What a crazy headline, right? But it’s real and it’s about me!! Today is one of those days where I have to repeatedly (and gently) pinch myself to believe it’s real, that I’ve not somehow been mistaken for someone else and am actually a massive fraud.
As I type, I’m heading home from London having attended an afternoon tea reception at the House of Lords, thanks to Small Business Saturday and Lord Young of Graffham. The same me who this morning was shivering on the playground cuddling an emotional 4-year-old, having dropped a 2.5-year-old at nursery with ‘Doggy’ – a teddy without whom life as she knows it is over. The same me who takes 100mg of Sertraline every day after a breakdown at the beginning of 2018, who found parenthood exponentially harder than I could ever have imagined, who works 25+ hours a week in a coffee shop alongside running this business, training as a nail technician, and being wife, mummy, daughter, friend, cat owner, food shopping buyer, floor sweeper, laundry washer. I’m not saying this because I think I deserve a medal, I’m saying this because I am the most normal of women, receiving the most incredible experiences and accolades.
Small Business Recognition
When Apples & Pips was awarded a place as one of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100 for 2018, I was exciting and honoured, but didn’t really know what the accolade would entail. This past couple of months have been a whirlwind of press interviews, events, product launches, and copious oat milk mochas with at least 2 shots of espresso at a time. It’s amazing!
Just last week I was thrilled to also be chosen by Theo Paphitis as one of his #SBS winners, meaning I join another talented and inspirational alumni and will even get to meet the man himself next year. This year Apples & Pips has also been a finalist in 3 business awards, being awarded the ‘Highly Commended’ certificate at one of them.
What is Small Business Saturday?
“Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.”
– Quoted from the Small Business Saturday UK website
Now while I am a member of the ‘Every time you buy from a small business a real person does a happy dance’ club – my happy dance is EPIC – I also know that I can’t even think about competing with the marketing budget of John Lewis (Elton said no to me), the next day convenience of Amazon (but I do pay my taxes in full), or the product development capabilities of Samsung. But I’m also not about to play a pity card and tell you that you have to choose my shop over a big business, in order to keep me afloat.
So if it’s not a pity party, what is it all about? It’s about creativity, it’s about homegrown talent, it’s about the personal touch, it’s about the things that small businesses do have which massively compensate for what we don’t have as listed above.
Small Business Saturday is the antithesis of Black Friday, which is generally a day of despair for small business owners who simply cannot offer the insane discounts and deals available elsewhere. It is a day to shout loud and proud about why we are amazing and why we deserve your hard-earned money, your social media likes, shares, and follows. It’s us standing up as a collective and saying:
“When you buy from a small business, you get more than just a product or service. You get a conversation, you get a product or service borne of love and passion.
Back to today…
Nothing in my life is simple, and I got to London early in order to spend an hour with my Nan who is currently ‘holidaying’ at University College Hospital. She’s 95, the most stubborn woman I know (although Martha is a close second) and has given us a few scares this year, so I had to ensure I was able to see her.
I spent time with Nan, then hot footed it across London to Westminster and made my way to Black Rod’s Garden to find my fellow #SmallBiz100 finalists. I passed the security checks (whoop!) and found myself in a reception space with prosecco flowing, cameras snapping, and the buzz of small business owners chatting. I saw some familiar faces from the Small Biz 100 Blue Tie Ball that I attended back in September, and had the pleasure of meeting some new people too. I chatted to local businesswoman Elizabeth from Hay Hampers, who is based only a short drive from me, Áine from Northern Ireland’s first ever tea bar – INFUSE Artisan Tea, and Chris from The DM Lab, amongst many others.
Lord Young of Graffham, former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Government adviser on enterprise and small business, hosted the event, and we heard from Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, as well as Small Business Saturday UK’s Director Michelle Ovens MBE.
It was a lovely reception, with tasty food to accompany the bubbles and hot drinks, and I cannot thank Michelle and the Small Business Saturday team enough for choosing Apples & Pips to be a part of this incredible campaign.
I would love to hear how you support small businesses; whether it’s buying a gift set or a mug from me, visiting a local coffee shop for a catch up with friends, hiring a local service provider, or commissioning a piece of art or jewellery from an independent designer, there are loads of incredible products and services out there. And I know money is tight – believe me I do – but every purchase matters whether it’s big or small, as does every share of our social media posts, tag of a friend who may love what we do, and every review left to help show prospective customers or clients just how great we are!