Diary of a new franchisee: week one

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

How did one man turn $7 into a franchise business? Read about our new diarist Patrick Weiner's journey to becoming a Bedshed franchisee. He starts his diary this week.

Patrick writes:

In 1994 I stepped off a plane from the UK with $7 in my pocket and a dream of owning my own business. Almost 19 years later, my wife Gill and I have turned that dream into a reality. We are now the proud owners of a Bedshed franchise in suburban Melbourne.

Before we delve into just how an Englishman turned $7 into his own business, let me tell you a little about myself.

I’m an optimist. After backpacking around Australia, I was offered a managerial position with a retail company in Melbourne. Following this I spent 10 years with Esanda as a national training consultant.

My wife and I were content with that life, but we weren’t happy. The life-changing moment came when I arrived home from one of my many business trips and our daughter didn’t recognise me. In that moment, I knew I had to be around my family more.


I decided to become my own boss and began trading the markets. After several years, my passion for retail resurfaced. As my wife says, when something’s a part of you, you’re bound to go back to it eventually!

After having been my own boss since 1996 there was absolutely no appeal in working for someone else and we began to investigate business opportunities. After considering various options, we decided a franchise venture would be the best for us.


We spend almost a year researching – we were looking for a national company with a recognised brand, proven systems and an experienced management team.  Within 24 hours of contacting Bedshed, the national business development manager, Rod Parker had responded to my query and organised a coffee catch up with the chief operating officer, Gavin Culmsee and himself.

From that initial meeting I knew Bedshed was the right choice. There was an immediate sense of synergy. Gavin and Rod talked me through the business model and answered every question I threw at them.

That’s one of the great things about Bedshed; they offer support every step of the way. We were able to meet with other franchisees and started getting a taste of what was in store for us. The level of support Bedshed provides on a national, regional and local level helped make the transition as smooth as possible.


My wife and I knew we had made the right decision just as we exchanged the formal agreement. Rod Parker commented on how ‘remarkably relaxed’ I was for someone who had just invested a fair amount of money. However, there was no reason to be nervous. Gavin, Rod and the whole Bedshed team had assisted me with everything from developing a business plan to identifying the location of the store and negotiating a great deal.

The only fear we faced was the potential of changing market forces as we opened up. However, even though we have been told that it has been a ‘tough market’ recently, we’ve got over that hurdle, so our fear has already diminished.

Next week, I’ll talk about how my wife Gill and I worked with Bedshed on the practicalities of opening a store, the difficulties we ran into and how we made the store our own whilst maintaining the successful standards of the Bedshed franchise network.