What a crazy day Friday ended up being! The shop was busy, the web orders were pouring in, the phone was ringing, and I was unexpectedly alone in the shop for much of the day (thanks Tanya for coming in at short notice to give me a chance to get my hair done!). We LOVE crazy around here - but the fun was only just starting!
So with the shop shut at 5:30pm I had until 6:10pm to be dressed in my glad rags, do make-up and nails, and be out the door for the South Canterbury Business Awards. Artfull Crafts had made the finals in the Small Retail Category (5 or less full-time employees). That's pretty much most of the Timaru retail district! Large retail finalists were Noel Leeming and New World. There were 3 other businesses in our category and I was nervous about the stiff competition. Our applications had been judged by professionals in the business world - including Peter Townsend from the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce - so that also made me a bit nervous! How would they view this business which has evolved from a hobby to home-based business to a big store in Timaru City?
The other categories were Small and Large Tourism & Hospitality, Manufacturing & Primary Produce, Emerging Business, Service & Community Organisation, Technology & Innovation, and Sustainability.
The evening was a Black Tie dinner event - so I did take the opportunity to buy a lovely new dress! It was held at the Caroline Bay Hall and there were 400 people attending - including the Mayor, Councillors and other dignitaries! The MC for the evening was Rawdon Christie from TVNZ's Breakfast Show and there was a range of entertainment (some better than others - side note here - I don't see the need for dirty jokes and innuendo at such a wonderful uplifting events). Anyway, there were plenty of reasons to smile (like when the Mayor mispronounced Edinburgh...)
The awards were presented during the 3 course meal. Each category was introduced by the sponsor and then 30sec videos shown of each finalist. Our camera man was with us for about 10 minutes catching some footage and we didn't know what the end product would look like. That made me nervous too! Then they announced the winner as...
..... ARTFULL CRAFTS (clap clap, cheer cheer!)
We got a really loud cheer! We had some other friend's businesses in the finals too and so it was great to feel the love.
Graham and I made our way to the stage and I was pretty excited! I had a plan that if we won Viv would record the speech on Graham's iphone, Diana would take some photos on my iphone (before it ran out of battery) and Ella would take some fancy photos on her beautiful camera! So we had all the bases covered. We received a lovely trophy, framed certificate and beautiful orchids. I gave my speech (remembered to thank the staff and loyal customer - as if I would forget them) and then headed out to the photography room. The ladies taking the photos were commenting how excited I was (wouldn't you be??!).
We waited to the end of the evening to hear how we did in the People's Choice Award. We had a HUGE response from you (our loyal customers and friends) and we knew we were in the top five. BUT they said prior to the announcement that even though thousands of votes had been cast, there were so few between the top four, that they wanted to recognise the 3 runner ups. Artfull Crafts was called as a runner up! That was such a great result. I mean, we were up against big businesses like the Cancer Society and so we were very satisfied with the Retail Award.
The evening was topped off with some great dancing (and Graham and I were able to practice our dance moves from Thursday night's Charleston's Class!). Here's our table:
Ella, Christine, Liz, Graham, Juanita, Miss Betsy and Diana. (Vicki and Lowri missing)
We thank you all again for helping us get to where we are today. It's a team award - so pat yourselves on the back and share in our success!
We will load the speech up on Facebook (but we're off to the Queen Concert tonight. Can the weekend get any more exciting?). Yes - it already has! We sold our house in ChCh yesterday and are now free to settle in Timaru properly. Soon we won't feel like gypsies.