Tag Archives: membership case study

New Year, New Membership

welcomepack_1401In 2014 FOXY Lady Drivers Club returns to an annual membership subscription.

Strictly speaking the Club is in its tenth year of trading although things have changed a lot.

We first opened our doors for business in December 2004 with no members and only Nationwide Autocentres supporting us.

The early days were tough and, with the benefit of hindsight, we were too ambitious; opting for a membership model that was more paper based than online, including a quarterly magazine.

We struggled to make financial sense of that publication because of the printing costs and sadly we upset some FOXY Review fans when we decided to make this an online newsletter in 2007/8. We had to do this and it helped us cope when the recession hit.

In August 2008, we launched a network of female friendly garages, run by sister website FOXY Choice.

Having reduced the Club’s operating costs as explained, by a lucky coincidence we were well placed to roll out a lifetime online subscription offer for just £23 recognising the fairly immediate impact the recession had on so many female motorists.

Despite the length of the recession we stuck to our guns until the end of 2013. All members who previously signed up to a lifetime subscription (as either a Classic or Online member) will have this honoured into the future, subject to our Club Rules and providing they keep us posted with any address or email changes of course.

To cement our business values, the Club finally became a not for profit organisation in 2012, funded by the garages and repairers that subscribe to what is now known as the FOXY Lady Approved female friendly network of garages and repairers. Having now put a financial model in place for the Club in future, we now plan to raise additional income to fund our not for profit campaigning activities (to remind the industry that women drive as well as men and might have different needs…) by returning to an Annual subscription from 1 January 2014.

Annual membership in 2014

For just £35 per year members can enjoy VIP services at female friendly garages, repairers and car dealers plus exclusive Club services and special offers including…

A new car buying discount and advisory scheme
A UK network of FOXY Lady Approved garages, repairers and car dealers
Exclusive moneysaving offers
A friendly motoring helpdesk for jargon-free practical advice
A ‘no-fault’ accident assistance support service
FOXY Review – a monthly e-newsletter with advice, information, car reviews and feedback

In addition, new joiners in January will receive a Welcome pack including their membership card, Members Booklet of services, a copy of The Girl’s Car Handbook, a FOXY pink pen and a windscreen sticker.


Not for profit makes business sense

For a long time I’ve wanted the Club to be a not for profit organisation and today the job has been done. We are finally putting ‘doing the right thing for women and the motor industry’ ahead of the alternative ‘sell as much as you can for as much as you can make’ strategy.

Which feels good to me. Let me explain…

FOXY Lady Drivers Club started out in 2005 when we charged £35 for a year’s membership including a Welcome Pack by post, a quarterly magazine and a telephone service. But we couldn’t make financial sense of the post and print overhead for the first couple of years so we opted to go completely online in 2007. Sadly we lost some of our supporters at that stage who weren’t and didn’t want to be internet savvy. I regret losing them but it was still the right decision to make, until a business grows to be big enough to attract the advertising it needs to support the magazine and so on.

It has always been a chicken and egg story – getting enough members and in the right area to support the garages and so on…

Having dispensed with the traditional postal and print services we were able to drop the annual subscription to £23; that included an online Membership Pack, bi-monthly email newsletters, offers and specialist services plus a £3 donation to the excellent Cancer Buddies Network charity.

Things changed again on 8 August 2008 (coinciding with the Beijing Olympics – an auspicious date apparently) when the Club’s sister business FOXY Choice opened for business. It’s now the UK’s only female friendly garage network but at the time it was a specialist marketing service for businesses that wanted to be promoted as female friendly or to know how they might do a better job. Qualifying independent garages, dealerships, bodyshops and fastfits all pay a modest annual subscription to get female friendly marketing materials, PR services and a lot of online promotion to women and members of the Club.

The plan was always that the retail motor industry SHOULD end up subsidising the Club because if the industry had been better at doing its job the Club wouldn’t have been needed in the first place; to reassure so many wary and ill at ease women when it comes to buying cars, garage services and insurance products.

With the benefit of hindsight, 2008 was probably the worst time to launch a new business into the motor trade in particular, with the first dip of a big two dipper recession to follow. So it has taken us longer to get to where we wanted to be – that the Club’s subscription would get cheaper so it could help more women…

Once we saw that the UK was in for a long and depressing economic slog, and that women were by and large bearing the brunt of the hardship in terms of job losses and ever rising shopping bills we decided to bite the bullet and make Club membership a lifetime subscription. One joining fee of £23 and women drivers across the UK can have a motoring friend for life – was there ever a better motoring deal I wonder?

Finally today we completed the legalities to make the Club a not for profit company that’s limited by guarantee. Thank you Taylor & Emmet LLP for your patient advice here. This means no shares, no shareholders and no staff salaries with any year end surplus going to the Cancer Buddies Network charity when we get there. The online subscription remains a lifetime one at £23 and our FOXY Choice garage partners even have an allocation of gift subscriptions for free.

If you live near one of them, just pop in and ask them if you can have one.

In this way we hope that more women drivers across the UK will join the Club to enjoy better motoring services in future. We don’t think women should have to take a man with them to pay a fair price for a car in a dealership (hence our car buying service). We are confident that women won’t be patronised in FOXY garages (or they’re in serious trouble) and we’ll do all we can to identify the car insurers that try to milk us because of our gender, not our risk, come the EU Gender Equality ruling and unfair car insurance premium rises set to hit females badly this December.

In short, we’re sticking up for women drivers because someone needs to and promoting best practice in the motor industry wherever we find it. And we’re able to do this thanks to the financial support we receive from FOXY Choice subscribers, website advertisers and a few trade sponsors.

Please help us spread the word about FOXY so we can do a better job for more women.