. According to Bermi this enables her to “capture people early” and increase customer retention rates.
The female entrepreneur has big plans for the future which include expanding into London, and launching a local baby fair to increase her brand’s profile as well as a swim academy for children aged between four and 10.
Why Puddle Ducks made our 60:
From customer to franchisee Ravneet Bermi typifies the business owner who exudes passion for what they do. Still a relatively new franchisee her Puddle Ducks branch doubled first-year turnover, leading to the employment of seven people – a great achievement in a short time set to continue next year.