Monday, 30 December 2013

Simply a superb year!

This year saw the fifth anniversary of Simply Bows and Chair Covers and what a year it has been!

As this fabulous year draws to a close we thought that we would share with you some of our highlights and some of our favourite events.....

This year we have welcomed aboard four new franchisees/teams: Janine who manages our North Northumberland office, Kimberley who launched our new Essex office and Heather, Leanne and Nicola who jointly run our Newcastle office and Adele who opened up our first Wales office (South Wales).

We have also welcomed three new 'Baby Bows' to the world! Kristy (West Northumberland and Cumbria office), Vicki (Dundee and Perth) and Claire (Aberdeen) all gave birth to beautiful baby girls!


This year alongside some fantastic coverage in the press we were delighted to be awarded a BFA accreditation. The bfa's main role is to help potential franchisees recognise the good franchises and the not-so-good, as well as to help businesses involved in franchising to secure their own position amongst the "good".



Simply Bows and Chair Covers pride themselves on being innovative, always striving to bring new, exciting products to the market to allow brides and clients to have a truly unique wedding or event and this year was no exception. Our Autumn 'Elegant and Opulent' range went down a storm all over the UK!




 
To add to the fifth anniversary celebrations, Sarah Pittendrigh (MD) was also invited to a special business event in Birmingham. Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis, selected a number of entrepreneurs from around the UK to meet with him . The star chose Sarah after naming Simply Bows and Chair Covers as one of his top small businesses in his ‘Small Business Sunday’ challenge, which he holds weekly on Twitter.
 
Speaking about her fifth year in business, Sarah said: “This is such a milestone not only for me but for my franchisees too. What started out as a small idea that I thought could work across the North East has turned into a nationwide operation. It’s quite overwhelming when I stop to think about it but I have tremendous support from the brilliant business community in the North East, the franchisees around the UK, wonderful clients and hotels and, of course, my family.

Thank you all for your continued support of Simply Bows and Chair Covers. We look forward to sharing more beautiful events with you in 2014 and beyond.... but for now, here are just some of our favourite events of 2013... Happy New Year to you all!



Langley Castle, Northumberland

Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle

Otterburn Hall, Northumberland

The Elvetham, Berkshire

The Villa, Lancashire

The Tithe Barne, Carlisle

The White Swan, Northumberland

Seaham Hall Hotel & Spa

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Franchise in Focus: Janine from Northumberland


Introduce yourself, name, age, which region/ venues you cover... 

My Name is Janine Robinson, I am 29 years old and cover North Northumberland. This includes Doxford Hall, Eshott Hall, Ellingham Hall, Longhirst Hall, Linden Hall, Woodhill Hall, The Alnwick Garden and Castle, Guyzance Hall, Newton Hall and many more….



What is your background?

My background is in Renewable Energy events, where as PA to David Still CBE, I organised and attended exhibitions and high profile events as well as managing the National Renewable Energy Centre’s conference centre prior to that.

Why did you take a franchise with Simply Bows?

I worked with Simply Bows and Chair Covers on a part time basis dressing weddings and events in my spare time. When the opportunity came up to become a franchisee I jumped at the chance of becoming part of this excellent team and well-known brand.




Why do you love working for yourself?

The main reason I love working for myself is it gives me the flexibility to spend time with my 2 year old daughter Halle.


Why do you love being a Simply Bows franchisee?

Being part of someone’s wedding is very special and helping them create the look they want for their day is very rewarding. It’s great to walk away from a venue knowing you have made such a difference.

Which "look" that you can create is your favourite and why?

I love using the ruffles and chair veils, they create something totally different and unique.


If you could dress a celebrity wedding - whose would you choose and why? 

Jared Leto – he’s my dream man!


Any really memorable weddings that you have dressed? 

The first wedding I dressed in the ivory ruffles because they looked so lovely!



How would your friends describe you in three words?

Thoughtful, Funny, Caring – From the horses mouths, honestly I asked them! ;)


Are you married?  How did you dress your own wedding?
I am married. My husband Lee and I were married at Matfen Hall on 22nd August 2009. We had a burnt orange and chocolate brown colour scheme with Orange organza bows.

Why choose SImply Bows over another linen provider?

Our quality speaks for itself and our customer service is second to none, regardless as to the area you are in. Our business is multi award winning, and I bet there aren’t many others that can say that.

How can Simply Bows blog readers get in touch with you?

Email me on janine@simplybowsandchaircovers.co.uk or telephone 07581 707539

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Franchise in Focus: Susan from Dundee

Please introduce yourself, name, age, which region you cover...

      My name is Susan Boyle, 54 years old and live in the Tayside region(Dundee).  I cover Dundee, Perth, Fife and the surrounding areas.


What is your background?

            I worked for many years as a membership consultant in a health club before changing direction to the bridal industry.

Why did you take a franchise with Simply Bows and Chair Covers?

            I took a franchise with Simply Bows and Chair covers after reading an article about the founder of the company and I liked what I saw.



Why do you love working for yourself?

            I love the flexibility and lifestyle which is a huge part for me and also means I can work my life around it. It is very rewarding and I really love my job what is so great is that I know I am planning and working towards my own future and that of my family instead of working for a boss, ' I am my own boss'.

Why do you love being a Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchisee?

            I love that I have my own business but also having the support network of the company and other franchisees in such a rewarding industry.


Where do you see you, and your franchise in the next few years?

            I see my business growing quite rapidly in my first year and certainly in 3 years time I aim to be working part time in my franchise and reaping the rewards of a full time income with my two daughters on board part time too. A real family business!
  I am working towards running a very professional, highly recommended, well known, profitable business and loving it along the way.  It makes me feel special to be part of a couples big day and the feedback is amazing.  Here's to many more great years!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Simply Bows and Chair Covers Real Bride Beth and her Pitlochry wedding!

 What are your names?
 
Beth and Neil Henderson
 

 

Where and when did you get engaged?
 
We got engaged on the 17th February 2012. Neil surprised me by proposing in our flat in Aberdeen!

When did you tie the knot?
 
 6th July 2013 at Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry
 

Why did you choose there?
 
 I am originally from Perthshire so I had my heart set on getting married in that area. Neil and I went for a weekend trip to Pitlochry before we got engaged and we fell in love with the Atholl Palace. We looked at a couple of other venues but for us, nothing could compare to Atholl Palace.
 
Did you have a theme or colour scheme?
 
We went for a Garden theme.
Our colours for the day were green and peach. We incorporated this into the dresses, flowers, cake, chair ties. Everything!
 


Why did you choose Simply Bows and Chair Covers?
 
I went to the Aberdeen Wedding fair in January with the intention of sorting out the chair covers. After speaking to Claire, she informed me that Simply Bows Aberdeen would put me into contact with Simply Bows Dundee. Susan got into contact with me soon afterwards and everything went from there. Susan and Vicki were an absolute pleasure to work with and everything went perfectly!
 

What did you wear?
 
I wore a Sassi Holford dress with I purchased from Orlaya Bridal in Aberdeen. It was a strapless A-line dress with lace detail at the top and a diamanté design on the bodice. I also wore a matching lace bolero with the dress. It was gorgeous!
 

What about your bridesmaids?
 
My bridesmaids wore a green one shoulder chiffon dress from Ivory Whites in Perth. The one shoulder had rose detail. My flower girl wore a peach dress from Monsoon.
 

Who was your photographer?
 
Ritchie Patton. He is based in Glasgow but he does Weddings all over Scotland. His website is www.ritchiepatton.com. Highly recommended, his photos are fantastic!
 

What special touches did you have?
 
During our ceremony, we drank from the quaich. Most couples tend to use whiskey or Irn-Bru and Neil and I used a 15 year old rum instead.
 
After visiting Cuba, we developed a love for rum and so, it was lovely to share this moment on the day.
 
We also had a saxophonist instead of a piper on our Wedding day, he was fantastic!
 
 
What was your favourite part of the day?

Walking into the ceremony room while the saxophonist played 'Moon River'. As I walked in, Neil looked at me straight away and smiled. I will always remember that moment.
 

Did you go on honeymoon?
 
We went to St Lucia. Brilliant!


What is your top tip for other brides to be?
 
Once all of the organising is done, remember to relax and pamper yourself! You deserve it!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Simply Bows and Chair Covers Real Bride Gillian!

What are your names?
 
Gillian & Stuart
 
 

 
Where did you get engaged?
 
We got engaged whilst on holiday in Benidorm in August 2001
 
When and where did you get married?
 
31st of August 2013 at Forbes of Kingennie Country Resort
It was the most beautiful setting and function we had seen from many others and we also didn't want to be far out from Dundee.

Did you have a colour scheme or theme?
Just gold/copper colours with a hint of orange as we are big Dundee United supporters :)
 
Why did you choose Simply Bows and Chair Covers?
 
Susan was very professional and easy to speak to.  The quality of the sashes were the best we'd seen and her bows looked great!  Price was very average in comparison to other chair cover companies as well.

Tell us about your dress!
 
I had a slightly fitted off white sweetheart neck dress that flared out diagonally from my hips with diamante details on the front with a average size train.  Just loooved it!
 
What did your bridesmaids wear?
Made to measure copper/gold two tone knee length a-line dresses with sash just under bust with same colour flower attached to one shoulder strap (square neck shape).  They were beautiful!

Who was your photographer?
 
 Ron Cathro.  Excellent photographer!
 
What special touches did you have?
 
We had a chocolate fountain on entrance to function as you entered.  We had gold/orange large balloon display just before entrance to function.  Confetti balloons hanging from roof, which the kids burst to produce lots of little confetti balloons on to the floor.  Tall class vases with gold/ivory roses and thistles on each table.

What did you enjoy most about your day?
 
I enjoyed the whole day and night, but I did enjoy the evening more, our first dance and dancing all night with everyone and my new husband, of course.
 
Did you go on honeymoon?
 
Myself and my husband went to London for a short break, but we have a family honeymoon coming up in December where we're (my 6 year old daughter as well) going to see santa in Lapland!

What is your tip for other brides to be?
 
Be organised, plan well in advance and don't worry so much about everything coming together on the day because it does, but then again I would say that's with planning well in advance and being organised. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

We Simply Celebrate!

As well as celebrating our first 5 years in business this month, we have also  launched our first franchise in Wales, been selected as a preferred supplier at three  more top North East hotels and have been invited to a special business event by BBC Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis.


 
In South Wales, Adele Green has become Simply Bows and Chair Covers’ 14th franchisee and will be working with exclusive venues across the Rhondda Valley at some of the most prestigious event and wedding locations in the Cardiff, Newport and Brecon Beacons areas.
 
Back in the North East our Managing Director Sarah Pittendrigh, who herself operates the County Durham franchises, has secured preferred supplier status for three  more of the North East’s most prestigious venues, Seaham Hall, Auckland Castle and the recently refurbished Lord Crewe at Blanchland, adding to her already impressive list of clients which includes Rockliffe Hall in Hurworth, the Royal County Marriott in Durham Redworth Hall and Close House Hotel .


 
To add to the fifth anniversary celebrations, Sarah has also been invited to a special business event taking place this month in Birmingham. Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis, has selected a number of entrepreneurs from around the UK to meet with him . The star chose Sarah after naming Simply Bows and Chair Covers as one of his top small businesses in his ‘Small Business Sunday’ challenge, which he holds weekly on Twitter.
 
Speaking about her fifth year in business, Sarah said: “This is such a milestone not only for me but for my franchisees too. What started out as a small idea that I thought could work across the North East has turned into a nationwide operation. It’s quite overwhelming when I stop to think about it but I have tremendous support from the brilliant business community in the North East, the franchisees around the UK, wonderful clients and hotels and, of course, my family.
 
 
 
 
 
“I never expected to have been able to get this far so quickly and during a recession, but the long hours and sheer determination are paying off.  I won’t be resting on my laurels as I have big plans to  grow the business in the next 12 to 18 months as we look to open in London and the south east- no mean feat!”
 
Speaking about their new partnership with Simply Bows and Chair Cover, Rebecca Coates, head of marketing and visitor services at Auckland Castle, added: “Simply Bows and Chair Covers is helping us to ensure that our events are really special and leave a lasting impression. We’re delighted that our opening is benefiting Sarah’s business as one of the castle’s key aims is to support entrepreneurship in this region.  However, by the same token Simply Bows is enhancing our appeal, so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.”

 
 
 
Simply Bows and Chair Covers is the current holder of the coveted British Chamber of Commerce Most Promising New Business accolade and become a member of the British Franchise Association (BFA) following a thorough assessment of its franchise model earlier this year.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Simply POPtastic! Aberdeen Cakepop Company POPtastic feature on our blog today...

What is  your company name?
POPtastic Cakes
What is your line of business?
Novelty cakes and cake pop favours for parties and weddings
 How and why the company begin?
          The company began in 2011 to satisfy my passion for making cake pops and  novelty cakes.
Why do brides come to you?
          I'm often recommended to them by previous satisfied customers. I've built a reputation for good quality products and a friendly, helpful service.
What is your favourite design and why?
I love the brides and grooms I make. They're so fun. But my favourite design is the mini wedding cake pop. I created this design myself and use it for my logo. It sums up what POPtastic Cakes is all about – yummy cakes on a stick suitable for wedding favours.


What is the most popular item you supply and why?
          Each bride I have worked with has chosen a design unique to her theme but for weddings the most popular favours are the brides & grooms, mini wedding cakes hand piped designs and champagne flutes
Where do you get your inspiration from?
          A lot of people out there are making cake pops. Some of them inspire me to try new designs. Also, my customers request different things to be made into cake pops and I do my best to make them work. Thankfully I've been pretty successful so far.
What is in store for you in 2014?
I have some great ideas for new product lines that will encourage more people to try my cake pops. These are new designs and new flavours. I've also made links with the Thistle Aberdeen hotels to supply them with cake pops for their functions. I'm hoping to build on this with other Aberdeen hotels.
Who would be your dream client, and what sort of design would you envisage for them?
          I recently supplied a lovely couple, Lorraine & Shaun, with 12 dozen cake pops in a variety of designs. They were displayed together on a huge stand loaned to me by fellow cake popper Laura Lane and on top of the display I had a plain iced cake with a bride and groom cake pop standing on it.
That was an amazing commission and I'd love more like that. As to the individual and the designs I'm not sure but I loved making the Vegas signs that Lorraine and Shaun requested to represent their wedding in Las Vegas.
That was fun!
What would be your top tips for brides when searching for a supplier in your industry?
Ask if they bake the cakes themselves and request samples. Ask friends to recommend someone   who has baked for them. Look for someone who is booked up well in advance and can boast repeat customers.
Where are you based and where can you supply?
          I am based in west end Aberdeen. I can supply in and around Aberdeen and will travel further afield if required. My cake pops travel well though and I have posted some for a wedding reception sweet buffet.
How can I get in touch to discuss my requirements or place an order?
Phone 07748420363
facebook.com/poptasticcakes