The ‘Overall Woman in Franchising’ Winner is babyballet’s, Lucy Crabtree!

‘Woman Franchise Employee of the Year 2022’ and ‘Overall Woman in Franchising of the Year 2022’

“Success is nothing without the people who you share the journey with.”

-Lucy Crabtree

Miss Lucy, getting her awards and celebrating.With so many incredible female leaders now excelling themselves in the world of franchising, it is very rare that anyone wins not one, but two, top accolades at the annual NatWest Encouraging Women into Franchising Awards. With incredible motivation and dedication, Lucy Crabtree has become a real driving force in the babyballet franchise, and we are very proud to recognise her as a true role model for women everywhere.

The EWiF awards are all about recognising those who have pushed boundaries, overcoming obstacles and their own limitations to set new standards in the industry. During her 10 years of working with babyballet, Lucy has worked her way up from part-time assistant to being recently appointed as the franchise’s new Managing Director, and all by the age of 26!

Having someone so personally invested and loyal is a huge asset to any franchise, of course, but Lucy has truly stood out not only as an employee, but also as a leader. She has been instrumental in making the brand what it is today: a hugely successful children’s franchise that has given dozens of women the opportunity to run their own businesses.

Lucy’s achievements with the brand over the last 10 years are almost too many to list here, but her initiatives have included launching a number of digital and interactive products, partnerships with leading brands such as Peppa Pig, CBeebies Magazine, and e-One, and boosting the franchise’s online presence during lockdown. She has also played a key role in expanding the franchise network and helped increase turnover across the board.

However, it is not just her achievements that have made her stand out for these two awards, but also the inspiring journey of growth and development that has empowered her over the last 10 years. Whilst working full-time at babyballet, Lucy also put herself through a number of training programmes, and attained an outstanding qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Her work ethic has always been centred around helping others and, during the pandemic, she spearheaded a free Lockdown Programme online for all 0 to 6 year olds in the UK.

Lucy has also led several charity fundraisers which have resulted in raising over £1,000,000 for various charities across the UK including Tommy’s Baby Charity, Caudwell Children, Children in Need and Comic Relief.

Lucy was put forward for these awards by babyballet founder, Claire O’Connor, herself a winner of the 2021 Inspirational Women in Franchising Award and finalist for Woman Franchisor of the Year. In her award application, Claire wrote:

“As a company, we have had to continue to adapt quickly and Lucy’s flexible approach and ability to rebound to every challenge is truly phenomenal for someone of her age. Lucy is such a genuine and wonderful young lady, adored and admired by everyone who has the privilege to work with her and she has a promising future in franchising ahead of her.”


So, a huge congratulations to Lucy on winning these two awards! We can’t think of anyone more deserving. However, Lucy’s modesty and humility in recognising her fellow colleagues and partners also does her great credit. After all, EWiF is all about showing how we are stronger together!

“To be announced as the winner for the ‘Woman Franchise Employee of the Year’ filled me with pride.” Lucy told us. “Although it has my name on the front, I accept that award on behalf of my utterly wonderful, hard-working team who are always by my side to champion the good days and power forwards through the difficult ones.”

Incredibly, this is all just the start of Lucy’s career. Having achieved so much at such a young age, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!

“I hope the news of me winning these awards will inspire, franchisees and other young women to dream big and work hard to achieve a life that they love!”

Franchising offers all women the chance to ‘be their own boss’. Organisations like The British Franchise Association (bfa) and Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWiF) provide support to women wanting to enter franchising with services like EWiF’s volunteer mentors and the bfa’s free online Prospect Franchisee Certificate.

Winners from the Franchisee Wards - babyballet franchisees celebrating.