Sandra James, founder of premium cat care franchise The Cat Butler, has reached the finals of the EWiF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) Awards, in the category of New Woman Franchisor of the Year.
The Cat Butler does as the name suggests, catering to every whim of its feline clients. Cats are visited in their own home, fed, played with and generally pampered in the same way their owners would if they were at home.
Sandra first launched the exclusive cat visiting service in her hometown of St Albans, Hertfordshire in 2015, after failing to find a satisfactory cat care service for her beloved cat, Ziggy. Business took off and Sandra quickly found herself fully booked with a waiting list for her cat care services. Having demonstrated the market was there, she decided to expand the business through franchising.
As Sandra started to develop the franchise model in early 2020, the world went into lockdown with the Covid-19 pandemic. Naturally her existing business suffered as clients were not leaving their homes. Undeterred she used the time to work on the franchise, commissioning a new website, writing content, a brochure, an ops manual, training guides and marketing materials. Finally, at the end of March 2021 the franchise was officially launched.
During the pandemic Sandra spent time growing her social media channels by posting cute cat related content to cheer people up; this activity resulted in a 1000 percent increase in fans to almost 200,000 people across her Facebook and Instagram pages.
In August 2021 Sandra awarded her first Cat Butler franchise in Dorchester (Dorset), the second just a few months later, October 2021, in Bromley (Kent). Her latest franchisee will begin his cat buttling duties in Oxford in June 2022.
In November 2021 The Cat Butler also became an accredited member of the BFA (British Franchise Association).
Most recently The Cat Butler found fame as a winner of the Theo Paphitis, twitter-based, Small Business Sunday competition, gaining a retweet from the Dragon’s Den entrepreneur and a listing on his SBS website.
Commenting on reaching the finals Sandra said: “I am delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the EWiF Awards in the category of New Woman Franchisor of the Year. I can’t wait to meet everyone at the finals and hear all about their franchise journeys. Setting up The Cat Butler franchise has been a massive learning experience for me, with the curveball of Covid and lockdowns making it quite tough at times, with the uncertainty of what life and business would look like at the end of it. However, now I see my Cat Butler franchisees doing so well, the cats in their care looking so relaxed and the reviews from their owners so positive, I feel all the hard work has been worth it.’
Winners will be announced at the EWiF Awards ceremony to be held on Thursday 30th June 2022 in London.