The Small Business Specialists
Phone: 13 12 49
Ashley and Carol Whitworth
After four years of researching, planning and plain hard work, everything has fallen into place for Ashley and Carol Whitworth with their Australian permanent residency visas now firmly in place.
The idea for Ashley and Carol to leave the UK first came to light in 2004 and with a close friend already living in Perth, Western Australia was high on the list of options.
“We were looking for a change and always wanted to live abroad where we could enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. An English-speaking business environment was also essential to utilise my corporate marketing background,” said Ashley.
“We’d been to Australia for business and pleasure several times over the past 15 years but of all the cities, Perth ticked the most boxes for us.”
However, it was lunch at the Indiana Tea House, overlooking beautiful Cottesloe beach that finally clinched the deal for Ashley.
Knowing the areas that they wanted to live, Ashley and Carol helped smooth the transition process by researching the housing market in the months before they left England.
“We arrived on Saturday, saw seven houses on Tuesday, including one in Mosman Park that we fell in love with and bought the very next day. We’re still in that house four years later - and still love it,” Ashley said.
But migrating to a new country has not been all plain sailing for the Whitworths, particularly with regard to finding the right business for Ashley and the right job for Carol.
“We had a couple of false starts; one with a business partnership that didn’t work out and another with a marketing consultancy that I still operate, but it wouldn’t meet the Business Immigration criteria,” Ashley commented.
A visit to the Franchise Expo in Perth provided Ashley with some new information on franchises and after careful due diligence, he decided to buy a US-owned EmbroidMe franchise, setting up a new business in the Perth City district.
“This was the ideal business for my marketing expertise and corporate marketing background and something I understood from being a customer in the UK. Florida-based and a sister business to the Signarama franchise group, it’s well supported by the franchisor and there is strong camaraderie between franchisees both nationally and internationally.”
Ashley has excelled quite quickly with his franchise, being the fastest store in Australia to reach a turnover of $75,000 in a month. He has also won the franchise group International Rookie of the Year in the USA and the group Marketing Award.
Carol also took a while to get back into a senior position in banking and now has a terrific job in her specialist field of investments.
Getting out and about together has led to a network of new friends and the couple are thoroughly enjoying the WA lifestyle.
“Don’t believe anything you hear about there being nothing to do in Perth, we see more bands and shows than we did in London,” Ashley enthused.
“The weather is terrific for anything outdoors – we've seen ballet at the Quarry Amphitheatre, Shakespeare in Kings Park and just recently we went to Spandau Ballet at the Sandalford Winery and were home in less than an hour!
Their advice to others considering the big move DownUnder is to do the homework.
“Research, research,” says Carol, “and don’t expect Australia to be England with sunshine. Things are done a bit differently here, so listen and learn the local customs.”
Ashley has found joining business organisations is a great way to network and meet good contacts.
“Follow your passion and join groups of interest,” Ashley says. “For me the Australian Marketing Institute was a logical way to meet fellow marketers and I soon joined the WA Council and was elected State President. I also became involved with Rotary as I believe it is important to support the local community and it’s a great way to meet like minded people.”
Ashley concludes: “Perth is a relatively small business community with only a few degrees of separation – make sure you are professional in every aspect, as it's amazing how many people you meet, know people you know; it's quite uncanny.”