Retail & Leisure Awards: ‘Entering is a good way to build on your brand’

Steph Smith (left) and Caitlin Earey, from Rock Up, winners of Leisure Venue of the Year, with Colin Wilding from Gunwharf Quays at the 2016 Retail & Leisure Awards
Steph Smith (left) and Caitlin Earey, from Rock Up, winners of Leisure Venue of the Year, with Colin Wilding from Gunwharf Quays at the 2016 Retail & Leisure Awards
Amanda Morby, Portsmouth

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It was a sweet win for the team behind Lush at Cascades in Portsmouth last year, as they scooped an accolade in recognition of their fantastic work.

At The News Retail and Leisure Awards, the Commercial Road shop won Non-Fashion Store of the Year – something which assistant manager Charlotte Pratley said was ‘a really nice surprise’.

The awards look to reward businesses across the area for making their mark in one way or another.

And now Charlotte, who has been with Lush Portsmouth for eight years, is urging other companies to get involved.

The 28-year-old said: ‘Being part of the awards is a good way to build on your brand locally and get your name out there.

‘Before winning, our store was already well-recognised within Lush nationally as doing really well – but it was nice to get that same recognition in a different environment.

‘We got to mix with staff from other businesses at Cascades, network, make friends – it was a great night, everyone had fun.

‘Lush Portsmouth entered in 2015 and didn’t win anything, so we thought we’d have another go last year.

‘Our team were optimistic, but didn’t expect to win anything, so when we found out we had it was a really nice surprise.

‘It’s a real confidence boost to know you’re on the right track.’

The awards are open to retail and leisure businesses based in, or with a significant presence in, the circulation area of The News.

Charlotte added: ‘Lush is well-known for its customer experience. Staff aren’t pushy and don’t work on commission.

‘We work on the basis that our products are great and should speak for themselves.

‘But at the end of the day, the team behind the store is what makes it – and ours is fantastic.

‘Everyone works really hard and we wanted to show that off, that’s why winning meant a lot to us.

‘We get some great reviews because of our team members and I think the judges could see how great our staff are. I urge any businesses who aren’t in fashion, in the area, to enter the category – you never know, you might win, and if you don’t it’s still a great night.’