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Wrendale Designs’ Hannah Dale Received The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award

One of the most prestigious Greats categories each year is the special Outstanding Achievement Award, which is presented to someone who has contributed greatly to the UK gift industry.

At last Thursday’s The Gift Awards, held on 16 May at London’s glittering Royal Lancaster Hotel, the trophy was presented to Hannah Dale, Wrendale Designs’ founder and creative director, who received a standing ovation from guests as she made her way to the stage at London’s glittering Royal Lancaster Hotel.

Above: The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF), was presented to Hannah Dale by John Joyce & Kate Owen, past presidents.
Above: The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF), was presented to Hannah Dale by John Joyce & Kate Owen, past presidents.

 

In an extract from her citation, Sue Marks, editor of Progressive Gifts & Home/GiftsandHome.net, said:

“The winner of tonight’s Outstanding Achievement Award was, if truth be told, never meant to be in gifts.

“A brilliant academic, who went to Oxbridge, and subsequently pursued a hugely successful career in investment banking, there was never any doubt that our winner was destined to be a high flier. However, when the shine eventually came off the banking world, our winner left power suits and a gold Amex card behind to embrace family life on her husband’s farm, close to where they had grown up.

“With a passion for wildlife, and a talent for art, our winner was quickly inspired by the countryside and outdoor life, combining motherhood with her drawings and paintings of animals, with her skill being to capture their personalities and characters, drawing on her zoology degree.

“Taking those paintings to local shops, it was a gift retailer who sowed the seeds in our winner’s mind that greeting cards might be the way to put their creative talents to good use commercially.

“Following a £6,000 investment by the couple – their entire savings pot – the first stepping stone was the ladder club for newbie and emerging publishers, debu-ing on a tiny stand at the PG Live 2012 trade exhibition, where it was the hit of the show. Harrogate Home & Gift followed, which led to a first licensing partnership with Portmeirion for six mugs – and the world of gifts.

“Well, the rest, as they say is gift and greeting card industry history, propelling our winner from the kitchen table in 2012 onto a global stage. In the ensuing years, the company has seen exponential growth through expanding its own product portfolio as well as through licensing partnerships.

“Products now include everything from gifts, greeting cards and stationery to jewellery and fashion accessories, as well as plush, kitchen textiles, jigsaws and puzzles. There’s much, much more besides but we could be here all night!

“Over the past 12 years, that fledgling company that was founded at the kitchen table while her children were napping has grown to become an international brand, with an £15m annual turnover. That’s some return on the initial tiny investment.

“The company she still heads up with her husband, now employs over 70 people, with their products sold in 47 countries, including every single state in America. Many retailers here tonight will be among the company’s most loyal stockists, some from the very beginning.

“Our winner has often described herself as determined and fiercely competitive, so it comes as no surprise that in addition to winning countless accolades over the years, the company was honoured to receive a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for international trade in 2019.

“And I’m delighted to say that last week, on May 6, the company was again thrilled to receive a second Royal honour, a King’s Award for Enterprise in international trade – almost certainly the first Royal ‘double first’ in the gift industry!”

Above: Wrendale Designs’ founder and creative director Hannah Dale, winner of The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award, said she was “totally overwhelmed” to receive the prestigious award.
Above: Wrendale Designs’ founder and creative director Hannah Dale, winner of The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award, said she was “totally overwhelmed” to receive the prestigious award.

A delighted Hannah made her way to the stage, where she commented: “We have so many people to thank for this award, and many of them are in this room tonight. I’m really sad that (my husband) Jack is not here to celebrate with me as, true to our career, and probably our marriage as well, as always, he’s behind the scenes doing a lot of hard work, and I’m out here taking the credit for it.”

Continued Hannah: “This is an incredible industry. I feel so lucky to be supported by so many people and be part of this wonderful, wonderful industry that we have. So, thank you very much, I’m totally overwhelmed – I can’t believe it.”

Speaking to GiftsandHome.net, Hannah added: I feel so overwhelmed and humbled to win this award – it has been won in the past by so many incredible people and I still can’t believe that my name is among theirs! I felt incredibly emotional when it dawned on me that I had won – what an honour. I have had so much support from so many people across the giftware industry and just feel so grateful to be a part of it.”

The very special award, a fitting finale to The Gift Awards, was presented to Hannah by two past presidents of the British Allied Trades Federation (BATF), John Joyce and Kate Owen.

It was actually Hannah’s second time on stage at the Awards. In addition to winning The Greats Outstanding Achievement Award, Hannah was also thrilled that Wrendale Designs’ The Pet Collection won the Gift Of The Year’s Best Pet Gift Product or Range category.

Above: Hannah Dale, founder and creative director of Wrendale Designs, along with senior designers Vicky Barraclough and Charlotte Coulthard, received the Gift of the Year Best Pet Gift trophy from Matt Payne, managing director of Method UK, category sponsor.
Above: Hannah Dale, founder and creative director of Wrendale Designs, along with senior designers Vicky Barraclough and Charlotte Coulthard, received the Gift of the Year Best Pet Gift trophy from Matt Payne, managing director of Method UK, category sponsor.

Top: Hannah Dale is shown proudly holding the prestigious the Greats Outstanding Achievement Award.

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