A Lincoln mother with a great business idea managed to beat hundreds in a national event to win an award for her online business.
Natalie Yates, from North Hykeham, beat 2000 entrants to the top spot of The Mumpreneur Awards 2013 with her online company, Gifts From Handpicked.
Her website sells gifts and other homeware in the UK and internationally, all from its city base.
The national awards, held annually, aim to celebrate those who can manage a business while trying to raise their family.
The judging panel included former Dragons’ Den star and mum Hilary Devey, and Ann Summers MD Vanessa Gold.
Natalie Yates said: “When the winner was announced I was absolutely elated and overwhelmed to hear it was Gifts From Handpicked.
“It has been five years of hard work and now we are so proud to know that our website is an award winner.”
Natalie launched her website in 2008, just after finishing maternity leave with her first son.
However on returning to her job of Area Support Manager for a contract caterer, she was made redundant.
It was a visit to a boutique shop in Leeds that sparked the idea to build a website around a gift business.
She said: “I was inspired to set up a gift business originally to show at local county shows and ladies nights. After four shows it became apparent that visitors to shows went for a day out and not a shopping experience.
“With a garage full of stock I decided to try selling online, fortunately there has been no looking back!
“Gifts have been priced to suit the recession and are handpicked to be quirky and original from the average high street offerings.
“What started out as my husband helping pack a handful of parcels every night is now a team of five staff sending parcels worldwide.”
Natalie Yates would juggle managing the business and looking after her son by working whilst he was being cared for by grandparents.
“Initially I worked one day a week whilst my son had ‘Grandma Friday’ and then spent evenings on the laptop. This then was extended to three days a week and I began to employ staff to share the work load.
“In October 2011 my second son was born, which was fantastic as my family was complete. It was also valuable to the business, as I was able to let go of the day job, and on returning from maternity leave I could concentrate on growing Gifts From Handpicked.
“I now have the perfect work life balance working three days a week whilst my boys are at school or childcare, and working two evenings a week when they are in bed. We always start the weekend with movie night on a Friday and ensure that we have quality family time at weekends.”
She added that setting up her own business was never the easiest choice to make but one of the most rewarding, emphasised by becoming a finalist in numerous awards.
“Setting up my own business has been a roller coaster ride but thankfully my passion to succeed has been proven this year.”