AN ENTREPRENEUR who started up in business at the beginning of the recession has thrived despite the economic gloom.
Christine Peel took on the Ovenu oven valeting franchise for Northumberland in 2008 and has grown her business in the last four years to more than 800 clients.
As well as domestic users, she has won contracts for the environmentally-friendly cleaning business from landlords and letting agents across Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Allendale, Hexham, Corbridge, Stocksfield, Bellinghan, Kielder, Otterburn, Ponteland, Morpeth, Amble, Alnwick, Alnmouth, Rothbury and the surrounding villages.
A former driving instructor and school secretary, East Boldon-based Ms Peel wanted to become her own boss to provide flexibility to work around her family life.
She said: “Starting my business as the recession hit could have been risky, but I’ve found that people’s ‘make do and mend’ attitude means they are looking to spruce up their appliances instead of buying new ones.
“Starting up my own business was daunting, but the Ovenu business plan was simple and reputable as it is part of an established franchise model with a proven track record. It suited me down to the ground as I am able to find that work-life balance once again now I am my own boss.
“Northumberland has really embraced my services and I’ve been winning lots of new work through referrals from existing customers. I am hoping to keep my business and customer base growing at the same rate and aim to reach my 1,000th clean within the next year.
“I have really enjoyed these past four years as the job satisfaction is high.
“One of the best parts is seeing the customer’s face once I have completed the job and I always receive excellent feedback from customers who are so happy to have a clean and safe oven again.”
Christine runs one of more than 100 Ovenu franchisees around the UK.
The process involves dismantling the main parts of the oven, which are cleaned in a tank using green, non-caustic products. The process takes around three to four hours.
Ovenu founder Rik Hellewell said: “It’s great to see Christine continuing to do so well. Her entrepreneurial spirit has proved it’s possible to succeed when people work hard and a have a stake in their business.
“She is proof that motivated people can use our franchise model to create exceptionally successful businesses.”