Lisa Raynes
Pictured from left to right: Magda Haener (Pride Road Manchester South), Lisa Raynes (Founder and Director of Pride Road) and Catherine Traynor (Pride Road Liverpool South).
Lisa Raynes

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Women in architecture

IF you’re a woman and you’re an architect, things aren’t looking too good for you.

And it’s something Lisa Raynes is trying to change.

On entry into university, there is a 50/50 split between the number of men and women studying architecture. However, only 25 per cent of qualified architects are female and 17.5 per cent of RIBA chartered architects are women.

And then there’s the gender pay gap. According to the 2016 Women in Architecture survey, women who make it to partner level take home a shocking £55,000 less than men at the same level.

Gender equality is a subject close to Lisa’s heart, and one she champions at every opportunity; whether addressing the RIBA National Council, Women in Property North West or shouting about it to her 3.5k Twitter followers.

But most importantly, she has put her money where her mouth is - £33,000 of it to be exact – to launch Pride Road, the UK’s first architecture franchise aimed at women.

Before launching her franchise, Lisa was running her own successful solo practice. Having successfully managed the business while bringing up her three children, divorcing her husband and planning a wedding to a new partner, Lisa realised the business model could be franchised to other women.

She said: “I put two and two together, the problems in our industry and my successful business model, and realised it had franchise potential.”

Joining Pride Road costs £10,000 for a licence in the north west (£15,000 everywhere else) for a five-year-period, and Lisa is confident it’s a great investment.

She said: “Over 90 per cent of franchises succeed after five years. The franchise business model is well respected by banks and you can usually get loans for up to 70 per cent of the franchise fee, plus working capital to cover the set-up.”

Her franchisees would agree.

Mum-of-two Magda Haener was the first to join Pride Road, signing in January 2017. She said: “I had previously run my own practice but I struggled with the business side of things. I ended up sub-contracting elements where I wasn’t confident.

“Working with Lisa has been a real eye-opener. She has amazing processes that really deliver a profit later on, in terms of time and money for both myself and my clients.

“But more importantly, myself, Lisa and Catherine are all learning from each other and it’s amazing to see women supporting each other so successfully.”

RIBA architect Catherine Traynor joined Pride Road in April 2017. She had previously worked in a medium-sized practice specialising in residential and healthcare architecture.

She said: “Lisa’s passion for keeping women in the industry is clear to see. Her Pride Road franchise model has enabled me to not only run my own business but to have the flexibility to take on other volunteering projects that are important to me. One in particular is the RIBA student mentoring scheme. I’ll be mentoring architecture students from the University of Liverpool to give them an insight into practice and to enhance their learning experience. 

“Thanks to Lisa’s help and support through the franchise, and my own journey through my architectural career, I have the knowledge and experience to be able to help student architects steer their future in the direction they want. It’s a great feeling to be in a position to be able to give something back and help others.”

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