June 24, 2011 01:00 ET

Britain's Most Creative and Innovative Small Businesses Named at's Inaugural Make Awards

SURREY, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 24, 2011) - Online retailer honoured 16 of the UK's most creative and innovative small businesses last night whilst hosting its inaugural small business Make Awards at the Union Club in Soho, London. Three supreme cash prizes of £1,500 were presented and the awards recognised excellence in 16 categories, including: Creative Business of the Year, Outstanding Growth, Entrepreneur of the Year, Ethical Business Award, Family Business of the Year and Innovation. The winners received a photo session with renowned photographer James Merrell and a wide-reaching marketing package through to enhance and promote their products.

Delightful Living, winner of the Outstanding Growth Award, is a three-year-old company specialising in hand-painted wooden signs with a vintage-inspired look and feel. They are experiencing nearly 300% growth year on year, and have moved from kitchen table to garden shed to a rented warehouse and now run their workshop and studio from a premises in a converted barn with six full and part-time staff. The Community Contribution Award went to NV London Calcutta, an ethical company that works with small village communities in India to create luxurious, ethical handbags and accessories. Local families are able to make a viable and sustainable living from the skills that they already have in abundance. Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners The Letteroom offer a fantastic selection of personalised letter-based gifts. They have demonstrated notable achievements in scaling their business by introducing new production systems and sourcing a collection of marketable products.

These and the other winners (please see full details below) were judged by a panel of business and creative experts including Keith Abel, Co-founder Abel & Cole; Carla Bevan, Editor-in-Chief AOL; Rachel Bridge, Enterprise Editor, The Sunday Times; Sebastian Conran, Director, Sebastian Conran Associates; Suzanne Imre, Editor, LivingEtc; Tim Smit, Chief Executive and Co-founder, Eden Project; Holly Tucker, Co-founder, and Sophie Cornish, Co-founder,

Commenting on the Make Award winners, Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish, Co-founders of said: "Our awards highlight the incredible talent of our business partners across the UK and the wealth of creativity, innovation and dedication involved in creating these businesses and achieving astounding success, many of them in a very short space of time. Our winning businesses demonstrate all that is great about enterprise in Britain. Our prestigious panel of judges was amazed by the fresh talent which we are immensely proud to support and showcase at"

The three award winners who received £1,500 were:

Creative Business of the Year 2011

Letterfest, Wendy Harrison, Devon

Letterfest have taken a modern approach to a traditional stonemason's craft and offer bespoke personalised keepsakes with a contemporary twist, from engraved pebbles to customised house illustrations. The business started two years ago and has expanded rapidly in the last 12 months as Wendy Harrison, having built an extension to her house to provide three new work areas, increased staff from two to five and sourced new suppliers to keep up with demand. This includes importing 20 tons of pebbles from India each year.

Designer Maker of the Year 2011

The Oak & Rope Company, Jeanette Nieman and Caroline Brown, Kent

Friends and mothers Jeanette Nieman and Caroline Brown joined forces two years ago to create personalised contemporary designs in oak with some natural rope detail. Maintaining old-fashioned skills and using sustainable sources they 'go out of their way' to be a very green company; they have already planted 600 trees and their wood shavings are used in the next-door stable. Rejecting automated machine techniques, they have developed a very flexible and fast system for hand-making and hand-engraving their beautiful products.

Start-Up Success of the Year 2011

Rosiebull Designs, Gina Axell, East Sussex

With the business less than a year old, Gina Axell, previously a teaching assistant, single-handedly got her business off the ground making personalised hand-made products from rich fabrics, buttons and ribbons. Her personalised glasses case proved such a hit with customers when she was featured in the's Winter/Christmas Gift Guide 2010 that she was able to leave her job and set up her lifetime dream of running her own business.

The other award winners are as follows:

• Entrepreneur of the Year 2011

The Letteroom, Jackie Jackson and Sherrie Mead, Hampshire

• Ethical Business Award 2011

Nkuku, Alistair Cooke and Alexandra Cooke, Devon

• Outstanding Growth Award 2011

Delightful Living, Anne Hyde and Paul McGreevy, Derbyshire

• Innovation Award 2011

Shell Thomas, London – Eco Cardboard Rocking Horse

• Community Contribution Award 2011

NV London Calcutta, Naomi Cornelius-Reid, London

• Family Business of the Year 2011

Pogofandango, Emma West and Gill Herbert, Cornwall

• Gift of the Year 2011

Bombus, Amelia Coward, Kent – Bespoke Map Heart

• Best Customer Service 2011

Betsy Benn, Gloucestershire

• Hero Product of the Year 2011

Twisted Twee, Suzy Warner, London – 'Pint' And 'Half Pint' T-shirt Set

• Best Gift for Children 2011

sgt.Smith, Vicki Smith, Derbyshire – Personalised Dinosaur T-shirt

• Best Gift for Women 2011

Posh Totty Designs, Alice Rivers-Cripps, East Sussex – Boutique Personalised Word Bangle

• Best Gift for Men 2011

Button and Bean, Tracy Gray, Surrey – Personalised Fingerprint Cufflinks

• Personalised Product of the Year 2011

Rosie Robins, Jeanette Ward, Hertfordshire – Personalised '...Likes' Poster Print

Note to Editors: Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish are available for interview, as are all of the award winners.

For further information, interviews and visuals please contact: Emma Wood or Harriet French at via or telephone 00 44 (0)20 8392 4122 or mobile 00 44 (0)7885 722970.


Multi-award winning offers consumers a unique umbrella shopping experience with a single basket and checkout. The business was founded by Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish in 2006 and from its initial network of 95 of Britain's most creative small businesses, the company now works with over 1,800 small business partners who sell over 35,000 products between them.'s turnover has leapt from £100,000 in its first year, 2006, to an annual turnover for 2010 of £15.1million. Currently 40 small businesses a day apply to join but only 12 per cent are accepted to ensure the best quality. In addition to the website, produces six themed catalogues a year. The company has undergone three funding rounds, the latest in 2010 with Index Ventures (Skype, Net-a-Porter) and Greylock Partners (Facebook, LinkedIn) to the value of £7.5m. has received 18 awards for entrepreneurship and customer service.

Contact Information

  • Emma Wood or Harriet French
    Lion House, Red Lion Street,
    Richmond, Surrey TW9 1RE
    Landline: 020 8392 4122 / Mobile: 07885 722970