The future looks bright for award-winner Kay Winship as she celebrates ten years in business.
Kay took over S Walton Eyecare, in Stanhope Road, South Shields, ten years ago and was soon hitting the headlines.
She was named South Tyneside’s brightest entrepreneur after four weeks of public voting in the Shields Gazette’s If We Can, You Can challenge, which was run in conjunction with the North East Entrepreneurs’ Forum.
She even went on to join the judging panel for the competition subsequently.
A decade down the line, and Kay is in no doubt that the publicity she received from that early win has played a major part in the success of the business.
“I was the first winner, back in 2008 and I would definitely say the growth of the business was in large part down to my exposure in the Gazette during that first year of trading,” she said.
People like they way we do things and they come back, so our customer retention rate is very good.Kaye Winship
“I also received a lot of help from the Entrepreneur’s Forum and I was encouraged all the way by my business mentor.”
Kaye is delighted to be part of South Tyneside’s business community.
“I have benefited from being based in South Shields and the support I have received from the borough council,” she said.
“I am currently going through a marketing programme for which I received help from the European Regional Development Fund.”
Kaye believes personal service has been key to the business’ success and ensures much of its new custom comes through word of mouth.
“We do have a lot of regular, loyal customers and we generate growth mainly through personal recommendations,” she said. “People like they way we do things and they come back, so our customer retention rate is very good.”
And she is optimistic about the future, especially after taking the decision to move into providing specialised eyewear for her more active customers.
“We have branched out specifically into sports vision,” said Kaye.
“We provide the correct visual equipment for your particular sport, such as personal ski or swimming goggles or diving masks, all to your prescription.
“I do see that very much as a growth area.”