Brie Read of Livingston-based clothing firm Snag honoured with NatWest Everywoman of the Year Award
Brie Read, the entrepreneur behind Livingston-based online hosiery and clothing retailer Snag, has secured the top honour at the 2021 NatWest Everywoman Awards, which celebrate the achievements and impact of female business leaders.
Ms Read has won the NatWest Everywoman of the Year Award, praised for having “turned every woman’s nightmare into a multi-million-pound success story” with the inclusive e-commerce firm.
The businesswoman founded Snag after she “suffered the indignity of the elastic going in her hosiery and her tights falling down”, deciding to shake up the industry’s “one size fits all” approach, with the organisation now boasting 1,500 product lines in sizes from 2 to 36.
The organisers of the awards noted that she raised £1.5 million from her customers in just five days to keep Snag afloat during the pandemic lockdowns, and she has previously said: “I think so far our proactivity has put us in a really good place dealing with so much change.”
The firm launched in 2017 and now turns over £45m, looking to grow this to £80m by mid-2023 on the back of major domestic and international expansion, already boasting customers in 90 countries. It has increased its staff to 90 from 60, and expects to hire an additional 60 over the next year as it expands.
The awards’ prestigious list of judges includes Chrissie Rucker of The White Company, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, and fashion designer Melissa Odabash, with Ms Read triumphing in the final after she was shortlisted as one of the most inspirational woman running a business that has been trading for three to five years.
She said at the time: “It’s incredible to be nominated amongst such amazing women. We try and do good in the world and for it to be recognised that we can do that and also be good at business is a real vote for a new more customer-first way of doing things.”
Maxine Benson, co-founder at Everywoman, has now said: “For nearly two decades, these awards have provided a platform to share the stories of hundreds of entrepreneurs, encouraging, emboldening and empowering other women to follow suit.
"Against a backdrop of Covid, these women have shown how innovation and enterprise have helped their businesses to thrive under extraordinary trading conditions. We hope their experiences will go on to inspire others and provide the motivation and inspiration that will be the backbone of the UK’s economic recovery.”
Julie Baker, head of enterprise at NatWest Group, said of the awards final: “The winners show just a fraction of the wealth of female talent across the UK. We need to ensure women business-owners have the same funding, networking and support opportunities as men.
"This is why NatWest has ringfenced £2 billion for female-led businesses, we have 800 women in business specialists across the UK, and a target to recruit 60 per cent women entrepreneurs to our accelerator hubs."
The award is the latest for Ms Read and Snag, which was named Digital & E-commerce Business of the Year at the FSB awards earlier this year, for example. She has outlined aims for her firm to become a billion-pound brand, “solving the issue of inclusion for customers and giving them ethical fashion that lets them reflect who they are on the inside, outside”.