Sarah Pittendrigh
Anna Addison

Member Article

Sarah?s simply ?on song? as business thrives

An award-winning North East entrepreneur has clinched significant new contracts in the last six months and was also selected to dress a number of celebrity events held in the region.

Sarah Pittendrigh, from Northumberland, runs Simply Bows and Chair Covers, specialising in quality chair covers, linen and accessories for weddings, balls and corporate events.

So far this year, Sarah has completed around 200 weddings and events- a 25% increase compared to this time last year- and was asked to dress a concert at Close House Hotel featuring Katherine Jenkins and the National Symphony Orchestra held in September.

Hundreds of guests attended the concert where Sarah dressed the VIP marquee and the main house for dining guests.

In addition, Simply Bows and Chair Covers has this year dressed the VIP event for the Durham Miner’s Gala held at the Marriott Hotel in the city in July and a celebrity golf event held in aid of CHUF- the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle- and the Seb for CHUF Charity Ball, also held at Close House.

Earlier this month, it was also revealed that Sarah will represent 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, is a finalist in the Most Promising New Business category thanks to her ongoing success and growth over a short period of time.

In August, Simply Bows and Chair Covers added its 11thfranchise as it opened in the Dundee, Fife and Perth region headed by a mother and daughter team. Sarah is also in the process of securing a franchisee to launch her company in the lucrativeLondonmarket as enquiries from top hotels continue to grow.

Sarah established Simply Bows and Chair Covers in 2008 after discovering a gap in the market for stylish, high-quality chair covers and linen whilst helping to organise her brother’s wedding.

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 theUK.

Just two years on the business has 11 franchises fromAberdeendown to Berkshire with plans to take Simply Bows and Chair Covers into Europe and beyond after receiving enquiries from countries such asFrance,Spainand the UAE.

Sarah said: “It’s so encouraging to see Simply Bows and Chair Covers go from strength to strength as my team works incredibly hard in a difficult marketplace. We’re a high-end product but that’s why we’re thriving- we know our market well and we provide exceptional levels of service.

“The business is growing steadily- faster than I predicted- and I’m getting so many new enquiries especially in theLondonregion so that’s where I hope to open my next franchise. It’s a ready-made market for the right person.”

Earlier this year, Sarah was named the 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, wereparticularly impressed with the simplicity of Simply Bows and Chair Covers’ proposition and the excellent financial strength being delivered through this model.

In addition, the company has won other awards including the Franchise Marketing Awards- best website finalist, second only to McDonalds; Winner of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum ‘If We Can You Can Challenge’, Winner of Business Growth Award – Entrepreneurs Forum 2011.

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

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