Hi! Welcome to my first blog!
18 months ago, April 2022, I entered a competition that is run by Theo Paphitis (yes, the Dragon!) called Small Business Sunday - aka SBS. It was the 2nd week it had been launched on Instagram so I threw my hat in the ring, describing my business, along with over a hundred others. Theo himself picks the winners, 3 from Twitter (X) and 3 from Instagram. To my utter surprise Theo picked me! I couldn't believe it, this was amazing and I was beyond excited. But what does this mean? It means you are welcomed into a fantastic community, where only 0.8% of entrants make it through. You have access to various methods of support from SBS partners throughout the year. And, on top of that, Theo and the SBS crew run an annual event for all the winners, but I had to wait nearly a year to attend this where I would be able to receive my certificate and meet Theo in person.
Not long after this I was able to enter an exclusive competition to win a stand at the Spring Fair 2023. I sent my entry in on the day of the deadline thinking I had nothing to lose so why not, but not thinking I would make it past that. In order to see the results I had to join Twitter (X), which is a whole crazy world of it's own. I could barely navigate that social platform when I joined for the announcing of the finalists. There were chats and hashtags going off everywhere, comments, posts and they started to announce the shortlist. 36 finalists from hundreds of applicants. 35 shortlisted businesses went past, and then, wait what??? I made it on the shortlist! I was now in the running for one of 12 stands at the Spring Fair 2023. Sadly, I didn't win one of the stands but again, so proud to make it on the shortlist.
Fast forward to February 2023 and there I was, at the ICC Birmingham. The event was amazing, filled with SBS sponsors and a great programme of events with fantastic speakers. It was such a positive day, the atmosphere was electric and I learnt so much and even managed to meet a few people in person who I had been talking to through social media previously.
And then came the main event, collecting my certificate from Theo himself. I had made a frame for Theo as a gift, it was a spaniel as I know he has a spaniel called Gladys. I must admit I was terribly nervous but
I am super proud of this achievement, especially so early in the life of After Shot Handmade. The community this has opened up is so great, with some amazing online workshops and opportunities available throughout the year. It is a day I will never forget.
If you're a small business and want to give it a go head over to Instagram or Twitter (X) on Sundays between 5-7.30pm, following and tagging @theopaphitis and using #SBS in your post