DUCK IN BOOTS RUFFLES FEATHERS WITH BUSINESS AWARD WIN
A Sudbury gift shop called Duck in Boots has been named a Small Business of 2020 by Lloyds Bank after making the most of its online opportunities during lockdown and giving local suppliers a virtual shop window for their wares.
Duck in Boots brings together local artisans and top design brands, selling products from local businesses, artists and crafters alongside household names like Royal Worcester.
Now Duck in Boots has been named a winner in the Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2020 awards, which celebrate small and local businesses across the UK and their inspiring energy and resilience in meeting the challenges of 2020.
Nominated by their local communities, nearly 900 businesses across the country were entered into the competition, with just 24 winners picked based on how creatively and quickly their businesses adapted to events since March 2020
Founder Sarah Underhay’s prize is £10,000 worth of social media support and advertising as well as a business mentoring session to help develop her growth plans.
Established in 2017, the store outgrew its original premises in the town and was seeking a new home when lockdown hit, while also trading from its website.
In August it relocated to a new site in Gaol Street, which also includes two ‘Duck Pods’; modern glass-walled units, perfect for pop up shops, that are available to hire from as little as a day or up to a month.
And Sarah held Covid-safe markets for local traders from the site too.
But when the second lockdown arrived, Sarah was forced to move everything online, holding virtual markets that gave a platform for traders to video chat with customers and show off their wares.
She said: “My background is as an artist, but I started Duck in Boots because I couldn’t find any local outlets for my work.
“Lockdown meant we had to change the way we do things quickly, and we’re continuing to improve and expand on the online opportunities we can offer our suppliers, many of whom need to be able to work flexibly.
“When lockdown ends, the ‘Duck Pods’ are a really accessible opportunity for people who might have the ambition to open their own shop to trade or test their brand in their own space.
“I’d like to open more Pods around the country, starting in East Anglia.”
Today Duck in Boots has more than 50 independent suppliers, with another 100 queueing up for a listing.
And Sarah is also set to host business coaching and advice sessions where some of its more experienced suppliers can support others who are just starting out.
Gareth Oakley, Managing Director of Business Banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Duck in Boots supports a whole ecosystem of businesses in the area and beyond and Sarah has given them a way to build their presence and trade online.
“In a really difficult environment, she’s made the most of the opportunities technology can offer to connect with people and do business.
“It’s a business with great potential and creativity, and this award is well deserved.”
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Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens
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