[Sound of machinery]
[Caption: Bridge of Weir Leather has won The Queen's Award for International Trade 4 times now. Can you recall how you first heard about the Awards?]
Karen Marshall (Managing Director at Bridge of Weir Leather):
Our chairman, who used to be our MD and is now the chairman of the group, Mr Jonathan Muirhead... he is very good at marketing and publicity... and he, and we, all are very proud to be British, and would like to promote our Britishness whenever possible.
And it is he who first introduced us to the possibility of entering The Queen's Awards. And we are very glad that he did so.
[Caption: What mad you want to take that first step and fill out an entry form?]
We export probably about 90% of our business. Those hides - usually round about 90% of them go abroad. May to internationally recognised companies - car companies like Volvo and Aston Martin in the UK.
It's just beneficial to our customer base to have this prestigious, internationally recognised Award... and also for our new body and shareholders.
[Caption: Did you find our blog, the guidance notes, or The Queen's Awards Office helpful when entering?]
We used them on a kind of need to know basis, but anytime I contacted them they were very helpful.
[Caption: How have things been for Bridge of Weir leather since winning your 4 Awards for International Trade?]
As part of the process of winning the Queen's Award... other than with a lovely presentation here with a Queen's representative... but over and above that, 2 of us were invited to Buckingham Palace... and my being a Royalist, it was a wonderful day for me personally because I got introduced to her Majesty, to Prince Phillip, to the Duke of Kent and Prince Edward... So it was a fabulous, once in a lifetime opportunity to be there.
In terms of business, like any British company exporting and competing in the global marketplace, it's difficult. We have the same challenges as many, but thankfully the pound is in our favour just now. And to just continue to promote British exporting and British manufacturing... and we carry on doing the best and that's all we can do.
[Caption: How have you used your Queen's Awards to generate interest or publicity for your company?]
We have The Queen's Awards logo on all our emails. We have it on our correspondence. And we had a big event - we won the Award so we invited customers, from in excess of 20 countries over here, and they just loved that. They loved the whole thing about Royalty and Her Majesty.
[Caption: What advice would you give to a company thinking of entering The queen's Awards for the very first time?]
Go for it! It's an internationally recognised Award.
And I feel so fortunate to have met Her Majesty The Queen. She's served her country for over 60 years.
It just brings such prestige - not only to the company, but to the employees, to the shareholders, the local community, to our customer base - through what is an easy process.
Go for it, and enjoy the experience.