A Stockton-based business owner is celebrating after her store was named Northern Gift Shop of the Year in last month’s North England Prestige Awards.
Louise Lowes of Lu Lu’s Gift Shop was “overwhelmed” by the accolade which came just two years after she opened for business in the town’s West Row.
A former graphic designer who suffered with her mental health following post-natal depression, Louise focused her creative energies into making products from home.
“Before long I was selling my goods on Facebook and Instagram,” she said.
“By using all the available digital channels open to me, I was able to create a customer following and soon my garage at home became a shop which ultimately led me to West Row in 2018.”
Louise told her inspiring story as part of the ongoing Humans of the High Street (#HOTHS) campaign, an innovative marketing drive created by Tees Valley creative agency OOK for Stockton Business Improvement (BID) in order to support the High Street.
#HOTHS features ten short films which document the thoughts and feelings of the town’s business owners during the Covid pandemic.
“The films capture the humans as the first lockdown ensued and now, just days away from a second lockdown, the #HOTHS campaign could not be more poignant,” says BID manager Jason Maxwell.
“Campaigns like #HOTHS are vital to small local businesses and what Stockton BID have achieved with this piece of work is brilliant,” said Louise.
“Lu Lu’s can use digital to ride the forthcoming lockdown, but we have to innovate our town centres and move forward.
“That’s why Stockton BID is so important – they act as a collective voice on behalf of high street business to champion change.”
Jason added: “#HOTHS highlights the importance of why we should cherish our independents and by doing so how we can all contribute towards a future that is local.
“Stockton Business Improvement District advocates for over 400 businesses in and around the high street. We continue to pursue creative methods to convey our The Future is Local message.”
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