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New kid in town wins top fashion award; In association with RBS.

FASHION boutique havetolove in Gosforth, Newcastle, has won a prestigious national award just a year after opening for business.

Entrepreneurial owner Kate Walton picked up the Best New Business prize at the Drapers' Awards 2007 held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Kate beat off competition from across the UK and Ireland to win the award, part of an event held by fashion retail bible The Draper's Record.

The award was judged on overall performance, sales figures, staff, brands sold and the overall look of the shop.

Kate said: "This is fantastic for a business like mine because it is such a prestigious fashion award.

"I've only been open for a year so it's really a great start. The award puts us on the map and it's great for Newcastle too - it puts us on the map as a fashion capital.

"I am looking at expanding in the next year, both upstairs in the existing shop and maybe another shop somewhere in the north.

"We've also just brought out a website and we will be marketing that more than we have been doing."

The Best New Business award was one of 19 statuettes presented in a ceremony hosted by comedian Simon Amstell.

The awards citation said: "The havetolove boutique, in the style of a luxury boudoir, exemplifies everything that is great about a new fashion retail business.

"An up-to-the-minute and on-trend product mix from brands such as Anna Rita N, J Brand and Pinko is combined with an impeccably well-maintained shop decorated in a retro feminine palette of hot pink and black.

"Customer service is a real focus of havetolove, with owner Kate Walton and assistant Jill Hodgson warm, welcoming and knowledgeable about their wares.

"An impressive range of professional and personal marketing activities show that this store has its marketing and promotional head firmly screwed on. There is a bright future for this exciting shop."

CAPTION(S):

WINNER: L-R Simon Amstell, Kate Walton of havetolove, and Beth Wigglesworth of sponsor Plus Shops.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 5, 2007
Words:334
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