Emily Newstead, is the founder of Yorkshire company Bow Gifts, specialising in corporate gifts and brand awareness for clients. H&E North had a quick chat to find out more about her background and her recent award recognition.
Former NatWest Spark graduate and entrepreneur, Emily Newstead’s company Bow Gifts was crowned Corporate Gifting Supplier of the Year at The PA Hub Awards 2018. The luxury gifting and branded merchandise company which services business across Yorkshire and the UK, as well as cracking the international market – now ships to destinations worldwide.
Emily and the team pipped national retailers including John Lewis, Kiehl’s, Spicers of Hythe and Wheelers Luxury Gifts to the post, in The PA Awards 2018, voted on by the local business community. Bow Gifts is on the cusp of its fourth year in business, currently working on new technology to improve how businesses configure unique and bespoke packages.
Hi Emily! Congratulations on your award win! How does it feel?
Incredible! We are absolutely thrilled to be winning an industry award just before we celebrate our fourth birthday this September. It is a huge accolade for us, considering the four other national brands that were in the category, it was a very proud moment for Bow Gifts indeed.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your entrepreneurial story?
In February 2014, I was diagnosed with endometriosis and it forced huge changes in my life. In September that same year I decided my full-time commitment would be instead to run my own company and manage this around the demands of my illness. I championed myself locally and established strong relationships with strong home-grown and international brands.
I started out making hampers on my ironing board and it then went from strength to strength from there. In less than four years, we have won six awards, including an Entrepreneur of The Year award in 2016. We have shipped into 20 countries and now have an office in Otley, an incredible team and huge future plans.
In a competitive marketplace, why have your corporate gifting and branded merchandise taken off?
Companies want to engage with their brand in new and creative ways and celebrate what they are doing. It’s all about boosting their brand and embedding effective strategies when doing so. They now know the true value of showing thanks to their clients and staff, and in doing so, they want gifts that take on meaning and are bespoke to their needs. This is why Bow Gifts are all made to order and personalised.
What are the most popular products right now?
I would argue that the presentation of the gift is proving really popular. Companies want their gifts to showcase them and their brand, so a lot more is happening within the engagement of presentation. Products of practicality are always well received and tech products are must-haves for our busy lives, but alcohol and chocolates are always a winner!
Is it harder for women to succeed in business?
I think the business world has many successful business men and women in it. I love that more women are sitting around the ‘CEO table’ and continuing a shift that has been growing over the generations where more women are leading a company. However, I am a very strong believer that it isn’t a race or a competition to have more women or more men dominating the CEO positions. I think we should focus on the strength and success of the individual, regardless of gender.
My career as a female CEO is encouraging and a positive experience. I hold my own and see everyone as a human and on the merit of how well they do, whatever they do. I have met a very small handful of narrow-minded people and I think they are in the minority when it comes to women in business. I otherwise love the cultural shifts that are taking place and am proud to be part of the entrepreneurial business growth as a whole.
Who are your career role models?
There are many, and each for different reasons. I admire the robust nature of anyone who is driven to be the best version of themselves that they can be. The list would be long! I can’t pin it down to a few individuals to be honest. I love inspirational information that makes for a good read or audio book too. Have you ever listened to The Secret?
What’s next for you and Bow Gifts?
Continued growth and success! To deliver our new webstore, technological developments, further build the team and be a UK leader in the gift industry. We are in the early stages of building our foundation for 2020 and we continue to drive strategies to pay it forward, supporting charities and developing ethical responsibility for the way we run and grow the business.