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F ranchisee Susie in the moonlight
In the moonlight is a chance for us to shine a light on the people who make up Banana Moon.

This week we spoke with one of our franchisee’s Susie, who owns Banana Moon Lower Sundon and Baddersly.

Before I found banana moon, I worked internationally and nationally within the police force for 15 years and became a mother to my three children. Personal life began changing and my job was at risk due to government changes. With life at a crossroads, I began looking for alternatives. My middle child was very unwell at this time and was being cared for by a nursery while I worked. I had a dream to open a nursery and provide parents with the same level of care and reassurance I had received but thought it would be too hard. After speaking to my sister about this she asked if she had ever considered franchising. That night I took to the internet and found a franchising website listing all nursery franchises. It may sound silly, but I only contacted those nurseries that I liked the name of – if I was going to own a business, I wanted to like what it was called. Banana moon certainly got my attention. Soon after I opened the brochure and instantly knew it was the right nursery for me. 10 years down the line and it still is true. I chose Lower Sundon as its a rural location, at an ideal location between Central Bedfordshire and Luton, with close links to the A6, A5, M1, and trainlines, a popular fast food restaurant 3 minutes away and it’s also 6 minutes from my house (5 in an emergency). The level of support provided by head office helps me daily. From HR support to weekly network meetings, they are always there to help, even down to someone being at the end of the phone when I’m having a bad day.

As well as being the owner of the nursery I am also the manager, and this gives me such a great insight into the business. I never ask any of my staff to do anything I wouldn’t do and I am passionate about being a nursery that parents and children want to come to. My staff are amazing and one of my favourite parts of owning a nursery is watching them develop and learn. People always overlook nursery staff, but we have one of the hardest professions in the UK. One of my mottos in the nursery is that ‘we are not babysitters’ and I think a lot of people realised this year how much we actually do we do.  After lockdown, parents came back into the nursery asking us how we do this full time, and the answer is we love it! You must be passionate to work in childcare and in turn teaching. Every day we play with children but also look out for things they can learn and help them to achieve amazing things. In a nursery every day is a learning day, not just for our children but the staff too.

I am a very hands-on owner and being the manager feeds into this, but I have recently graduated from couchto5k and now run 5k multiple mornings a week. It’s my time to think and listen to music or a podcast and experience the great outdoors. This year I took on another nursery and it was not what I expected, but it’s worth it! Working with my manager Charlotte I face different challenges each day, but I try and see the learning opportunity in every day and move forward better than the day prior. Another one of my mottos is ‘always be kind’ and I feel like finding a benefit in all things feeds into this.”

I feel very privileged every day that parents choose us to be part of their children’s journey and I take pride in reminding everyone who works for me of how important they are to be able to provide what we do for children and parents.

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