Entrepreneur Natalie Dawson is celebrating after scooping a North East Business Women of the Year award.
The awards, also known as the WIN Awards, marked their 21st anniversary last month with a glittering gala awards night at The Grand Hotel, Gosforth.
Natalie, who founded her handmade cosmetics business Awesome Botanical from her spare room in 2020, won the Best New Business at the prestigious awards.
Natalie launched her company after making bath bombs as a hobby that helped ease her anxiety and gave her something to do after being furloughed from her dad’s shopfitting business.
Read more: Well-known business leader receives a CBE from Princess Royal
“It was just something I enjoyed doing and then I started to study cosmetics and essential oils. I produced some bath bombs and whipped body scrubs for my grandma’s birthday and then gave further samples to other family members and the feedback was ‘awesome.’
“My family persuaded me that my hobby would make a good business, so I launched Awesome Botanical. Our Indulgent Bath and Body Care products are all handmade and we commit ourselves to be cruelty free,” she added.
The business received a massive boost last year when former Dragon’s Den Theo Paphitis, chose Awesome Botanicals as a winner in his immensely popular Small Business Sunday (#SBS) competition on Twitter. Theo tweeted about Awesome Botanical to his 500,000 Twitter followers and Natalie watched as her social media presence dramatically increased and orders flooded in.
It was after the #SBS win that Natalie, who has a diploma in organic skincare, decided to move the business out of her home and into a ‘proper’ workshop in Hypoint business centre on Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead.
Now she’s hoping her WIN award will increase the profile of her business further.
“I was absolutely thrilled to win and certainly didn’t expect to do so. The timing couldn’t have been better in terms of raising my profile – I went full-time with the business in August and we have a busy Christmas coming up.
“Winning the award means a lot, it’s recognition of the hard work I’ve put in, and also the potential of Awesome Botanical – we’ve come a long way in a short period of time, but the potential to grow is massive.”
Natalie is currently take part in a Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme: “It’s a free, six-month programme which is proving really helpful and there were a few of us from the programme at the WIN awards. The programme is helping me to plan to grow the business.”
That growth will include a busy lead-up to Christmas, with appearances at festive fairs and events including a festive fair at York Race Course between November 10 and 13; a Christmas Market in Spanish City, Whitley Bay between November 18 and 20, and a pop-up stall within Boots in Eldon Square, Newcastle between November 21 and 27.
“I’ve added some new body butters to my range from Christmas, and I’m also doing Christmas Advent calendars as well as Christmas gift sets, which range from £14.99 to £30.”
This year’s WIN awards came after a two-year, Covid-enforced break, and aimed to highlight the vision, enterprise and inspirational spirit of women across the region.
Nickie Gott OBE, Chair of WIN Awards, said: “It was fantastic to be back, and I am so in awe of all of the shortlisted women and the winners. The standard was exceptional, and judging was incredibly tough. All these women are inspirational role models. When we set up these awards, we wanted to turn the spotlight on the amazing women we have in the region, who work across a whole range of businesses and organisations and I know we have achieved that.”
Other WIN Award winners included: Kris Blackburn from The Running Fox Group (Susan Dobson Award for Entrepreneurship – North East Woman Entrepreneur of The Year); Louise Kennedy of Oculus HR (Best Small Business); Karbon Homes (Employer of the Year); Linda Kirk from Just Women (Role Model of the Year); Alison Stephenson of AAA Caring Caretaker (Rising Star Award) and Elaine Parker from Safer Date (Innovation Award).
For more information about Awesome Botanicals, go to www.awesomebotanical,com
To find out more about Haylofts and HyHubs, who operate Haylofts, Hoults Yard and Hypoint in Gateshead, go to www.hyhubs.com
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