Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards of Dove River Peonies gained a Merit Award at last year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards. Here they explain what’s happened to their business since and why they are encouraging others to enter the awards.
Winning the award was a watershed moment for our company Dove River Peonies. Despite having only launched our 100% natural skin care repair products in October last year, we decided to enter. Thanks to the publicity and credibility we got from the award, our business growth has been 6 fold.
The awards entry process helped us succinctly identify where we wanted to take our business, the challenges we would need to address, and the opportunities we could embrace to get there. It was inspiring and energising to put that on paper and then having the chance to talk that through with the judging panel really challenged us to step up and commit.
Receiving a merit award at the Awards dinner was a humbling experience. We got to hear from the category winners about their inspiring business journeys and share our own. Meeting delegates from all around the country and sharing our story of turning our peony flower farm into a natural skin care cream to treat our son’s eczema was both a fantastic opportunity and an amazing experience.
The awards generated huge interest in our products – and as a direct consequence we were approached by Lifestyle Magazine where editor Nadene Hall showcased our business – with a 12 page colour spread. This led to a big spike in our sales – and was subsequently placed on the Stuff website. The impact was immediate. We went from a best ever website daily hits of 600 to 6000 hits. And the orders started from 6am and continued at an order a minute. We sold out of our stock twice over in that single day. Fortunately we were able to produce more crème quickly with our Nelson based natural products manufacturer and meet the orders within an acceptable time frame.
We wouldn’t have got that publicity without entering the awards. And still to this day we use our entry form as a benchmark for our business progress and a reminder of our values, aspirations and plan for the future.
So thank you Rural Women – and to all the rural women in business wondering if they should enter the Enterprising Rural Women Awards - just do it! We can’t guarantee your experience will be the same as ours but we are 100% confident that it will be good for your business and one of the most worthwhile investments in your business you will make. - Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards