Broden Lloyd: Lancashire's award-winning specialists in making a house a home led by their 25-year-old director
Becoming a business owner is a big step. Becoming a business owner at 24 is a very big step. Becoming a business owner at 24 in the midst of a pandemic is about as big a step as it gets. But, 20 months ago, that’s just what Lizzy Thompson did.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was younger,” explains Lizzy, now 25. “I quit college and my mum said ‘you can’t quit college’ and started applying for apprenticeships for me.
“That’s how I ended up working at Broden Lloyd as a business admin apprentice when I was 17,” she adds. “From there I’ve worked my way up and I bought the business last year.”
An estate and letting agent in Barrowford, Broden Lloyd was founded in 2002 as the village’s first ever business of its kind. Over the following 18 years, it was nurtured by owner Anne Clarke and grew into a highly-respected local company.
Lizzy, who is from Colne in Pendle, herself joined the company in 2013 and, after completing her two-year apprenticeship, took up a full-time position. Apart from a year out when she started a law degree at university and took a job in a solicitor’s office - “I hated it so I came back!” says Lizzy - she’s been with Broden Lloyd ever since.
“I love the housing market and the relationships you form with the tenants, the landlords, and the tradesmen,” she explains. “It’s so satisfying when you find someone a home and, while I worked hard, it never felt like coming to work was hard to do because I enjoyed it so much.
“When the former owner Anne said she wanted to retire, I didn’t want to leave,” says Lizzy, now Broden Lloyd’s Director. “I bought the business from her using a loan from my parents.
“But buying during the pandemic was horrendous!” she adds with a chuckle. “It was so nerve-wracking because I had to pay my parents back and the business had been going 18 years before I took over, so I didn’t want to let Anne down.
“Also, our income comes from rentals, so we were aware that tenants’ situations might change in the pandemic too, but we were lucky,” Lizzy continues. “It wasn’t the best time to take over because people were working from home as well, so we all had to adapt to online everything - contracts, viewings - because we couldn’t just shut up shop for eight months.
“We had to keep going.”
Despite taking on the extra responsibility of being director at a time of great flux, Lizzy says that, because she had been running the business for Anne prior to taking over as owner, she knew what to expect.
But, she still says the whole experience was something of a ‘baptism of fire’ to a certain degree, as there was a raft of new things to learn whilst on the job.
“It was still like being thrown in at the deep end with a pandemic on top of that,” says Lizzy, with the company currently primarily focused on rentals at the moment. “But we did really well last year and, by being proactive, we increased our portfolio by 33% in lockdown, which is amazing.
“It’s been hard but it’s been really enjoyable,” she adds. “It’s been more than worth it.”
Never one to do things by halves, Lizzy has also completely rebranded Broden Lloyd, has overseen a move to a new premises, and has also accepted three awards on behalf of the business in the past 18 months or so as well.
The company was named named Pendle’s ‘Most Outstanding Property Lettings Agency’ in the 2021 Global Business Insight Awards, the ‘Best Property Lettings Agency’ in the North West at the 2021 SME UK Enterprise Awards, and as Pendle’s ‘Best Property Lettings Agency’ at the 2020 SME Northern Enterprise Awards.
“To win three awards in 18 months is unbelievable, we’re honoured,” says Lizzy, whose aunt Jennifer Hillam also works at the company. “All gratitude goes to the clients and we owe it all to them - without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”