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Night on the Tiles Helps Sandra in Hunt for NSW Franchise Woman of the Year Award

Having no retail experience was no barrier for mother-of-two Sandra Creed when she co-founded a tile store in Warners Bay six years ago.

Sandra is now in line to be named the NSW Franchise Woman of the Year at an upcoming ceremony in Sydney.

Now an owner of a second tile store at Rutherford and part of Australia's largest tile retailer, Beaumont Tiles, Sandra had been working in her husband's bathroom renovation business when she set up shop with her sister Linda.

Despite tough economic times the sisters succeeded from the word go, achieving spectacular double digit growth in their first two years and clearing all debt in 18 months.

Sandra says that the tile and bathroom business appears to be male-dominated but she adopted a different approach from day one, building a business that was "family friendly."

"We sell to homeowners and tradesmen. Women are often the final decision-maker when it comes to doing up a kitchen or bathroom," Sandra said.

I knew from my own experience that many spouses of tradesmen are also an essential part of their partners' business.

We set up an evening called 'A Night on the Tiles' where we served ladies snacks and champagne and brought a female expert from interstate to discuss industry design and product trends.

"It was a first and was such a success that it's been picked up by Beaumont Tiles to roll out in other parts of Australia."

Sandra is no newcomer to including women in business. An accounting graduate, she was a founding member of the "Women in Business" group in Newcastle.

"This helped me recognise that there are many women in business who share common goals of working successfully and raising families," Sandra said.

"We organised speakers, meetings and networking to try and overcome the common challenges that we faced on a day to day basis.

"More recently my husband was working with a bathroom designer. Following the closure of his business in 2012, I motivated her into opening her own operation.

"That benefits her as well as my own business, because I have an outstanding designer to involve in design and renovation work." Judges for the award said that Sandra's nomination by Beaumont Tiles was part of an exceptional field of entries.

The awards will be announced at the NAB Franchise Council of Australia NSW Excellence in Franchising Awards Gala Dinner, held on Friday June 14.