Claire O'Connor with her family
Babyballet founder, Claire O’Connor, is looking to expand her franchise business and introduce it to new countries across the globe.
Claire came is now travelling the world with her family after creating a ‘family wish list’ of places to visit, combined with ideal locations to set up new franchises for babyballet such as Canada, America and Japan.
Now in Toronto, where her husband Chris works with a rugby team, the mum-of-four is actively looking for opportunities to set up franchises in Canada.
Claire and Chris are home schooling the children during their 12-month travels. Their eldest son Harry has remained in the UK to continue his university studies.
Headquartered in Halifax, West Yorkshire, babyballet is one of the fastest growing franchise businesses in the UK. It was founded in 2005 to create a dance experience for six months to six-year-olds to dance, gain confidence and shine, in a fun, caring and supportive environment, away from the traditional strict and serious classes often associated with ballet.
With 74 franchises currently in the UK, Claire successfully expanded the business into Australia and New Zealand last year, establishing 33 new franchises down under with more in the pipeline. Over 25,000 children now enjoy babyballet on both sides of the world every week.
Claire, said: “The successful expansion of the business into Australia and New Zealand made me realise that if I can do it there, I can do it anywhere in the world. With Chris already in Toronto, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to join him and look into expanding over there, as well as other countries.
“It’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime and will enable me to take babyballet across the globe and build the brand on an international level. I can’t wait to meet dance school owners and teachers who are keen to bring babyballet to children in their local areas.
“Being able to involve our children is amazing and they are so excited to go, learn and experience new things. It’s not going to be an easy ride, but we’re all in it together and can’t wait to set off.”
Claire and the babyballet brand have won numerous awards including ITV Mumpreneur, Best Business Parent at the Mum and Working Awards, Halifax Courier Young Business Person (2007) and Entrepreneur (2008). Claire also featured in a Channel 4 documentary ‘Big Ballet’ exploring issues of size in the world of ballet.
Claire has set up a blog (livingourglobaldream.com) where you can follow her and her family’s adventures over the next 12 months, as she takes the next step in turning babyballet into a world-renowned franchise business.
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