Joanne Smith
Anna Addison

Member Article

Lancashire wedding expert has first anniversary ‘covered’

An award-winning business is celebrating its first anniversary in the Lancashire area having been named as one of the company’s most successful operations.

Joanne Smith, from Chorley, established Simply Bows and Chair Covers- specialists in hiring chair covers, table linen, sashes and other accessories for weddings, private parties and corporate events- at the end of August 2011.

In just under twelve months Joanne has carried out around 50 events around Lancashire and has already taken on one other person to work alongside her at venues such as the North Euston Hotel in Fleetwood, Alston Hall and Samlesbury Hall in Preston and Browsholme Hall in Clitheroe where Joanne has just completed a photo-shoot to showcase Simply Bows and Chair Covers’ new ranges.

Thanks to her rapidly growing and respected reputation in the hotel and wedding sectors, Joanne recently took part in Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector where she was asked to give her critique on a wedding set-up at The Bellingham Hotel in Wigan which was updated and restored as part of the TV programme.

Simply Bows and Chair Covers is a franchised business and is on target to open 30 by 2013. The company has 11 other franchises in locations such as Harrogate, Dundee and Perth, Berkshire and around the North East and Yorkshire. Joanne operates across the whole of the Lancashire area encompassing the Ribble Valley, the Fylde Coast, Blackpool, Chorley, Wigan, Preston and Blackburn.

Joanne, a law and business studies graduate from Liverpool Hope University who previously worked at high profile hotels in managerial roles, said: “Chair covers, sashes and the right accessories can transform an event- and are now seen as a must for weddings. But they must be done right. That’s why we offer bespoke covers, made-to-measure for a specific venue, that are only ever fitted by our experts.

“Having worked in the hotel industry for several years before launching my franchise, I know how hard it can be to get the finishing touches just right and realised a major gap in the market for good quality table linen and chair covers. I’ve had an amazing first year and am now building on the work I’ve put in to do even more events in the coming year.”

Northumberland-based entrepreneur, Sarah Pittendrigh, established Simply Bows and Chair Covers in 2008 and has won a series of awards since then including best website finalist in the Franchise Marketing Awards in 2010, second only to McDonalds; Winner of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum ‘If We Can You Can Challenge’ in 2010; Winner of Business Growth Award – Entrepreneurs Forum 2011; and Winner of North East Business Awards 2012 in the Newcomer category.

Plans are now 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.

Speaking about Joanne’s success, Sarah said: “Joanne has certainly become one of our most successful franchisees in a short period of time. To have completed around 50 events in her first year is a real achievement- and getting on TV was a real coup! Joanne has exceptional flair and dedication as well as great experience in the hotel and wedding sectors and I’m thrilled to see her doing so well.”


Editor’s Notes

  • Sarah Pittendrigh set up her company in 2008 after being made bankrupt when the national events company she worked for suffered the effects of the economic downturn. Sarah discovered a gap in the market for stylish, high-quality chair covers and linen whilst helping to organise her brothers wedding and came up with the idea for Simply Bows and Chair Covers.
  • Before becoming a successful entrepreneur, Sarah Pittendrigh worked in marketing for brands such as Land Rover and Jaguar as well as being a national events organiser.

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

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