Gifts Today magazine

Julia Gash lauded in northern awards

One of Sheffield’s most entrepreneurial business leaders, Julia Gash was crowned International Director of the Year for the Yorkshire and North East Region at the Institute of Directors Awards, held at the Hilton Hotel in Sheffield on 11 June.

Mark Robson, Regional Director UKTI for Yorkshire & Humber presents Julia Gash with the International Director of the Year Award for Yorkshire and the North East

Julia, who is the reigning UK Director of the Year for SME businesses for the IOD, was awarded the International Director of the Year Award in recognition of the success she has achieved since launching an ethically focused accessories label: Talented in 2012 and which drives her company’s international business.

Julia, 51, made the conscious decision to diversify her core business, BIDBI (Bag It Don’t Bin It), which produces tote bags for many of Britain’s blue chip retail brands as a sustainable marketing solution or on trend and ethical fashion accessory. By creating a collection of eco-friendly tote bags and collaborating with emerging British designers Julia has created a brand, which holds great appeal to international buyers. Talented ‘s biggest fan base is in the Far East with Japan, Korea, China and Hong Kong being the brands fastest growing market. Talented is stocked in prestigious outlets and popular tourist attractions such as The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Chicago Zoo; the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as well as Liberty of London.

The Talented brand has helped her business to grow by 30% year on year and created six new jobs at BIDBI’s eco-print factory in Sheffield, within the space of two years. Julia’s success at the Institute of Directors Awards was down to steering BIDBI forward as a truly international business, with its core product made in fair trade certified factories in India and then creating a brand, which within two years, has successfully established itself in an international market place.

Julia says: “I am absolutely delighted to receive the IOD International Director of the Year Award for Yorkshire and the North East. I took a risk by investing lots of time, energy and any spare cash we had into an idea that I believed would increase our stability and give us access to more affluent, international markets. I cannot believe how far we have come in such a short time and it’s wonderful to be recognised for my risk taking and hard work as well as our commitment to supporting ethical and sustainable manufacturing facilities in India”

Julia has now been put forward to the national IOD awards to be held at London on 23 October 2015.

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