If you came along to our Christmas markets in Rhiwbina and Penarth last year, you would have been lucky enough to see the work of Hayley McGhan of Zac & Bella. Barrybased, Hayley designs and makes a range of beautiful clothing and accessories for children & adults and her hard work was recently recognised by Dragons Den Judge, Theo Paphitis at his Small Business Sunday (#SBS) awards.
I caught up with Hayley to find out more about her award and the ceremony she recently attended in Birmingham....
How did you become a #SBS winner? What did you have to do?
I became an #SBS winner on May 22nd 2017. Every Sunday, Theo rewards small businesses that tweet him @TheoPaphitis and describe their businesses in one tweet including the all-important hashtag #SBS. Only tweets made in the time slot between 5.00 PM and 7.30 PM each Sunday count. I had entered for quite a few weeks & the tweet that won for me was a very simple description of my business with some really eye catching photography of my products.
What does the award mean to you?
I was absolutely blown away to have won the award. At 8pm on the Monday when Theo retweeted my tweet my phone went crazy for 2 hours and then continued into the following week! Theo has over 500,000 followers therefore the exposure to such a huge audience was fantastic. I gained many new followers and still do as a result of the award. The biggest thing for me however was to have my business recognised by such a high profile successful business man. From all the businesses who apply each week, less than 1% are successful so it was huge recognition.
Any top tips to other small businesses hoping to win?
Keep trying! I entered every Sunday for quite a few weeks. Keep your tweet simple & punchy- Theo loves humour so adding a bit of personality also helps! And also some eye catching images will help your tweet stand out. You can also find tips from Theo’s website www.theopaphitis.com.
Where was the award ceremony held? How did you celebrate?
I was given my award during the #SBS event which is held annually at Birmingham ICC. The day was absolutely amazing as it was a huge networking event. I was able to meet other winners who I’d built up a relationship with over Twitter & we even swapped products to advertise for each other. There were guest speakers at the event including AO.coms John Roberts who was so inspiring & the support you felt for small business to be successful was overwhelming. The sponsors of the event including Ryman stationary, iLaw, hp, Robert Dyas and DHL were holding meet the expert sessions - the free advice & knowledge I got was invaluable. The highlight of the event was obviously meeting Theo himself and receiving my award. And for the journey home we had the best goody bag!
What was Theo like?!
Theo was brilliant! He was very down to earth & so inspiring. His talk about small businesses being the backbone of Great Britain left me feeling as though my business is good enough and you don’t have to be a huge international retailer to be successful. Meeting him for an official photograph was great, I took along some Zac & Bella new lines which he had a good look at and he was very sincere in congratulating me - I can’t wait for next years event already!
A huge congratulations to Hayley on her award! To find out more about Hayley and the Zac & Bella range, visit her page on the Little Otter Events directory.
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.