Sh! received the best birthday pressie EVER last night when she scooped 2 awards at the first ever Qype business awards, including the TOP one: Best Business of the Year, UK & Ireland 2012.
Held at Brixton Club House, the omen was good from the start when the 2 directors, Kathryn & Sophieeasily found a parking spot for the Sh! pink smart car, just off Electric Avenue. Sweet! The gods ( or goddesses) were looking down benevolently alright...
After a wee drink and a munch on a curry goat roti on the Ibizan-style roof terrace ( in London - in MARCH!), it was down to the main room for the ceremony.
Dark and glitzy, with wine,cupcakesand party poppers on the tables, the CEO of Qype, Ian Brotherston, took to the stage to tell us we were all winners, having demonstratedexcellent customer engagement and been given fab reviews, as rated by Qype's ( which stands for quality over hype)1.6m consumers across the UK.
Our friends at theHoxton Salonwon the first award for Best UK Beauty and Wellness Venue of the Year 2012
Then the next one; UK Shopping Venue of the Year 2012. Eeeek! Its scary going through the runner-up accolades not hearing your name called - a tiny insight into the turmoil disappointed Oscar nominees go through, with a polite grin (mace!) frozen to their faces. As the description of the winner was being read out; "shown exceptional customer engagement..." "an incredibly popular winner" - or words to the effect, Sophie, (the intuative Picean) was muttering "we've got this one", whilst Kathryn ( the superstitious carpricorn) hushed her...
A wee cheer went up as our name was called out and Kathryn stumbled ( there were a lot of wire and stage stuff to negotiate; the wine had nothing to do with it) to receive the prize.
The next set of awards were a bit of a blurr as there was lots of hugging and tweeting to be done, but the other members of our table,Gordons Wine Barquickly won Best Bar, followed by Best Place...
Kathryn was still attempting to tap out tweets in the dark, when the biggie came up: One business was to be named Best Business, putting it ahead of 750,000 other businesses listed on Qype. Sophie starts her muttering again " we've got this one too...." "Don't be silly" counters Kathryn, milliseconds before she hears "And the Best UK Business Award 2012 goes to Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium"
A *huge* cheer, this time. More stumbling ( again, *not* the wine, but the sheer wobbly-legged excitement)... Another award gratefully received- the BIG one!
Being Business of the Year means Sh! will now go on to represent the UK at the Qype World Business of the Year Awards, which will see one business named the best of the 13.5 million places currently listed on Qype worldwide - Yikes!
Then, back upstairs to the sunsetting terrace, for photos, mingling and lots of congratulations.
Later as we buzzed back east, in our pink smartie and on cloud 9, we talked about why such a great accolade from a consumer review site means such a lot to us. We've always looked at our business as a series of relationships we have with every one of our customers. If someone isn't happy, we take it personally, emotionally even, - like a relationship breakdown and do our danmdest to make up. We've never seen it as a numbers game, where we can accept a certain % of fallout, so long as we get money in the till. Running a biz with this kind of personal attention may never make us millionaires ( we're in a smartcar FFS not a porche!) but it sure makes us happy ... and we sleep well at night.
We certainly slept with happy smiles on our faces last night.
Thank you to Qype, and most of all to our lovely customers, for recognising our passion is personal and very much in the detail.
Founded in 2006, Qype is Europe’s largest site for user-generated reviews and recommendations of places, events and experiences. Qype has up to 18 million unique users per month and over 2.2 million user-generatedreviews covering business categories in more than 166,000 cities with locations worldwide. Qype allows users to search for and read trusted reviews about a restaurant, shop, service or experience and, with the Qype App, which has been downloaded over 1 million times, users can read and add reviews on their phone and use the application as a personal sat-nav to find places nearby. Available in seven different languages, Qype is now the only truly pan-European local review site able to offer its international users a multi-lingual platform.