Cat Allen – Franchisee, Noodle Cheshire
Cat Allen was looking for a change in direction when she decided to become her own boss by buying a Noodle franchise.
She had met Noodle managing director Nikki Johnson while performing in a show and they had got talking about what her next step could be.
Cat says: “I was looking for a career change and Nikki suggested I go back to my performing roots with a Noodle franchise. I was very doubtful at first as I was always very busy working for other people and looking after my two kids.
“However, when I looked into it, I realised it was something I could do, although rather daunting!”
Noodle franchises are ideal for people who are new to working for themselves. While running your own business is undoubtedly hard work, franchisees are given everything they need to start operating in their area and the extensive training and support means they always have someone to turn to if they have any questions.”
Cat chose Noodle because it gave her a way to use her background in the performing arts to try something new.
She says: “I was pleased that it was run by practicing professional performers, with real experience of the industry and as it offered such a wide range of support and guidance across the board. I wasn’t a businesswoman back then but I knew all about theatre.”
Cat trained in musical theatre at Mountview Theatre School and graduated in 2000 with a degree in performing. After graduation, she gained a wide range of experience working in Theatre in Education as well as performing in professional shows and working both front of house and backstage roles at a number of West End theatres.
She says: “My experience helped me see every side of the business, not just the spotlight and helped hugely in my understanding of how the industry works. I am a qualified TEFL teacher and also spent a number of years teaching music to preschool children, delivering postnatal talks and ‘exhibition’ classes for marketing purposes so learnt a lot about engaging children and, possibly more importantly, their parents!”
Becoming a franchisee is a big decision and Cat admits it was a little daunting at first.
“I was a bit nervous about taking the plunge,” she says. “Doubting your ability is something that is natural with any risk so I had always shied away from the idea of the responsibility.”
However, the support offered by Noodle made the process of getting started much easier.
Cat says: “Seeing the classes running at Noodle HQ, meeting the team and realising that they too are humans and there was nothing in those classes that I couldn’t do was inspiring and gave me a lot of confidence. Having people on the end of the phone, being welcome to view existing classes and workshops and being able to access the Noodle intranet and resources was extremely valuable.
“Knowing that class plans and ideas are in a central location, along with a ton of business templates, letters, emails and advice on hand is so reassuring.”
Cat launched her franchise in Cheshire in January 2018 and has never looked back.