If the pool and spa sectors were looking for a likely candidate to represent them in Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice, then surely Christina Mantoura Clarke would make the shortlist.
With a dissertation for her BA hons in Management and Business Administration, Christina came top of her year and won the accolade of best management student. Now, after completing a nine-year apprenticeship in the industry, she is taking the helm of her own pool and hot tub retail company as her father, Theo, takes a sideways step to concentrate on the construction side of the family business.
“I was initially tempted by the City, but soon saw the pool and spa industry as a fun and positive environment to work in,” Christina recalls. “Despite joining at the bottom of the ladder, I knew that if I worked hard and stayed focussed, one day, I would have the allround knowledge, confidence and expertise to be able to take over at the helm,” she adds.
That self-belief has come to fruition. As part of the company restructure, Christina will take complete responsibility for the retail side of the business including the running of the award-winning show site at Ruxley Manor, near Sidcup in Kent.
“Our business has seen phenomenal growth and rather than risking becoming victims of our own success, we feel the time is right to re-position,” explains Christina, one of the UK panel of industry experts who featured at the recent UK Pool and Spa Expo at Birmingham’s NEC.
“That means running as completely different but associated companies with focused strategies to better manage the business growth.”
As part of the handover, the old company, The Pool and Spa Company will disappear and a new business will emerge, branded as the The Hot Tub and Swim Spa Company.
“Although I am only 30, I am a quick learner and have always been treated with respect by the company, our suppliers and customers,” says Christina. “We have a loyal team who are diligent, hard-working and genuine,” she continues. “We know how to have fun but we work cohesively to sustainably grow”.
As part of the restructure, Christina has immediately taken on four new team members who will strengthen the sales, showroom and customer care side to enable her to develop new ideas.
Says Christina: “Although I am managing director of this new company, Theo is still here supporting me. We are an awesome team but I do also want him to play some more golf!” Says Christina: “Apart from my family, and my amazing husband Charlie, I have two mentors; one, Dave Jackson, the CEO of Hydropool hot tubs and swim spas based in Canada, and the other is a consultant with whom I have a ‘strategy day’ every three months. They both help me focus, think outside the box and plan for the future.”
“I believe retailers of hot tubs, pools and swim spas are in an ideal position to expand on training opportunities for their staff to build bigger and stronger businesses,” says Christina.
“New ideas and innovations are coming to the industry, to say I am excited is an understatement.”
The Hot Tub and Swim Spa Company
Tel. +44 (0)208 300 4003