Here at Masons Self Storage, we have a range of small and local businesses that use our services to support their businesses. We love finding out their stories and what goes on behind the scenes, so we recently caught up with Ceri, the founder of Sparkles Cleaning Services, and it’s such an inspiring story of growth, Sparkles’ commitment to their team and perseverance that we had to share it with you all!
Introducing Sparkles Cleaning Services
Sparkles was founded in 2003 by founder, Ceri. Originally, Ceri was a photographer for Bounty and did a lot of cover work. She moved around a lot due to the nature of her work, plus she then changed jobs and began to think more and more about how she actually wanted to spend her time. With three children under 15, Ceri wanted to be around more and needed more flexibility in her work life.
Around the same time, Ceri’s mum and sister persuaded Ceri to pop round and start doing some of their housework and cleaning. From here, word started to get out and Ceri started to get more requests for her domestic cleaning services. Ceri hadn’t planned to start a cleaning company, but through word-of-mouth, Ceri started to pick up more and more clients, until there was too much work for just her and she needed to make a decision about whether or not this was a viable business. So once again, relying on word-of-mouth, Ceri started to connect with other cleaners and started employing people; fast forward 18 years and Ceri now employs around 30 people!
For Ceri, her team are at the heart of her business and she’s keen to make her team feel special, she believes that the success of her business comes from taking care of her employees. Not only is Sparkles a Living Wage Employer but they’re also a Disability Confident Employer and that’s more than just a title to Ceri, she truly cares about each member of her team. For example, one of her team has autism, so the entire team has done a course in Autism Awareness.
Whilst managing a team with different needs can create lots of challenges, Sparkles has a unique perspective on how they treat their staff. They will often ask their team, what is getting in the way of being able to do their best work, what barriers are you facing? And then Sparkles tackles those hurdles. Their employee welfare is incredibly important to Sparkles, in addition they encourage self-management and ownership, promoting trust and accountability in their teams. In their training, Sparkles uses situations and practical scenarios to encourage their staff to think about how they would manage the task, giving them the confidence to do their role properly. We really love Sparkles’ ethos and the way they treat their staff, ultimately, they’re always asking their team what they need to be able to do their job to the best of their ability and then Ceri and her team actually listen. Plus, all of Sparkles’ staff are part of their profit-share scheme!
Expanding and tripling their income
In 2018, the structure of Sparkles changed. For the first fifteen years, Ceri had been the only Founding Director but after finding a lump in her breast and being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 44, Ceri needed to make some changes. Incredibly strong, Ceri has gone through a double mastectomy, a hysterectomy and then reconstruction surgery and understandably, it knocked her self-confidence. Lesley, Ceri’s mum, stepped in to help keep the company going, Lesley has been massive in providing motivation for keeping her business going. Ceri sought out Business Consultants who have ended up becoming Directors with shares in the company, which has allowed Sparkles to really expand over the past couple of years.
Initially Sparkles started out as a domestic cleaning business, over the past three years, Sparkles’ clients have changed and largely now come from the commercial and construction industries. They operate from an office in Barry and store their supplies and stock with us here at Masons Self Storage, as they have clients across South Wales in Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Nant Garw and Bridgend.
Since the new Directors have come onboard, Sparkles has tripled its turnover, plus they’ve given Ceri the confidence to get back out there and sell Sparkles. Ceri has a passion for sales and never really realised how great she was at selling until the new Directors showed Ceri that her conversion rate is really high. Talking with Ceri, it’s not hard to see why she’s so good at closing sales, her enthusiasm, passion and belief in Sparkles and her team is contagious; she believes in her team so much, it’s hard to not get invested and believe in Sparkles too!
Life in lockdown
Ceri’s three children are all grown up now however, the past year has left her particularly concerned for her youngest daughter, Sophie, who has Category 4 Cystic Fibrosis and has needed to shield over the last year. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition that mostly affects the lungs and creates an overproduction of mucus in the body.
It has been difficult to juggle a business and care for Sophie too. Covid-19 and the lockdown restrictions has meant that Ceri’s confidence has taken a bit of a knock again. Like many of us, back in March 2019, Ceri didn’t realise that the lockdown restrictions would last this long! She thought that they’d follow the Government guidelines to close down for a few weeks… However, they’ve all used this past year to gain qualifications with the Barry Training Services. They’ve taken a variety of courses to improve their technical ability and to improve the services they could offer in particular for the construction industry. The team have undertaken a wide range of courses such as working from heights to ILM courses in Leadership & Management.
We really love Sparkles’ dedication to using this time out to improve their skills and knowledge and to expand their team training!
What’s next for Sparkles?
We asked Ceri what the future holds for Sparkles and what she has planned for 2021, here’s what she said:
I just want to continue doing what I do best and that’s helping people get back into work and giving them a great place to work! My employees work hard because they’re happy and feel heard at work. I have absolutely loved growing Sparkles with the new Directors over the past few years, it just increases our work and therefore, our ability to help even more people get back into work. So, this year, I’m just going to keep focusing on making Sparkles the best place to work that it can be and hopefully take on even more team members!
We loved getting to know Ceri and getting under the skin of Sparkles Cleaning Services! Ceri has been with us at Masons Self Storage for X years and Sparkles and the team use our dedicated business section of our self-storage facility. With wider corridors for palleted stock and a dedicated space to work on the go in our Business Lounge, Ceri and her team at Sparkles are just one of the many local businesses that choose Masons Self Storage for their business storage.
Here at Masons Self Storage, we offer business storage with flexible contracts with 24/7 access 365 days a year. If you’re looking for home or business self-storage, we can help with self-storage units starting from just £5 a week. If you’d like to come in for a tour, give our friendly team a call on 0800 533 5708!