Firstly we won Best Children's Business in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire 2021-'22 and then AGAIN in 2022-'23 and now....... *FANFARE PLEASE*
We didn't win the first ever NATIONALS.
You've read that right. We DIDN'T win (awwww) but.... I'm not even sad! (Yay)
And I'll tell you why....
We were nominated for this award by our customers - an honour in itself!
It then went to a customer vote against the other nominees in our category.
Our customers voted, quite literally in their thousands.
We WON best children's business in our group - Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. TWICE!
All based on support given by Dixie Dot customers who think we are doing a good job.
And it's that simple.
We love our customers and our customers love us enough to vote for us to win.
That, when all is said and done, is reward enough.
Being recognised by Muddy Stilettos is wonderful - they gave our customers this opportunity and we are very grateful for that, and very grateful for our awards.
Let me tell you why the Muddy Stilettos awards in particular are so special to us.
Did you know that a lot of business 'awards' have to be bought?
Yep! You have to pay to enter.
Over the years I've had many emails congratulating me for being a finalist in some business awards. I was doubtful, and I was right to be.
Firstly you have to nominate yourself. Yes, actually put yourself in as a nominee. Not because someone else has recognised what you have to offer, but because you want to be in with a chance of winning.
Then you read the smallprint... and have to pay a 'registration' fee. The last one I was offered was £800-£1500 depending on what category you wished to be in.
After that it was put to a panel of judges I'd never heard of and who'd never heard of me and we could all attend a mildly glam ceremony which would provide great photos and marketing opportunities and look good on your social media.
Bought and paid for by the registration fee's of all the other small business 'finalists'.
Seemed a bit scammy to me. Not that they all are, of course. Some are totally legit. But I can't help feel that others are cashing in. I daresay if you have £800-1500 in your small business you could spend it on marketing in a much more successful way!
The Muddy's, however, well this is where they are different.
No money changing hands!
So, that being the case, I can't be sad that we have made it to the top 5 best children's businesses nationwide can I?
If I wasn't laying in my sick bed writing this I would indeed put on my gladrags, do my hair and make up and make a very longwinded video speech, probably with tears, definitely not wearing Versace, but as it is I'll stay put, keep warm and thank every single one of you for nominating and for voting for Dixie Dot.
More than that, actually, even more than that, I'd like to thank each and every one of you that's come through the doors, purchased something, stopped for a natter, attended a workshop, booked a party or ordered a cuppa.
After, frankly, the shittest 2 and a half years running a small business (that's half the time Dixie Dot has been open) we've battled many professional and personal things thrown at us that could have been a proper spanner in the works at ant point.
As it is, with sheer grit and determination, with immense hard work, with accumulated grey hairs and wrinkles, I sit here today so very proud of the broken me of 5 years ago, after an unexpected major life crash, the eating-from-a-foodbank, almost homeless, bankrupt, single Mum who decided to start 'a little craft business' and see where it went.
It took me here.
Top 5 Best Children's Business in the UK.
I'll take it, and I will absolutely run with it.
On a final note, I really can't help but hope that the job centre advisor who turned her nose up and told me I'd be better off cleaning toilets in a cafe than opening this business can hear my response still ringing in her ears all these years later.
'JUST YOU F*CKING WATCH ME.'
Thank you Dottie's and thank you Muddy Stilettos.