TWIA - What's it all about?
The Wedding Industry Awards (TWIA) was set up to recognise and reward excellence in the wedding industry. There are both regional and national awards and the awards are held annually. If you win your region, you automatically go through to the national finals to compete against all of the other regional winners.
TWIA is different to some other industry awards as only couples who have actually used your services in the last year can vote and give feedback. It is not a popularity contest about who can get the most votes. This makes it a level playing field for all sizes of wedding business from individuals (like me), to big companies employing lots of staff and undertaking hundreds of weddings a year.
The judging process
Each couple who votes is asked to score you out of 10 for various statements and also give comprehensive written feedback for the service/product they received from you.
After the voting closes, the scores and feedback are carefully scrutinised by some leading industry professionals in each area. As an example, the wedding cake designer category is judged by Adele Duthrie (Editor of Wedding Cakes Magazine), Helen Mansey (Tutor at Squires Kitchen International Cake School) and Rosalind Miller (A multi award winning London cake artist). No pressure there then!
What did it mean to me to win my region in TWIA 2018?
Last year was the first year I had ever entered the awards. I knew the competition was tough. I didn't expect it to be my year but I went into it, hoping to learn something about the awards and keen to receive constructive feedback about my business. Much to my surprise, I was shortlisted with seven other fantastic North West cake designers. Even being shortlisted was amazing. It made me feel really proud of myself and my business.
When the award for my category was announced on the night, my heart was in my mouth. It is a full on, professional awards ceremony attended by a large number of suppliers. Everyone is excited and keen to see who takes the regional titles. I never in a million years expected it to be me winning 'North West Wedding Cake Designer Of The Year', but it was! It just goes to show, that you should always believe in yourself. Anything is possible.
Here is a video of me winning the regional title (reminiscent of Kate Winslet accepting her Golden Globe!)
The awards are really highly thought of in the wedding industry. Everyone knows if you have won TWIA! It is a mark of excellence and high standards in a very competitive wedding world. Other suppliers will want to work with you and couples will want to book you. It is something to shout about!
Applications for TWIA are now open. If you are a wedding supplier and are thinking of entering, I would whole heartedly recommend it. Whatever happens, after the national event in January, you will receive a copy of all of the feedback from your couples which is invaluable to see what you are doing well and if there are any areas for improvement to push your business forward. This year a 'constructive feedback' section has also been introduced which won't be seen by the judges, but could help you shape your business going forward. What a great idea!
I have applied again for the awards this year. There are are things I have improved in my business and little touches I have implemented to make me stand out from the crowd. I know the competition will be tough again as the North West has some absolutely amazing cake designers but as the old saying goes...
Wish me luck and I will keep you posted about how I get on.