Female Entrepreneurs Win The Opportunity To Trade in Fenwick

The prize awarded two runners-up two weeks trading, and the three winners were awarded two months trading in Fenwick’s 90,000 square ft Colchester High Street store.

Since 1882, Fenwick has been, as their founder described it, “a department store to delight the thoughtful woman”, and its support of small businesses and independents has enabled Colbea’s clients to strive for success. Colbea is a multi-award-winning business enterprise agency with a significant track record in supporting new and growing businesses since 1982.

It is a key player in a wider field of business support partners including the Government, the Department for Work and Pensions, Chambers of Commerce, the BEST Growth Hub and Invest Essex.

Each entrant in the competition had to make it through a rigorous judging process, comprised firstly of a shortlisting panel, facing an interview and pitching panel consisting of Sara Thakkar (Colbea Chair), Ashleigh SeymourRutherford (Colbea CEO), Nancy Foster (Fenwick Store Director) and Lisa Oldman (Sales Manager for Fenwick) and conveying their strategy of delivery within Fenwick. Each entrant was asked to create a short pitch for their business.

In announcing the winners, Nancy Foster said: “Fenwick are incredibly proud to continue our support of businesswomen in the local community and provide a platform to showcase their products. The standard of entrants this year was incredibly high.”

The winning businesses are:
• For UK manufacturing: Twinkledust (Sarah Gant and Emma Kelly) Twinkledust create and design children’s cotton clothing that is high quality and will last.
• For global brand: The London Sleep Company (Amy Paris) The London Sleep Company is a one-stop shop that offers bath and shower elixirs formulated with deep, restorative sleep in mind.
• For innovation: FoldedSided Project (Emma Fisher) Hand folded paper lampshades, lights and decorations to enhance your contemporary home or space.

Emma Fisher, from FoldedSide Project, commented: “I’m so thrilled to have been chosen as one of the three winners. I’m totally over the moon to be working with Fenwick’s. It is so great to have such a prestigious retailer on
our doorstep and the chance to offer my locally produced handmade lighting and decorations is very exciting and positive in these unprecedented times.

“The Colbea course was an amazing experience which boosted my confidence and has helped me to take the next steps in my small creative business journey!”

The runner’s-up were:
• Betty & Molly (Kesiah Smithers) Affordable handmade lifestyle gifts bought to life by a love of plants, fabric and texture (on the second floor of Fenwick Colchester).
• Suzi M (Suzanne Smith) Hand-drawn and unique detailed pencil illustrations are transformed into bold colourful prints.

Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, Colbea Chief Executive, said: “The judges and I were very impressed by the amount of hard work and dedication that went into the applications. It was not an easy task to select our winners, and the whole panel came away inspired by our aspiring businesswomen.”

Now lockdown restrictions have and continue to ease, with retail re-opening once more, the winners are in the process of booking in with Fenwick to trade. All six winners will be trading at some point in 2021, and we look forward to seeing them in the store. Kesiah Smithers from Betty & Molly are the first to go in, soon followed by the other lucky winners. Why not pop in to see her and support a local female entrepreneur!

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