An entrepreneur has told of her pride after being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Sara Davies, 32, from Billingham, has been rewarded for her contribution and achievements in the craft industry.
The Durham-born businesswoman founded craft supplies company Crafter’s Companion 11 years ago, and has progressed it from a university-bedroom start-up to an international market-leader.
She recently oversaw the move of its headquarters from Coundon, in County Durham, to Newton Aycliffe, while the business employs 74 people in Britain and 22 in America.
Sara says her award came “completely out of the blue”.
She said: “I am thrilled, honoured and so genuinely humbled by this recognition. I’m also still a bit shocked, to be honest.
I am thrilled, honoured and so genuinely humbled by this recognitionSara Davies
“It came completely out of the blue and was a huge surprise for me, but I’m thrilled to bits.
“When I started the business 11 years ago, I could never have imagined how much it would grow.
“This is nice recognition for the industry as well, as this just doesn’t happen to people in our industry.
“I’m quite excited that it might hopefully raise the profile of the industry as well as the business.
“I also hope it inspires others entrepreneurs in craft to believe, innovate and put our industry firmly on the map.”
Sales at Crafter’s Companion reached £15million last year, £11million of which was in England.
The fast-growing company specialises in manufacturing, distribution and retail of crafting tools and products which are also sold online via its website, on TV shopping channels across the world and by independent retailers.
Sara will be presented with her award by the Queen or a senior member of the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, in London, later this year.
She added: “This award really is testament to my brilliant team and my amazingly supportive family.
“Without them, Crafter’s Companion and the success I have been able to achieve quite simply would not have been possible.
“I cannot wait to receive my honour and hopefully take my family for a trip down to Buckingham Palace to help me celebrate this humbling achievement.”