A Tees businesswoman who started a hair extensions company in her bedroom and now turns over an estimated £7m a year has praised the Tees Businesswomen Awards for creating even more interest in her flourishing company.
“It was the icing on the cake for us, a great way of building business momentum and perfect for social media,” said Victoria Lynch, whose 17-year-old hair extensions company Additional Lengths won SME of the Year at last year’s awards ceremony.
Despite the pandemic, Additional Lengths has gone from strength to strength, expanding into a second premises and taking on more staff.
“Winning the award gave us an extra push to grow the business,” said Victoria.
“It would be interesting to know how far we would have come had the pandemic not happened, but the fact that we will end 2020 on a level playing field is a huge achievement, given the situation and having had to close for three months.”
Additional Lengths had always planned on growing by 20-30 per cent, as the firm has each year, and during lockdown Victoria chose to use the time wisely, furloughing the majority of her team and moving to larger premises.
“We were bursting at the seams and luckily we found a warehouse on the Tees Valley Industrial Estate,” she explained.
“We now have a state-of-the-art warehouse and picking system, have taken on more staff and kept our flagship premises open at Maxwell’s Corner in Stockton.”
When Additional Lengths reopened in July, the firm enjoyed the biggest month in its history.
“The trick is to adapt and weather the storm, and also remain positive for the sake of staff and clients,” said Victoria.
For the company and for Victoria personally, being a Tees Businesswomen Awards-winner has been a positive experience.
“It’s backed up our business and given me the confidence to put myself forward,” she reflected.
“In the past, if people asked, I’d always say I ran a business, but I wouldn’t elaborate. I didn’t put myself forward or say ‘Look at me’.
“It was my colleague Richard Kelly in the Additional Lengths leadership team who put the nomination in.”
Victoria’s experience has made her a firm supporter of the awards.
“It’s an opportunity for women to have a platform and I would encourage others to apply,” she said. “For us, it’s generated a lot of new interest. The whole team are justifiably proud and it’s great to be recognised for our achievements.
“On a personal level, I’ve seen my profile grow. I was invited to speak at the Federation for Women in Enterprise and that was fantastic.
“I was able to explore, expand and discuss with other women the trials and tribulations of being in business.
“If I can inspire other women, answer questions or just give women the push they need then I have achieved my goal.”
For further information on sponsoring one of the two remaining categories in the Tees Businesswomen Awards 2020, contact Chris Garbutt on 01642 450255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.