Yorkshire babyballet founder takes brand to the world stage

Attached image caption: ‘Claire O’Connor with her family’ – L-R: Charlie, Claudia, Chris, Claire and Kitty.



Yorkshire babyballet founder, Claire O’Connor, has taken the plunge to travel the world for a year with her family to expand the franchise business and introduce it to new countries across the globe.

Only weeks ago, Claire, from Halifax, came up with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and – using a world map and some wool and pins – created a ‘family wish list’ of places to visit combined with ideal locations to set up new franchises for babyballet such as Canada, America and Japan.


Married to Chris, a sports analyst working in Canada for rugby league team, Toronto Wolfpack, Claire joined her husband earlier this month with three of their four children, Charlie, 14, Claudia, 12, and 10-year-old Kitty to begin their 12-month adventure.


Now in Toronto, the mum-of-four is actively looking for opportunities to set up franchises in Canada.


Claire and Chris are home schooling the children during their 12-month travels. Their eldest son Harry has remained in the UK to continue his university studies.

Headquartered in Halifax, West Yorkshire, babyballet is one of the fastest growing franchise businesses in the UK. It was founded in 2005 to create a dance experience for six months to six-year-olds to dance, gain confidence and shine, in a fun, caring and supportive environment, away from the traditional strict and serious classes often associated with ballet.


With 74 franchises currently in the UK, Claire successfully expanded the business into Australia and New Zealand last year, establishing 33 new franchises down under with more in the pipeline. Over 25,000 children now enjoy babyballet on both sides of the world every week.


babyballet founder, Claire, said: “The successful expansion of the business into Australia and New Zealand made me realise that if I can do it there, I can do it anywhere in the world. With Chris already in Toronto, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to join him and look into expanding over there, as well as other countries.


“It’s going to be an adventure of a lifetime and will enable me to take babyballet across the globe and build the brand on an international level. I can’t wait to meet dance school owners and teachers who are keen to bring babyballet to children in their local areas.


“Being able to involve our children is amazing and they are so excited to go, learn and experience new things. It’s not going to be an easy ride, but we’re all in it together and can’t wait to set off.”


Claire and the babyballet brand have won numerous awards including ITV Mumpreneur, Best Business Parent at the Mum and Working Awards, Halifax Courier Young Business Person (2007) and Entrepreneur (2008). Claire also featured in a Channel 4 documentary ‘Big Ballet’ exploring issues of size in the world of ballet.

Claire has set up a blog (livingourglobaldream.com) where you can follow her and her family’s adventures over the next 12 months, as she takes the next step in turning babyballet into a world-renowned franchise business.





Issued on behalf of Claire O’Connor and babyballet, by Faith PR. For further information please contact Hayley Paterson on hayley@faith-pr.co.uk or call 01484 599886. 


Editor’s Notes

babyballet® was formed 13 years ago in 2005 by Claire O’Connor, based on a belief and personal experience, that little ones’ early interactions with ballet shouldn’t be associated with traditional strict, serious and sometimes cold experiences, but instead be a fun, relaxed and enjoyable activity for both parent and child.


Claire and her 15-strong team have grown the business through a franchise model which today boasts 74 franchises across the UK, running approximately 2,000 classes a week. In 2007, the business also expanded into its own range of ballet uniforms, parties and music, which are sold online and through its franchises.


Claire’s babyballet® brand now leads the sector, with new territories being claimed all the time, throughout the UK and internationally. In 2016, brand presence was established in both Australia and New Zealand and 32 licences are now up and running Down Under.


Today, over 25,000 under 6s enjoy Claire’s creation of something which is more than just a ballet class – the babies and young children learn to dance and develop key motor skills in a non-competitive, sociable, caring and safe environment.




Twitter – @babyballet

Facebook – @babyballetUK

Instagram – @babyballetworld

YouTube – twinklethebear


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