Global Excellence Awards 2020

Page 54 LUX 2020 Global Excellence Awards There is nothing like giving someone a paintbrush and a blank canvas to get their creativity flowing. Established in 2011, Charming Times has been bringing the finest arts and crafts to the Yorkshire region. To start, Natalie provides a brief overview of the business and offers more insight into its clientele. “As a Yorkshire lass, I run Charming Times whilst working full-time. To begin with I specialised in pottery painting parties and selling pottery painting kits. As time went by, I then started to make greeting cards, jewellery, and other items to sell at fairs. In the current climate, I have strived to take my business online to avoid going into other properties. The majority of my clients tend to be women who wish to not only buy unique gifts, but also want to support small businesses. Working from home limits the amount of people that handle or come into contact with my items, so from a COVID-19 perspective I have put the measures in place to ensure my business can operate safely.” Although Natalie wants Charming Times to be successful, she appreciates how other SME’s can benefit when the business doesn’t have a particular product. “Of course I want to introduce people to a small business, which sells quality handcrafted unique items. By keeping my stock size small, this gives me room for manoeuvre. However, if I don’t have what the customer is looking for then I’m happy to introduce them to another small business nearby.” As a sole trader competing against some of the more renowned arts and crafts businesses in the region can be a challenging experience. However, as Natalie goes on to explain, Charming Times has a number of unique selling points in this regard. Situated in West Yorkshire, Charming Times is a mobile craft studio bringing interactive pottery workshops and parties to your school, workplace, home or chosen venue. Following its well-deserved success in the LUX Global Excellence Award 2020, we got in touch with Natalie Dawes to find out more. Charming Times Best Mobile Arts & Craft Studio - Yorkshire “My kits are made with acrylic paint so there is no need to send them back to a studio to fired, which can take a week. If the kit is intended to be a gift, I can also send it directly to the chosen address. As jewellery items are made by myself, they can be made to measure, and will all look slightly different even if they look the same because they are handmade. Rather than being passed from pillar to post, I am always happy to speak to people about what they want and what is available. When you buy from me you are supporting a dream.” Like many other businesses in the region, the outbreak of COVID-19 has had a negative impact on Charming Times with Natalie being unable to run any parties or fairs. However, as she points out, she is currently making an effort to enhance the company’s online presence. “Although running the business from home has meant I’ve not had to shut a physical shop or struggle with rent, my income has dropped with no events running. In response to the pandemic, I am trying to update my website to be able to make more online sales. Photos of course don’t always do a product justice, but until the lockdown restrictions are lifted this is my only way of operating.” Looking ahead, Natalie signs off by commenting on the future prospects of the business as we look ahead to 2021 and beyond. “Providing my business survives the pandemic, I would like to maintain a steady growth with a new website. Furthermore, I would like to make my own blanks for painting kits, develop a jewellery range and introduce more personalised items, so watch this space.” Company: Charming Times Contact: Natalie Dawes Website: