‘Engaged’ and ‘caring’ Stationery Supplies owner adds latest award to indie store’s tally
With accolades like “how to be an engaged, caring company” and “hardworking, initiative-taking, creative, diligent, forward-thinking, positive” doing the rounds, it’s no wonder Sarah Laker has another award under her belt.
The Stationery Suppliers owner was awarded the BOSS Federation’s Independent Retailer award for the second year running to add to her collection of Retas greeting card awards for her two stores in Marple and Wilmslow which sell cards and gifts alongside the pens, pencils and a vast array of stationery.
“What a night!” Sarah said after being presented with the accolade on Thursday, 25 November, by host comedian Marcus Brigstocke, at the event run by the British Office Supplies & Services Federation, the leading trade association for the business supplies industry.
She added: “I’m stunned – what an achievement after the last turbulent couple of years. It was such a celebration of how resilient the stationery industry is, and boy did we party! It’s been a long time since I danced so much and even longer since I had a dirty maccy d’s at 2am. I am really chuffed to have won both a Retas and the BOSS award this year. Unbelievable!”
And Sarah wasn’t the only one celebrating, with fellow greetings, stationery and arts and crafts finalists Sam Thurston and Laurie Jones all glammed up for the BOSS event after travelling from Meraki Colour in Oswestry, and Creative Cove’s Sandra Jervis taking husband Paul to the party from Lampeter.
“The three of us shortlisted are good friends and all have amazing shops,” Sandra said. “Whoever wins deserves this – it was a great night surrounded by lots of like-minded people!”
Sarah told PG Buzz that the last 2½ years have been “so hard for everyone”, with retail having its fair share of knocks, in a “real rollercoaster ride full of unexpected twists and turns” and, thanking her family, staff, friends, customers, account managers, agents, suppliers, publishers, Nemo Office Club and the local community around her shops, she added: “They’re all part of the mix needed to succeed. We’ve all had to work so hard to keep reinventing ourselves and to hold the faith of better times ahead.”
The judges’ comment shared at the glitzy ceremony held at Manchester’s five-star Kimpton Clocktower Hotel heralded the bubbly indie retailer: “After winning last year’s award, Stationery Supplies have yet again shown how to be an engaged, caring company with lots of new ideas, a great example of a retailer continuing to be completely committed to their passion and very influential within their supply chain and community.”
And other comments from the trio of suppliers’ references that supported Sarah’s award entry included: “I would like to ask you one question, is there a more hardworking, initiative-taking, creative, diligent, forward-thinking, positive, tenacious, industry-leading, independent stationer than Sarah?
“In the face of the toughest trading conditions that I have ever witnessed within the industry, Sarah never fails to surprise me at how positive and creative she can be. Her day-to-day motivation is inspiring – whether it’s a new, creative window displays marking each seasonal trading period or her engaging social media activity she puts out daily, it’s incredible that she can produce such engaging content and displays, while running two shops.”
And Sarah’s commitment to helping everyone is already well-known having earned the Best Greeting Card Retailer Initiative at The Retas 2022 Awards for her Giving Back to charity and community programme.
The latest project saw £1 donated from every customer on Friday, 25 November, to The Pantry, a local foodbank, instead of taking part in what Sarah termed “the Black Friday madness”, adding up to a £60 donation to the Marple charity
She has also just run a Christmas card competition, which saw 78 entries in the two categories – ages 4-7 and 8-11 – with a public Facebook vote on the shortlisted three for each. The two category winners are to receive 12 of their designs professionally printed by Dandelion Stationery with cards also on sale in Stationery Supplies’ two stores and £1 from each sale will go to the child’s school PTA or nominated charity.
Top: Sarah Laker’s the BOSS, with comedian Marcus Brigstocke (right)