notonthehighstreet 2021 Make Awards Winners

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Following a turbulent year for small business owners across the UK notonthehighstreet have revealed a dazzling line-up of the UK’s best emerging creative talent honoured in the notonthehighstreet 2021 Make Awards; with Leicester-based, Willsow – creators of the World’s first ever plantable children’s book – scooping a £10,000 price fund as ultimate winners of Small Business of the year, following their win in the ‘Doing Good in the World’ category.

This year, more than 50 of notonthehighstreet’s 5000 small business Partners were shortlisted across 14 categories, with guest judges Happy Place founder Fearne Cotton, designer Henry Holland and Maira Ahmed – an entrepreneur and young Ambassador for charity partner The Prince’s Trust, joining the Make Awards judging panel to select this year’s overall winners.

2021 Make Awards Small Business of the Year

Willsow – a two year-old business founded by friends Tom and James – attracted the judges attention for their focus on every element of sustainability and legacy in their products and business practices. The entirely biodegradable children’s books – which centre on telling encouraging, inspiring and educational stories on topics such as teamwork, diversity and ‘what it takes to be a hero’ – are embedded with carrot seeds, with pages made by the company with paper waste, printed with vegetable-based inks, and bound with 100% organic cotton.

“It’s clear that Willsow has thought through every single element of their product and their business. Their mission – to educate children about agriculture and where food comes from – is incredible. They have such a strong idea of who they are and what they want to achieve, not only on a business level, but also on their impact to the environment around them.”
– Fearne Cotton, Guest judge, notonthehighstreet 2021 Make Awards

Liverpool-based Spice Kitchen were the ultimate winners of the 2021 Make Awards new Transformation award.

“Spice Kitchen demonstrated a clear passion for what they do and why they are doing it. I love their concept and how their family and culture is intrinsic to the business, reflected in each tin being covered in sari fabric. It is a genuine, useful and interesting product.”
– Henry Holland, guest judge

The 2021 Make Awards category – designed to honour the resilience and innovation many small businesses displayed as the pandemic threatened their business models, was awarded to mother and son team, Sanjay and Sashi – who pivoted their business selling home-ground spice blends (including to local cafes and restaurants) to make face-masks from the sari material they traditionally used to craft packaging for their spices, initially making and donating masks to the NHS, before expanding their team of local seamstresses to help them meet national consumer demand.

Meanwhile, Lincolnshire-based artisan, Linda Bell of Bonnie and Bell won this year’s Community and Collaboration award – a category that was entirely nominated for by fellow members of the notonthehighstreet community, with Partners nominating her for – among other things – the groups she runs for Partners to help them share information and ideas. The final vote was then put to members of the public.

Other winners included; the Small Business Owner under 30 duo behind Leiho – who donate a pair of socks to a homeless charity for every pair that they sell; The Gluttonous Gardener – winner of the Gift of the Year award – who helped friends and families to stay in touch from afar with unique letterbox gifts; and Pink Marmalade Gin, a small batch colour-changing gin created in 2019 by friends Will, Isobel and Louis honoured as Food&Drink Product of the Year.

notonthehighstreet 2021 Make Awards

There are tons of amazing products from the 2021 Make Awards winners and you can shop them on notonthehighstreet here.

Small Business of the Year

Willsow, Leicester

Founders Tom and James created Willsow together in Leicester, producing unique children’s books that can be planted, truly bringing the main character to life. As well as giving children the opportunity to learn, get out into the garden and read more, they are also extremely passionate about the environment, ensuring all their books are made from 100% recycled paper, and stitched together with recycled cotton.

Best New Partner

The Happy Self Journal, Kent

After becoming concerned about children growing up in an increasingly stressful and busy world, Francesca launched The Happy Self Journal to help children develop healthier habits as they grow up. Her range of daily journals for children and teens are based on scientifically proven methods that promote happiness and nurture enquiring minds.

Best Small Business Owner under 30

Leiho, London

Founders Joey and Thuta sell bamboo socks, water bottles and reusable shopping bags that give back to the community by supporting social issues, like homelessness and poverty.

Transformation Award

Spice Kitchen, Liverpool

Specialising in high quality hand-blended and home-ground spice blends and loose teas, the mother and son team behind Spice Kitchen completely transformed their product offering during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using the fabric from their spice packaging they began creating fabric face coverings, having to take on 8 extra seamstresses to meet demand they received.

Boutique of the Year

The Forest & Co, Devon

Based in Devon, The Forest & Co is an online boutique based in Devon. We look for beautiful things for the home, to wear and for children, which feel different and special. Many of our products are handmade locally and we try wherever possible to source our products from individuals or fair trade suppliers.

Artisan of the Year

Gemma Wightman Ceramics, Woking

Gemma produces hand thrown luxury porcelain tableware, with designs inspired by her home and daily life in Surrey. Each piece is designed and individually made from her studio in her back garden.

Designer of the Year

Florence & Ottie, Croydon

Previously working as a children’s designer, Clare (aka Florence) is a London based designer and illustrator producing minimalistic, bespoke illustrations and prints. Each of Clare’s pieces are drawn entirely by hand before being finished digitally and printed.

Doing Good in the World

Willsow, Leicester

Unique children’s books that can be planted, truly bringing the main character to life.

Community & Collaboration Award

Bonnie and Bell, Lincolnshire

Not only does Linda of Bonnie and Bell produce a unique range of handmade home decor accessories, but she was nominated for the Community and Collaboration award by her fellow Partners for her outstanding support of other small businesses. She has created a Facebook group for NOTHS Partners, and regularly holds marketplace evenings to sell off stock to help out other sellers.

Product of the Year – Home

Rose Nisbet Ceramics & Textiles, Bristol

Rose’s range of unique clay ceramics feature bright and fun patterns in unusual and organic shapes, thanks to her hand slab built technique. Her designs can take up to 3 weeks to produce, making each item a truly special piece to be treasured.

Product of the Year – Gifts

The Gluttonous Gardener, London

The Gluttonous Gardener have been creating growing gifts for over two decades to help celebrate Weddings, Christenings, birthdays, Anniversaries and all of life’s other most significant events. Each of their unique gifts are lovingly hand-packed inside beautiful wooden crates by their expert team in London to provide a truly unique gift that will grow and last.

Product of the Year – Wedding

Crown & Glory, Caldicot – Wales

From their Cornish studio, Sophie and Gareth design and manufacture Crown and Glory’s range of hair and fashion accessories including animal ears, floral crowns and sparkly bows. Their unique range is the perfect choice for more alternative brides.

Product of the Year – Baby & Child

Sootie Limetree, Sheffield

Each unique and playful Sootie Limetree toy is hand knitted by founder Gillian, making each one truly unique. Gillian is committed to making heirloom products that are built to last and are good for the planet by using biodegradable yarns and plant based fibres like bamboo.

Product of the Year – Jewellery

Mood Good, London

Founded in 2017 by Rosie Greener, Mood Good pieces are designed and handmade ethically in London, designed to be worn every day and treasured. The light-hearted designs have symbols of love, humour and positivity running through them to give the wearer a reminder to appreciate the little things in life and smile.

Product of the Year – Food & Drink

Pink Marmalade Gin, London

Founded by three friends in the events industry, PInk Marmalade Gin produces 100% organic, small batch colour changing gin with 13 botanicals. The unique blend undergoes a natural colour change when mixed with tonic, changing from a cool blue to subtle rose pink.


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