It’s been a turbulent couple of years for fashion independents and suppliers. And while the pandemic has been a testing time for many, it has also allowed brands and retailers to reinvent their businesses and come out the other side stronger than ever.
But make no mistake – we know it’s still tough for small businesses. The pandemic has changed the way consumers shop forever while the cost-of-living crisis is putting extra strain on us all.
Today’s fashion businesses need to stand out from the competition more than ever. And one way of doing that is by setting your business apart by being shortlisted – and possibly winning – a prestigious industry award.
Launched in 2019, the Boutique Star Awards is back this year after a two-year pandemic-imposed break. It’s the industry’s most exciting competition, created by the only trade publication in the UK that is dedicated to independent fashion and lifestyle retailers.
Entering will give you the chance to be recognised at national level as an industry leader. Those making the shortlist will see their business profile raised among peers and suppliers. Meanwhile, winners will receive a gold star trophy alongside a winner’s email signature logo and website banner for all to see in honour of their excellence.
This year there are 15 categories for boutiques and suppliers from Womenswear Independent of the Year and Independent Group of the Year to British Brand of the Year and Occasionwear Brand of the Year (more here).
The competition is open to all multi-brand independent retailers operating at least one bricks-and-mortar store as well as wholesale fashion and lifestyle suppliers. Entries are open now and close on 1 July 2022.
Here are 10 reasons to enter your business for a chance to win a trophy…
1. Set yourself apart
Winning an award is always good for business. And winning a Boutique Star Award means suppliers, customers and your team will know you’re officially the best in the industry (if you didn’t know that already). Plus, it will add extra kudos to your brand, service and product offering among potential customers too.
2. Free marketing
There isn’t a lot that comes for free these days. However, being able to call yourself an award-winning boutique or brand is probably the best marketing tool that money can’t buy. Those that make the shortlist receive free logos and marketing content to use on websites, adverts and social media channels while the winner of every category also receives a beautiful glass trophy for their mantelpiece.
3. Increased credibility
You’re undoubtedly very well-known and respected in your local area. But gaining a place on the shortlist will also put your boutique on the map among industry insiders and suppliers. So, if you want to bag an exclusive brand, entering a national competition is a great way to boost your credibility.
4. Boost sales and loyalty
The prestige and free marketing that comes with being shortlisted for an award can attract new customers and build loyalty. Not only will it help raise brand awareness, but being selected for the shortlist – or ultimately winning – will cement your position as a truly outstanding business.
5. Only indies can enter
The Boutique Star Awards are only open to independent businesses – meaning you won’t be competing with huge corporations with colossal budgets to get short-listed or win a trophy.
6. It’s free
You don’t have to pay to enter the Boutique Star Awards. Retailers and suppliers can enter as many categories as they are eligible for and won’t have to pay a penny (although if you are shortlisted, you may want to attend the ticketed winners’ party – more on that later).
7. The awards are credible
All entries are scrutinised by an independent judging panel made up of industry insiders who are passionate about indies and want to reward the most deserving businesses. Entries will be judged fairly and impartially, meaning any retailer and brand has a chance of winning an award.
8. Entering is good for team morale
Industry awards are a great way to recognise and celebrate the fantastic work of your team. Submitting an entry will show your employees how much you truly value and respect their hard work. And if you’re selected for the shortlist, the excitement (and prospect of accepting the trophy at the winners’ party) can provide a real morale boost. It’s also a great way to stand out as a leading employer when attracting fresh talent for your team.
9. We all need an excuse to celebrate
This year’s Boutique Star Awards winners’ party will take place on Tuesday 7 November at a swanky London hotel. Everyone is invited and we can guarantee fizz, delicious food, good company and an after-ceremony dance party (more details to follow soon).
10. Networking opportunities
Of course, the winners’ party is much more than a good old knees-up – it’s also a great place to find inspiration and network with other likeminded business owners.
So, what are you waiting for?