The founder of BabyBeats and Mindful Movers talks about how genuinely caring and being open to learning keeps the brand ahead of the competition
Having launched her career as a fitness teacher, Rose Gibson qualified as a sports therapist when she realised she really enjoyed the injury rehabilitation part of teaching.
After having her own children, Rose became interested in baby development and ultimately studied infant massage and yoga. This also led her to work with a charity that addressed breastfeeding problems and infant care.
But looking after three children, Rose found it increasingly difficult to sustain an income without paying out more in childcare than she was earning. Having had less time for her family than she wanted, Rose knew there was a better solution. Being able to work from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm with an amazing return was what drove her to create and start running BabyBeats classes.
What led you to launch BabyBeats and Mindful Movers?
BabyBeats was launched in 2017 as a response to the demand for a high-quality parent and baby class that catered not just for babies but also responded to the need for a safe and specifically designed postnatal class for women. I wanted to create a unique class that was tailored to the very specific needs of both parent and child. Coming from a background of sports therapy, yoga and pilates, I knew there were limited services available to new mothers who had additional postnatal needs to exercise safely, whilst knowing that their teacher was highly qualified and able to deal with the complexities of their postnatal needs.
Mindful Movers, classes for parents and toddlers, was the natural evolution of the franchise after BabyBeats had progressed with the clientele. Parents just didn’t want to leave classes once their child started to fast crawl and so the client base was there without having to re-market classes. After having a number of school teachers attend classes with their own children and comment on how much they felt children in an educational setting would benefit from this style of class and movement, Mindful Movers was developed. I designed Mindful Movers to complement the educational curriculum so that it could be introduced in schools, nurseries, after-school clubs and holiday clubs and seamlessly sit alongside the curriculum.
BabyBeats Before Birth was introduced as the demographic client base was already in place and was a response to the need to increase the services we provide and the support available.
Functional Foundations was created as a further evolution of the brand for parents who found their children were too old for classes but didn’t want to stop attending BabyBeats and Mindful Movers.
Having successfully established the business in Yorkshire, I set up the BabyBeats franchise opportunity after having significant interest from fitness professionals and gyms seeking to secure opportunities to deliver these classes within their venues.
BabyBeats now boasts a network of franchisees across the country and is continuing to expand. Our priority has always been in the quality not quantity of franchisees and we look for like-minded people who are passionate about the wellness of women, babies and children, to join the team.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the business?
During the pandemic we moved classes to an online platform when we were not physically able to be in a studio or classroom, this meant our reach spread much further than our existing territories. Mindful Movers was approached and took part in UK Actives 24-hour fitness marathon along with EMD to support people at home during the pandemic. It was a privilege to be asked to take part along with some of the industry’s leading experts. Having come out of the pandemic stronger than ever, it showed us how resilient the children’s activity sector can be but also the very real need for these services. The nature of the client base means that there will always be a need for our services, as in this ever-changing world, women will continue to give birth.
What is your go-to piece of advice for successful leadership?
Listen - this could be to our amazing franchisees or their clients. It’s not about what I or the business as a whole needs, I realised quite early on that our business is about people and getting into the habit of asking, ‘How can I help you?’ is the best leadership tool. This can then be filtered down to our class participants, schools and venues, ensuring our clients are happy and provided for.
Genuinely caring about the people you work with and helping them achieve the goals they have set out makes a full circle in time and creates the mindset that you can achieve anything you set out to. It’s not enough to hear people, it’s about being active listeners.
What are the vital components behind a well-run organisation?
Investing in ourselves, our products and our services. Continuing our education and always being open to learning helps us stay ahead of our competitors. Our USP has always propelled us forward as well as having knowledgeable and skilled franchisees. Our franchisees are what make the business a success and they are all so passionate and forward-thinking.
Thinking of the bigger picture is crucial; I try not to get bogged down in the day-to-day running of the business. It’s important to take a step back and look at the business as a whole to keep ideas fresh, going in the right direction and be open to the next phase of our evolution.
What do you find fulfilling about being a franchisor?
A simple idea more than 10 years ago when my eldest was a baby has grown, developed and evolved into what it is today. The path we are on now, especially the franchising route, wasn’t deliberately mapped out but over time it has been an organic process due to significant interest and demand.
I am so proud of all our franchisees who are working around their children and took the step to say, ‘I can do this!’ Because you can. With passion, dedication and drive you can achieve anything you want. You don’t need anything other than self-belief and drive to make your own success. Believe in yourself and your abilities.
Should franchise networks have to give back to their communities?
The nature of our business is, and will always be, community-based so we naturally tick the box here. To run a BabyBeats franchise, you must want to be with the people within your community and that responsibility is an honour. To be part of someone’s pregnancy, supporting them with any physical or emotional challenges is a symbol of the trust new parents put in us. BabyBeats ensures we can step into the postnatal service role and offer safe and effective exercise to women and their children. It really is the epitome of empowerment for new mums and this ‘gives back’ in ways we cannot begin to quantify.
What will BabyBeats and Mindful Movers look like in five years?
As BabyBeats and Mindful Movers continue to grow and evolve, we will continue to take on franchisees who embody our ethos, vision and drive to succeed. We have a high number of franchisees across Yorkshire and the North so as we expand further South, we are excited to work with like-minded people who will continue to serve the community and promote positive mental health attitudes for women and children throughout the country.