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Sebnini Receives King’s Award From HM Lord-Lieutenant

Last Friday (10 May) was a very special day for bespoke private label home fragrancing company Sebnini. Having been awarded the King’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, in April 2023, Sebnini’s co-founder and managing director, Gert Schyberg, was delighted to welcome HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux, and nine other dignitaries, to the company’s new rural premises in Horley, Surrey, where he was honoured to be formally presented with the prestigious award.

2-KING'S AWARD LOGO - KAE_Logo_2023[20][97]As well as the Lord-Lieutenant, the dignitaries included: deputy lieutenant Shahid Azeem; Lord-Lieutenant cadet Lily Brown; Lord-Lieutenant cadet Lucas Reeve; Rt. Hon. Claire Coutinho MP; councillor Richard Biggs; Lewis Ilsey; vice chairman councillor Sue Farr; consort councillor Chris Farr and councillor Jackie Wren.

In his welcome speech, Gert told guests:It’s a great honour to be receiving the King’s Award for Enterprise: International trade. It’s a fantastic opportunity for us and our staff, and what has been so special for me personally was going to Buckingham Palace last summer.

He continued: “My deep, personal thanks to our staff. The award is a testament to their hard work and their professionalism,” adding, “we are extremely grateful to have the Lord-Lieutenant here today, along with so many distinguished guests.”

From left to right: The Rt. Hon. Claire Coutinho MP; Shahid Azeem, Deputy Lieutenant; Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux and Sebnini’s Philip Murphy-Hunt, head of finance.
Above: From left to right: The Rt. Hon. Claire Coutinho MP; Shahid Azeem, Deputy Lieutenant; Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux and Sebnini’s Philip Murphy-Hunt, head of finance.

The Lord-Lieutenant, a representative for His Majesty King Charles, told Gert and the assembled guests, “It’s really lovely to be here with you all. It’s fantastic to hear about the company and to meet you and your staff. I can see it’s a team effort, with everyone helping to design, produce, sell, procure, compute and so on. I hope you all feel a huge pride in this award. There are so many benefits, not only in terms of staff morale, but also in relation to the impact on sales and turnover. Many congratulations on this wonderful award for all your efforts.”

Above: Cheers! From left to right: Sebnini’s Amy Warburton, new product development manager, Lucy Carroll, head of procurement, and the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux.
Above: Cheers! From left to right: Sebnini’s Amy Warburton, new product development manager, Lucy Carroll, head of procurement, and the Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux.

Prior to the award presentation, the Lord-Lieutenant and distinguished dignataries were taken on a tour of the company’s new premises by Gert and his son Seb Schyberg, the company’s sales manager, meeting heads of department –  to include Tom Watson, head of design, Lucy Carroll, head of procurement, Philip Murphy-Hunt, head of finance, and Amy Warburton, new product development manager –  along with many other members off staff. The party took time to chat with everyone to find out more about what they do, the company, and how it operates.

“I have an enormous amount of pride in our achievement in winning the King’s award,” Gert told GiftsandHome.net. “But it is also a great achievement for our staff. We couldn’t have done it without them. For me, the pleasure is to be able to share this award with them.”

Above: From left to right: Sebnini’s Gert, Sebastian and Carina Schyberg.
Above: From left to right: Sebnini’s Gert, Sebastian and Carina Schyberg.

The family run business was founded by Gert and his wife Carina when they relocated from Denmark to the UK, where using candles everyday was commonplace. Spotting an opportunity in the UK, they started their fledgling candle import business from their tiny London flat in 1987, with the company going from strength to strength and the Sebnini brand established in 2001.

In 2007, the company expanded to serve not only the UK but also mainland Europe and Ireland. (Currently, the company is in 28 countries in Europe). Three years later, Sebnini became a bespoke private label company, with its luxury candles and diffusers appearing under different brand names in major retailers in the UK and worldwide, to include household name supermarkets.

In 2020, Sebnini expanded into the American market – which is today, the company’s biggest export market – followed a year later by its first licensing partnership with the Style Sisters.  In 2023, Sebnini’s business focus changed to concentrate on new product development. “We do everything in house. It is a USP for us,” states Gert.

As only Gert was invited to Buckingham Palace last June, the company held a big summer party for staff, family and friends to celebrate the King’s award. “Meeting King Charles and Prince Edward was one of my proudest moments,” Gert told GiftsandHome.net.

Above: The entrance to Sebnini’s new 4,000 sq ft premises in Horley, Surrey.
Above: The entrance to Sebnini’s new 4,000 sq ft premises in Horley, Surrey.

What advice would he give to other budding young entrepreneurs? “Enjoy work, enjoy what you do, and you will do well. Would I do it again? Absolutely!”

The company – which produces 600 new products each year, designed from scratch – employs almost 30 staff, and officially moved into their new 4,000 sq ft HQ two weeks ago. “It’s an old, converted chicken farm, overlooking green fields, where we often see sheep, cows and horses. Everyday I come into the office and think how very lucky we are to work here,” says Gert.

Sebnini has the right to use the King’s Award accreditation for five years.

Top: Gert Schyberg, managing director of Sebnini, received the King’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade from HM Lord-Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux on Friday 10 May.

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