Updated: Aug 14
Becoming an award winning Keepsake Business is the most exhilarating part of running my business to date.
I Started the year with a goal to winning a business award
In May this year I received an email confirming I had been nominated for The biz4Biz awards in 3 different categories; Made in Herts, New Business of the Year and Best Family Business.
The next stage of the process was to meet virtually with a panel of judges and share information about my keepsake business, such as, what the business was, the growth and marketing plans of the business.
Now I must admit, I was a finalist in these awards last year but was sadly unsuccessful. However because I had taken part in the judging selection before I had more of an idea as to what information they were looking for and was certainly more prepared.
The Judges certainly seemed very impressed with my presentation and mentioned they believed my keepsake business was awe inspiring. At this point I had done everything I could and had to wait to find out if it was enough to reach the finals.
In just over 2 weeks I was excited to learn that I had reached the finals, for not 1 but 2 of the categories; Made in Herts and New Business of the year. Which I believed I was a better fit for as working alone I certainly didn’t fall under the Family Business criteria.
Lets talk a little about the categories; Made in Herts was open to any Hertfordshire based business who’s products are produced in the county. Who also demonstrated a passion for working with and supporting other locally based businesses. A lot of my client based is in and around Hertfordshire and I originated from Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
The New Business of the Year was open go any Hertfordshire Businesses that was in its early years and demonstrated rapid growth since starting up. They show a clear marketing plan and development strategy that demonstrates where they are heading in the future.
Thankfully because my business started out as a hobby and didn't go full time until 2020 I qualified for this category as they classed me as a business under 3 years.
The finals were taking place at Tewinbury Farm, Welwyn on 7th July. I had just over a month to purchase my ticket for the event and find a dress worthy of an awards night. Last year I had attended the awards with my Husband, Matt but due to the costs involved I decided to put my big girl pants on and attend the event on my own.
This was a huge deal for me as it may shock some people but I’m actually a shy person and mixing with large groups of people isn’t my strongest point. But I found out a friend of mine was attending with to represent her employer so I knew I had a friendly face for when I arrived.
There was a champagne reception and the opportunity to mingle and network before sitting down at 6:45pm for our beautiful meal. I was sat on table 23, a great table to be sitting on during the 2023 awards. Sat with some very welcoming people from Flamingo Horticulture and Myers Clark Accounting.
The 2 course meal was a lovely, braised steak dish with mash potato with a sorbet, meringue dessert. Which was delicious. Shortly after the meal and before the awards ceremony began we had a little entertainer from a comedian. Which was a nice way to take my mind of how nervous I was feeling about the awards, or maybe it was the pink gin I consumed too!
During the awards ceremony there was 12 different categories to go through and I sat patiently waiting for my two categories. The other guests who were sat on my table had already won and award each and the nerves were kicking in more wondering if was I was going to be the only one not going home with an award. The first category was announced, Made in Herts, and I have to say my table was amazing giving me the biggest cheer as Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes was announced as a finalist. Sadly I did not win this category but I knew I still had another chance.
Another agonising 15 minutes passed before the New Business of the Year category was announced. Even now as I write this, I am absolutely flabbergasted that my name was called as the winner. I know how hard I work and those close to me too, but I didn’t know if I had got across my passion well enough to the judges.
It was a true Oscars moment, in absolute shock, face in my hands and saying ‘no way’ to the people sat with me. I remember as I made my way up to the stage to collect my award that my heart was pounding a million miles and hours and I could feel the tears filling in my eyes. I had done it, me, someone who knew nothing about how to run a business and had gathered as knowledge from those around me to become an award winning business!
Watch the moment my business was announced the winner here (fast forward to 8:16 for my winning catergory)
What did this mean to me???
When I started Tracy’s Treasured Keepsakes 5 years ago I had very little knowledge of how to run a business, the practical side of creating keepsakes wasn’t an issue, promoting my work across social media effectively was far from easy but that was something I could develop over time. As long as I shared photos of my work I’d hope that my passion would have shone through. But the background of a business, the admin, the marketing of a business this was all very alien to me and I worked hard to gather as much knowledge as I could from others around me to work towards being a successful business allowing me to help more people turn their clothes into beautiful keepsakes. So to have a panel of judges who are completely separate from my business and looking from the outside was an amazing moment, knowing they could see my business was truly special and what it meant to my customers.
I’m certainly not going to top here, in September I have another awards night to attend.
The Best Businesswomen awards 2023 where I am a finalist for Best Creative Business. So watch this space to see if I bring home another award for my sewing room.
Thank you to each and every one of my customers and loyal followers for all their support on my journey to becoming an award winning business. I couldn’t have done it with out you.
If you would like to see what is is about my work that makes me award winning head on over the the home page and check out some of the keepsakes I offer.