Entrepreneur of the Year goes to Glawning Director at Local Business Awards!

Entrepreneur of the Year goes to Glawning Director at Local Business Awards!

Glawning Ltd was founded and is run by us - a husband and wife team who created a product that actually turned out to be pretty great!

I bang on about having come up with the (genius) name 'glawning' but James is the inspirational, entrepreneurial mind and drive behind the glawning design. He invented a luxury driveaway awning for campervans 10 years ago and this independent business has never looked back! So we were delighted when my nomination of him for Entrepreneur of the Year (which he didn't realise I was doing (hee hee!)) resulted in a win on Thursday night at the Harrogate Advertiser Business Awards at the Pavillions of Harrogate, Yorkshire Events Centre!

This is why he won:

James Martin is a business leader and entrepreneur who deserves to be celebrated. In the decade since he came up with the ingenious idea of our flagship product 'the glawning' he has shown exceptional drive, commitment, and results.
He is the hardest working human I know. He gives 100% to everything he does and the blood, sweat and tears he puts into this business are displayed in the tenacity of Glawning Ltd which has been going since 2013 and has overcome many hurdles along the way. In each set back I have been witness to his resourcefulness and initiative, turning problems into opportunities, and the motivation to make the most of them.
His drive to succeed means he will not be beaten by anything, especially in business, be it lockdown, cash flow issues, product batches arriving incorrectly, fulfilment centre woes (of which there have been many), global pandemics, shipping headaches, production delays, Brexit, you name it. He has remained productive and resolved problems as they have relentlessly arisen over the last decade.

His commercial acumen stems from his understanding of the market: we know the customer because we are the customer and solving customer pain points has been his key to identifying opportunities for growth, tweaking existing products and developing new ones in a bid to position the glawning business where it now is, as a market leader and expert in the industry. His strategies to drive revenue and profitability have kept Glawning Ltd afloat throughout many a set back and his previous commercial law knowledge from a day job in the legal world gave us a head start in registering the necessary Trade Marks and Design Rights early on, not to mention beating off copycats with a big stick when they inevitably pursued our groundbreaking idea.
James has been instrumental in growing Glawning from a side-line hobby to the thriving business it is today on a husband-and-wife team. Inside the space of a few years, we went from storing our stock in our lounge and selling it every weekend to fulltime directorship and operating from a fulfilment centre, and we still only have two members of staff to this day. 

The workload is huge during peak season. James is creative and designs our website, and all our artwork. He also still answers many customer queries and orchestrates overseas stock orders in addition to warehousing much of our stock in Ripon. In addition to this we run our very annual own festival - glampfest.com - and trade at NEC exhibitions and other shows and festivals throughout the year. James is always the one singlehandedly setting up and dismantling the trade stand for these and often doing live demos.
His inspiration to others lies very much in where on earth he finds enough hours in the day to fit all of this in because he has renovated two houses on the side over this time too!
Every year since James invented the glawning sales figures have grown exponentially. In the very early days with a start-up capital of £5000 borrowed from the parents, we decided to get a very small number of glawnings manufactured in Yorkshire, operating from home as a sideline, selling them on weekends at as many VW festivals as we could across the country. We were still working fulltime in our 'normal jobs'. When the first batch arrived we were terrified they'd be sat in our lounge for years but we needn't have worried. The Glawning Ltd turnover has grown year on year as the product gains popularity.
Glawning publicity happens most often with customers who own them spreading the word themselves about how the product has radically altered their camping life for the better. The ripple effect! We have a very loyal customer base and following with 5k members in the glawning owners Facebook group and 17k followers on socials.
The glawning has had a bit of airtime so far featuring on the BBC's Caravanner of the Year programme with a mention by Chris Evans on Radio 2. Not to mention with the fabulous Johnny Vegas on his glampsite in C4 ‘Carry on Glamping’ series 1 and 2. Dragons Den next?!
The product has received excellent reviews in a number of camping magazines and articles in The Sun, Metro and Daily Mail.
Glawning Ltd has already garnered several awards for achieving such success in the camping industry, the latest accolade being the ‘Federation of Small Businesses National Micro Business of the Year 2022’ presented in Glasgow by Clare Balding. Also residing on the trophy shelf are Yorkshire Prestige Awards Camping Equipment Specialists of the Year 2021, 22 & 23, Theo Paphitis Twitter Small Business Sunday and Brand Yorkshire ‘Best Micro Business’ 2019, ‘Ones To Watch’ and Runner Up in ‘Small Business of the Year’ at Family Business of the Year Awards London 2018 and Finalists in the Customer Services Category at the Yorkshire Choice Awards. This weeks award is so appreciated as the icing on the cake!
Great customer service is something we are very passionate about, and I am witness to James going above and beyond in this realm on multiple occasions. Sometimes he even goes and helps customers put their glawnings up or fit their stoves at festivals if they need a hand.
Our aim is to turn every complainant (not that there are many!) into an advocate for the business and so far we’ve managed it!
Without James’s leadership ability to bring this glamping vision to fruition the business would not be here today. His future plans always include new innovations and events in the industry. He never rests on his laurels and his passion for the products and the problems they solve is infectious. The product he has created continues to transform camping to glamping for many happy customers and has provided wonderful staycation memories for families for the last decade. Long may it continue!

Huge congratulations to the other businesses who were finalists and those who won awards at this weeks event. Thank you Harrogate Advertiser, the judging panel and Christine Talbot for a great evening! 




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