The Dust Fairy

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from The Dust Fairy is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

www.thedustfairy.co

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
38 | THE DUST FAIRY
Owner Hayley Stringer
Following in Mummy’s
footsteps
In 2013, after realising that her job as a sales manager at an
insurance broker would not provide her with the flexibility
to take her children to school, Hayley Stringer founded her
own cleaning company – Dust Fairy. Five years on and she
employs 18 cleaners and services nearly 250 clients. Based
in Kingswinford, her company offers a local service for local
people and businesses, and she is now trying to expand it
in order to work with more commercial clients. Hayley tells
TheParliamentary Review
how such growth was possible.
I quit my job as a sales manager at an insurance broker in 2013 and began looking
for a job that I could fit more easily around being a mother with two school-aged
children. I applied for all sorts of roles, but on most occasions either they couldn’t
offer the flexibility I needed, or I felt I was overqualified. Thankfully, a friend who
had done some freelance cleaning work suggested that I should consider trying it
out. I have never looked back since.
I began by simply handing out leaflets, offering my services from nine until three
each day so I had time to complete the school run. I quickly built a couple of local
clients and within three months I took on my first employee. We kept receiving
enquiries and within a year I was employing three women in a similar situation
to myself. Today, we have built a flexible model whereby staff can fit their hours
around their personal life. We now work with nearly 250 clients.
FACTS ABOUT
THE DUST FAIRY
»Owner: Hayley Stringer
»Founded in 2013
»Based in Kingswinford,
WestMidlands
»Services: Comprehensive
cleaning service
»No. of employees: 18
The Dust Fairy
39THE DUST FAIRY |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
A flexible and versatile service
Our growth has been rapid and we still
receive around ten new enquiries from
potential clients every week. We have
18 cleaners on our books and I am
looking to expand further throughout
2019. This process will include hiring
more cleaners and branching out to
reach and appeal to a broader range of
clients. My role will potentially change
in this regard, as until now I have
remained hands-on, always covering
shifts when needed. I teach new staff
about our requirements and ensure
that any new hire understands the
level of service our clients expect.
Our next step will be into advertising.
Our growth until this point has been
the direct result of our reputation in
the local area, which has been built
through referrals and word of mouth.
Moving into the commercial market
will therefore present us with a new
area to target, but it should also
allow us to develop our reputation
as a multifaceted service. This will
involve taking on staff who can
work a broader range of hours and
marketing our services in new arenas.
We carefully utilise our Facebook page
to connect with people and build
brand awareness, and I hope this
experience can help us to continue
to engage people on new platforms.
We take every opportunity to grow
the business; when working with
a domestic client, for example, we
discuss our commercial services too.
At a recent funeral we worked at, we
established relationships with some of
the older people who were no longer
able to clean for themselves.
Versatility is everything and it is a key
quality we look for when recruiting.
This is then repaid to staff, with
generous holiday, monthly incentives
and additional holiday time over
Christmas. I was forced into starting
my own business because I needed
flexibility, and had it not been for my
situation I would never have taken the
risk. The decision has been completely
vindicated, however, and I am so glad
I had to make it. I can now spend
more time with my children and I
don’t worry if I have to stay at home
when they are sick. Our team is always
willing to support one another and this
is what makes Dust Fairy special.
Our fun, friendly,
hardworking ladies
Flexibility is
key for both
customers and
our fairies
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
40 | THE DUST FAIRY
Working to improve
Dust Fairy has been a financially
lucrative endeavour; however, we
need to continue to develop and grow
in order to combat rising overheads.
When I first established the business in
2013, I was forced to take a substantial
pay decrease, but as I grew I was able
to raise my rates and work with more
clients, while also enjoying relatively
low overhead costs. In the last year,
however, our costs have risen and the
next stage of our development will be
determined by our ability to lower our
cost base and benefit from economies
of scale.
Our costs now include paying mileage
for the additional travel, designing and
purchasing uniforms, and offering our
staff the best possible equipment. In
order to adapt to our growing client
base, we are focusing on cost-cutting
measures and adjusting our pricing
structure in order to maximise profit.
These profits will continue to be
reinvested in the company, with raising
our profile and name recognition our
key priorities.
Currently, our marketing strategy
largely consists of local projects
and we sponsor a youth football
team alongside raising money for
community charities. This approach
may now be expanded beyond our
original geographical focus and
we are assessing new marketing
opportunities further afield. We aren’t
looking to directly compete with rivals,
but instead we want to learn and
grow as an organisation, capitalising
on our strengths and improving on
ourweaknesses.
We always think outside the box and
I never reject out of hand an idea
that a member of staff presents me.
Our brand is continuing to grow and
simple ideas like pens, mugs and
other merchandise have had a notable
impact. We have a fantastic story
behind us and I have been supported
by a dedicated body of staff who
have a committed approach. We are
relishing the opportunity to develop
further and we cannot wait for the
year ahead.
If it weren’t
for my fairies,
I wouldn’t be
where I am
today
Tight-knit group

www.thedustfairy.co

This article was sponsored by The Dust Fairy. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.