Charlotte and Claire will be offering Belvoir's award winning property management and lettings service to the landlords and tenants of York
A former employee of Disney might try wishing on a star for her latest career move to have a fairy tale ending and make all her dreams come true - but as a realist, Charlotte Baron appreciates that hard work is more likely to give a better success rate!
Charlotte, who has worked at Walt Disney World in Port Orleans, has teamed up with her mother Claire Leathley to embark on an exciting venture launching a new Belvoir office in York.
From newly refurbished premises in Walmgate, Charlotte and Claire will be offering Belvoir’s award winning property management and lettings service to the landlords and tenants of York, offering a variety of good quality residential properties featuring apartments and family homes.
Making exemplary levels of client service a priority will be child’s play for Charlotte. In 2011 she sailed through three rounds of tough interviews to secure her University placement at Walt Disney World where rigorous staff training is notoriously aimed at delivering constant and consistent levels of customer service.
Charlotte was with Disney for 12 months, working front of desk and as a concierge hostess. “It was a wonderful experience,” says Charlotte, “The Disney approach to customer service has got to be the supreme example of how it should be done.”
On her return to the UK, Charlotte completed her Business with Marketing degree at Northumbria University and then went out to Jishou University in China where for ten months she taught English – without speaking a word of Mandarin!
“I quickly learned enough to get by,” explains Charlotte, “But since the students were keen to learn English it was more important that I spoke my own language and made them put in the work translating!”
Identifying that York has a large population of Chinese students requiring rental accommodation for the duration of their studies, Charlotte has enrolled on a language course to further develop her skills in speaking Mandarin. “In the main these are sponsored mature students who I think will appreciate being able to discuss details of their rental accommodation in their own language,” says Charlotte.
Charlotte was first introduced to the lettings industry through an internship with a property management company as part of her University course, and for the past two years she has been working for a local estate agent where she was the lettings negotiator.
Claire also brings valuable industry experience to the mother and daughter joint venture. Six years ago, she was working for the City of York Council and given the task of setting up a social letting not for profit agency.
Claire explains: “The scheme involved acquiring private properties to house social tenants who could not access the social housing lists. After establishing this and running it for five years I was approached by the largest independent local lettings agency to manage their property maintenance department.
“I was in charge of a team of five, carrying out all maintenance, end of tenancy check outs, bond negotiation and projecting managing all aspect of property refurbishments.”
Claire describes herself as a hard-working, problem solving, trouble shooting individual who enjoys the thrill of finding solutions and can be relied upon in a crisis.
“I decided it was time to look at applying my acquired skills to my own business in the lettings industry and was delighted when Charlotte expressed interest in getting involved. I am really excited by the challenge presented by launching this new Belvoir business and am confident that we have the attitude and aptitude to make it successful.”
Claire adds: “We chose to take a Belvoir franchise because, as relative newcomers to the property lettings industry, being part of a network that puts a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience at your disposal - as well as offering excellent training and support – gives an immediate level of security.
“We found the brand to be the best and most innovative on the market and were also impressed by the company’s stated business approach matching our own family values which are built on honesty, integrity and trust.”
Another member of the Belvoir York team is Claire’s husband Steve, who has formed his own company to offer a maintenance and repairs service to the business. And visitors to the office may also to get to meet the family’s dogue de Bordeaux “Chops” who may be occasionally in residence.
Belvoir’s Commercial Director, Dorian Gonsalves, says: “It’s great to see Claire and Charlotte entering this project together. They bring valuable individual talents to this operation and join other family run businesses within the Belvoir network of over 160 franchised offices throughout the UK.
“These family ventures often do well because clients feel safe in the hands of a close-knit team and I have no doubt that this particular team will follow that pattern.
“We look forward, with confidence, to welcoming them as winners of one of our national annual achievement awards in the not too distant future.”