The 2018 British Small Business Awards (BSBAs), held on October 31st at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, will bring together the UK’s best small business with the advisers and financiers that helped them succeed.
We speak to Harriet Mears, founder of Secret Linen Store, about how the company has got on since winning the Online Business of the Year award in 2017.
What is the background of the company and what is its USP?
We started in 2013. Molly and I had been working together in the bedroom furniture industry for years. We had small children and wanted to do something different that we could fit in around our families.
Molly is the designer, and everything in our collection has been designed and developed by her. We only use the best quality fabrics and work with suppliers that we know and trust – generally other small or family-run businesses like us.
Our ethos is all about good sleep, so each and every product is designed to make sure it enhances sleep, using natural fabrics and the best ingredients we can find.
How has it grown since it began?
In 4 years we have grown to £2.5 million turnover, and still with a small headcount of only seven people. We have a really loyal customer base, and our repeat purchase is high for a product you don’t tend to need that often.
How did you find out about the BSBAs last year and how did you find the nomination process?
We saw something online I believe, or may have received an email about it. The nomination process was really straightforward, so we thought ‘why not?’
How was the event?
The event was great fun. We seemed to be on a winning table and found ourselves next to Pip & Nut who we both adore for their delicious nut butters.
Who doesn’t love an excuse to pop on a pretty dress and some heels, right?
How has the business performed since the win? Did you get feedback about it from suppliers, partners and customers?
I’m not sure that we found many new customers, but we continue to grow and are 50 per cent up on last year currently. We certainly raised our profile in the industry, and received some praise and enquiries from potential suppliers.
Overall, what can you say about the experience of winning an award like this in terms of the impact it can have on a small business?
It’s really positive. Building a business from nothing is never going to be easy, so anything we can do to show that we are achieving and getting recognition for our efforts is gratefully received.