A multi award-winning North East entrepreneur is celebrating her company’s 10th anniversary- by branching out further.
After becoming a victim of the recession in 2008, Northumberland-based Sarah Pittendrigh established Simply Bows and Chair Covers during that year to save her home from being repossessed and create financial stability for her and her son, William, now 19.
At the time, Sarah was bringing up her son on her own and had been declared bankrupt following the collapse of the events business she had been working in.
Sarah decided to set up her own company, realising a gap in the market for high quality event linen and chair décor after her brother’s wedding. She then applied for a government-funded grant enabling her to create a website, purchase a commercial vehicle and make samples of her chair décor and table linen. In the first year alone, Sarah delivered 88 weddings in luxury hotels across the North East of England.
To facilitate the escalating enquiries from across the UK, Sarah designed a franchise model and now, Simply Bows and Chair Covers dress events all over the country through its franchise network of 11 offices- operating from Dundee to South Wales and has dressed a number of ‘celebrity’ events, including appearances on the set of Coronation Street
Since launching 10 years ago, Simply Bows and Chair Covers has completed over 7000 weddings and is growing year on year.
Thanks to the success of Simply Bows and Chair Covers, Sarah has been approached by dozens of other entrepreneurs and businesses keen to tap into her knowledge and experience.
As a result, Sarah has recently established herself as a successful business mentor specialising in areas including the luxury sector, franchising, hospitality and marketing. In addition, Sarah provides support for other business owners, emerging entrepreneurs and those at a crossroads in their professional lives with the knowledge she has gained from her own personal and business journey.
Already Sarah has worked with a number of businesses, including Gisborough Hall where she assisted with the development of their wedding strategy, and also a number of private individuals mentoring in business and personal development.
Sarah said: “In business, we experience incredible highs but exceptional lows too. Indeed, I set up Simply Bows and Chair Covers at a very low point in my life. I have had lots of knock-backs but I am also determined to bounce back.
“Over the years I have mentored all of my franchisees who are doing so well and are now running successful businesses of their own. I’m now working with a range of external clients ranging from hotels and the beauty and leisure sector, to property and tourism who have employed me to provide mentoring to develop and grow their businesses.
“I have always relished a challenge and I wanted to be able to professionally share my own experiences in business to benefit others. I’ve had so many approaches over the years, I decided to hone what I offer and develop a new business for myself.”