Pure London is the UK’s leading fashion trade show, where boutique owners and department store buyers from around the country gather to peruse the latest offerings from brands – deciding which to take back to their stores. During the event there are catwalk shows, talks with industry experts and an award ceremony that celebrates the country’s best independent fashion retailers.

On a freezing Sunday in December I decided to enter Grace & Ted into the Pure London Independent Retailer of the Year awards. With no expectations that they would even read our entry I wrote about the independent shop events I have organised as well as our aspirations for the business.

You can imagine how shocked we were when I received an email at the end of January to say that we’d been shortlisted as finalists for the Independent Retailer of the Year (South West) category! Having never won anything ever in my life (other than a tin of beans at a tombola, who hasn’t) this was enough for me. We had a ‘finalist’ window sticker printed by our friends at Minute Man Press so that when we didn’t win, we could still be proud of our achievement every day.

On the day of the awards, we set off to London after work and arrived at the Olympia in time to check out the rails, watch a catwalk show and listen to the incredible Zandra Rhodes talk about sustainable fashion.

As the time came for the awards to be announced, we were nervous but not too optimistic considering the stiff competition we were up against (including beautiful boutique Sisi & May, our sort-of neighbours in Bath.)

So imagine our absolute shock when Grace & Ted were announced as the winners in our category! We couldn’t believe it and as the music blared signalling our movement, mum looked at me as if to say “what do we do now?” All I could think about was not tripping on my way up the rustic and somewhat uneven wooden stage.

We collected our award, had numerous photos with the presenters and other winners and smiled so much our cheeks hurt. I can only imagine it’s what winning an Oscar feels like.

Because we had to get back for the dog, we unfortunately had to skip the post-awards networking and drinks but did have time to stop for a celebratory Burger King at the Motorway Services. I can only imagine it’s what Angelina Jolie does after she wins an Oscar.

The beautiful solid glass block etched with our names now graces the window sill in the shop and the ‘finalist’ sticker didn’t even make it onto the window. Now we have ‘winners’ 🙂



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