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Awards can give independents a real boost

Becci Cornelius, Director of Ann’s Cottage Surf Shops, which has nine stores in Cornwall.

If you happened to bump into me over the past couple of weeks or so you will have noticed a huge smile on my face. The reason for this is that Ann’s Cottage was named Lifestyle Independent of the Year at the Drapers Independents Awards 2013. Words cannot express how proud I am to have won this category.

To be recognised by Drapers as being the best at what we do is a massive achievement. It could almost feel slightly intimidating entering for a Drapers Award, but I would encourage any indie retailer to do it - if you are passionate about your business and it is evident throughout then you’re already halfway there.

For us, the benefits of winning this award go far beyond the ceremony. The accolade of being Lifestyle Independent of the Year creates so many opportunities and it’s vital to capitalise on this achievement. Raising our company profile, reinforcing credibility, connecting to new brands, networking, attracting new staff and inspiring current employees are just a few of the advantages to winning an award.

Being an indie retailer is tough. Competing with chain stores and a customer base that is migrating online are just two of the challenges we have to manage. Awards add value to your reputation and market positioning, ensuring you stand apart from competitors and can persuade potential customers that purchasing from you is the right decision.

The benefits of being an independent store are endless: we are part of the community, drawing in customers who have a taste for something different; we can be reactive to what’s happening around us, break the rules and set our own limits - it is not a ‘one size fits all’ experience.

The Drapers Independents Awards celebrate this individuality and innovation and we will ensure we harness the power of our win. New doors are certain to open and we will be sure to walk through them.

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