Blogged by Lucy Hoy
On 30th May Tim Breden (Commercial Director at Newlife) and I, headed off to St Pancras for a star studded award ceremony for The Observer Ethical Awards. Newlife Paints had been shortlisted for the Business Initiative Award, sponsored by Jupiter Asset Management.
30th May was already a big day for us. Back in the autumn we had supplied the paint for the DIYSOS Big Build in Dudley which was being aired that night on BBC1. Though of course (and rightly so),the Beeb will not endorse our product, it is still pretty great for us to see our fabulous recycled paint going on the walls on prime time BBC 1!
So Tim and I caught the train, had a little light supper in Carluccios, (v.v nice!) and tried to find our way to the hotel. Pretty poor effort actually, city kids we are not, and we managed to walk past it twice before resorting to the Sat Nav on our telephones and finding our way. Vaguely pathetic… ahem…. and turned out to be right next to the place we’d just eaten in!
The event was a relatively informal affair, drinks and nibbles, light chit chat, very relaxed and friendly. Once in and settled with glass of wine in hand I began chatting to the lady stood next to me. ‘My boss is presenting an award’ she said, ‘are you here as a nominee?’ ‘yes’ and I began the explanation… when you tell people you work for a firm that recycles paint, you initially get a confused look, ‘do you scrape it off the walls?’ I have been asked before. So I am pretty ready these days with a response that explains what we do and how we do it. ‘I work for a firm in West Sussex who recycles waste paint….’ ‘Oh! Do you work for Newlife Paints?’ It turns out my new friend works for B&Q, and was amongst the first from the firm to come and visit the factory and begin the discussions on their stocking Newlife Paint. She had loved the concept of paint recycling from the start and had worked hard championing our product within the firm. She had moved on to work on other projects so was thrilled to hear we had rolled out to over 100 stores now, with a good replenishment rate.
So a good start, I was feeling pretty jolly by this point, (nothing to do with the wine I might add), and then the brilliant Lucy Siegel took to the stage to present the awards. (I won’t list the winners and shortlisted, but here is a link should you be interested).
In our category the shortlist was three; Newlife Paints Ltd, (yay!), Ecotricity and The Ethical Fruit Company. All three are great companies working hard to make a difference, it was genuinely tough competition! I may have chewed my nails a little nervously at this point in the evening….
‘….and the winner is….. Ecotricity’
Disappointed? Well yes, maybe a little. It is hard to sound genuine when you say it really was an honour to be nominated, (particularly when you then go on to lose). I do mean it though. If you have the time, take a look at these companies and the work they are doing, they really are excellent. To be shortlisted with these companies demonstrates that we are recognised and appreciated for the work we are doing, the change we are trying to make. To even be up there as a contender was a proud moment for the hard working little machine that is Newlife Paints.