A UTTOXETER firm dedicated to all things vintage has celebrated its first year in style – by taking home a breakthrough business award.
The Vintage Suitcase is the first joint venture of former Thomas Alleyne’s High School pupil Allison Elkes and her business partner Gemma Miller and the first year has seen them go from strength to strength.
Now they have taken home the Breakthrough Business gong at this year’s National Vintage Awards, which were held at The Fazeley Studios in Birmingham.
Mrs Miller said: “We attended the awards last year just a few days after holding our very first event in Matlock and we had an amazing evening.
“We weren’t sure what to expect but we met some fabulous people and made some brilliant contacts within the industry, so when this new award category was announced just before Christmas we knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
“The nominations were announced at the beginning of April so we’ve been busy campaigning for votes whilst also working towards promoting our summer events. It’s been hard work but it’s definitely paid off.”
The Breakthrough Business award was a new category for 2014 and finalists were picked through a public vote and the winner was then chosen by the Vintage Academy, which coaches vintage businesses and runs training days.
Following the public vote, the top three businesses were then judged based on a criteria including how well the business has developed since it’s inception, a good quality logo and consistent branding and their use of social media to keep in touch with customers.
The awards are described as being ‘where the vintage elite meet’ and included a champagne high tea followed by live music from Bexi Owen, winner of last year’s Vintage Performer of the Year.
Mrs Elkes said: “To win this award based on both a public vote and a judging panel who we look up to both personally and professionally has been a huge achievement for us both.
“Social media plays such a huge part of our business so it’s fantastic for us to be recognised for this. It clearly shows that we must be doing something right. We genuinely feel that our win had a great deal to do with the support we have received from our Facebook and Twitter followers who have been cheering us on for the past few weeks.
“We are both so proud of the events we have held over the last year. We have a great roster of vintage traders who tell us how much they love our fairs and we’ve built up a loyal following of customers who try to attend all of our events. We can’t thank everyone enough for their support.”
Keeley Harris, co-founder of Vintage Academy, added: “The Vintage Suitcase are very worthy winners of this award as they have made a big impact in a short space of time to a very competitive sector of vintage business.”
The Vintage Suitcase will be returning to Uttoxeter Racecourse on August 2 for The Summer of Vintage Festival with vintage and handmade traders, live music and visitors can try the lindy hop and rock and roll dancing.