Sarah Pittendrigh
Anna Addison

Member Article

NE entrepreneur wins top UK award

A successful County Durham entrepreneur has won a major national business award.

Sarah Pittendrigh- from Kiln Pit Hill near Consett- runs Simply Bows and Chair Covers, specialising in quality chair covers, linen and accessories for weddings, balls and corporate events, and represented the North East region in the finals of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Chamber Awards 2012.

Sarah, who has gone from being bankrupt to running an award-winning franchise business in just two years, went on to win in the Most Promising New Business category thanks to her ongoing success and growth over a short period of time.

The Chamber Awards recognise and celebrate business excellence across the UK and Sarah beat off competition from a range of organisations, some with multi-million pound turnovers.

Speaking about the BCC Awards, Sarah said: “Just being short-listed was an overwhelming honour. I can’t believe that I went onto actually win against so many outstanding businesses. I was so proud to be representing the North East region. This award is for all my team all over the UK that make the business work and put in so many hours to ensure we’re a success. I’m now very excited to be working on launching in London in 2013.”

NECC chief executive, James Ramsbotham, added: “Many congratulations go to Sarah and everyone at Simply Bows and Chair Covers. “Sarah has shown an immense amount of determination and rightly deserves a huge amount of praise for what she has achieved. The level of her success is testament to her vision and drive and from that initial idea she has now gone on to support employment for dozens of people both in the North East and across the UK.

“I would like to congratulate her on her outstanding achievement and also congratulate all eight businesses that have represented the region at this year’s Chamber Awards.”

Sarah established Simply Bows and Chair Covers in 2008 after being made bankrupt when the national events company she worked for suffered the effects of the economic downturn.

Whilst helping to organise her brother’s wedding, Sarah found a gap in the market for stylish, high-quality chair covers and linen and launched her business in 2008 across the North East area.

Since then, Simply Bows and Chair Covers has grown rapidly and Sarah opted to launch the franchise operation in 2010 as customer demand for her unique service grew quickly all over the UK.

Just two years on, the business has 11 franchises from Aberdeen down to Berkshire and Sarah is on target to open 30 franchises by 2015. Plans are also being made to take Simply Bows and Chair Covers into Europe and beyond after receiving enquiries from countries such as France, Spain and the UAE.

Earlier this year, Sarah was crowned the winner of the Best Small Business award in the North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, organised by Women into the Network (WIN), and Newcomer of the Year in the North East Business Awards (April), which recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements of companies across the whole of the North East of England.

Sarah beat off competition from hundreds of entrants for her bold decision to franchise her company and judges, including a director from Virgin Money, were particularly impressed with the simplicity of Simply Bows and Chair Covers’ proposition and the excellent financial strength being delivered through this model.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Addison .

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