International Women’s Day: meet Stagecoach’s sister act turned entrepreneurs

This International Women’s Day, Stagecoach Performing Arts is spotlighting two of the many formidable female business owners in its network.

International Women’s Day: meet Stagecoach’s sister act turned entrepreneurs

Liz Blower and Mandy Perry, also twins, are a dynamic duo who have turned their businesses into a truly family affair.

Liz bought Stagecoach Reading Caversham in 2004, having completed six years as an Entertainment Director for a cruise line. After six years at the helm in Reading Caversham and doubling the number of schools, Liz has been Principal of Stagecoach Harpenden since September 2010. After seeing her twin sister’s success, Mandy invested in Stagecoach St Albans. 

“Before investing in my franchise in 2012, I’d worked in my dream job as an air stewardess for 14 years. However, towards the end of my time working in the air, life took a turn, and I became a single mum with two small children to look after. Despite my love for flying, the responsibilities of being a single parent made it difficult for me to continue pursuing that career, and I started to consider other options,” explained Mandy. 

For Liz, the determination to explore a more inclusive future – with real scope for growth – came early on in her career. 

“I studied Drama at university in Manchester and then spent six years travelling the world on cruises as an Entertainment Director,” said Liz. “After a while, I noticed a recurring pattern. They would send all the men they wanted to promote to Cruise Director to be trained by me, and then they would get the job – leaving me overlooked because I’m a woman. That’s when I decided I’d had enough, and it was time to find something where I was more appreciated. It was through a – rather famous – family friend that Stagecoach would enter my life.

“Our parents’ good friends, Angie and Alan Goss, were the previous Principals of Harpenden and St Albans. Interestingly, Angie is also the cousin of Stephanie Manuel – who happens to be one of the founders of Stagecoach! When I came home after my time on cruise ships, Angie and Alan said buying my own Stagecoach school would be the perfect fit for me. Following their advice, I reached out to Stephanie, went through the interview process and decided to buy Stagecoach Reading Caversham. Angie and Alan had always expressed their wish for me to take over Harpenden eventually, and, in 2010, I did exactly that.

“Our dad actually looked after Angie and Alan’s finances and could see their success. He was a strong advocate for Stagecoach and the foolproof nature of the business model. When our dad passed away, I think it became the ultimate motivation for us to make the investment.”  

Inspired by her sister’s success, plus the financial responsibility of being a single mum, Mandy invested in her own franchise just two years later. 

“With two young kids to look after, I knew I needed a change,” said Mandy. “When Angie and Alan retired and Liz acquired Harpenden, I enquired about the possibility of securing St Albans. Seeing Liz’s success and having first-hand experience at Stagecoach while assisting Liz during shows, I knew it was the right path for me.

“Since investing in Stagecoach, I’ve found the stability and flexibility I need to juggle being a successful businesswoman and a mum. I still believe that people don’t always expect women to own their own business! Plus, it’s given me the freedom to support Liz with her business – especially with her suffering from serious health complications from chronic heart disease. While being a businesswoman means so much to me, being a mum and a sister always comes first. The fact I can be all three is incredibly gratifying.” 

Liz puts her success down to the sense of accomplishment she gets from creating a community for her students – and hopes to instil the same feeling of belonging she gets from the special bond with her twin sister. 

“As twins, we’ve always had each other. Growing up, we never had to enter a room alone. Unfortunately, many kids don’t have that someone to lean on when they walk into a room for the first time. They have to believe in themselves and trust that they’ll find their tribe. Providing a supportive environment for my students to thrive and witnessing the noticeable boost in their confidence, even after a single term, fills me with so much pride and reaffirms that I’m doing a good job.

“I love how having my own business has given me a distinct identity. I can fulfil my role as a mum at home while still maintaining my individuality. Running a successful business brings me a sense of empowerment. When people ask me what I do for a living, proudly stating that I run my own performing arts school is a wonderful feeling – especially considering how overlooked I felt in my previous career,” said Liz. 

This International Women’s Day, the twins are keen to celebrate each other’s achievements – and the achievements of all other women in business. 

Having Head Office to support you is so reassuring, but having your own sister to bounce ideas off and to help run your business is fantastic. We’re immensely lucky to have each other. Our dad’s birthday actually falls on International Women’s Day. I’d like to think he’d be extremely proud of how far we’ve both come,” added Liz. 

“We’re very lucky because we use each other to bounce ideas off,” explained Mandy. “Other franchisees in the network will often come to us with any questions or to ask for advice because they get two points of view. We come as a pair!” 

For more information about franchise opportunities with Stagecoach, visit

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj