We’ve been chatting with our founder and director, Lucinda White again, this time to find out why and how she started Pure Awards.   

Why I Started the Business

So, in terms of why I started the business – my background has always been fundraising events and I came out of university with the intention of working in some kind of theatrical or performing arts background behind the scenes, not on the stage.  

I did some work experience with the Sheffield Theatres development manager during my university course, which was great, and after university I got a couple of other jobs. One was with Whirlow Hall Farm trust, in Sheffield doing fundraising events, and then the opportunity came up to work as the development manager for Sheffield Theatres. I’ve always loved working with Whirlow Hall Farm trust and have done every time I’ve gone back. But at the time the theatre was definitely where I wanted to be.   


How was it working with Sheffield Theatres? 

It was a very exciting time, because it was when Michael Grandage was there doing all the big shows with people like to Derek Jakobi. And Joseph Fiennes and people like that. So, it was a really, really exciting time in theatre. However, at the time there was a few changes that happened, and I decided to step away from that role after a few years and went to work somewhere else and then got made redundant.  


How did you deal with being made redundant?  

At the time I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, so had to put my thinking cap. I was thinking, you know, I’d had all this employment but, in that time, I had developed and formed a lot of business relationships with a lot of people in the city. I’d got a lot of contacts; a lot of people knew me. And I thought I could probably do this for myself in some way, shape, or form. In 2005, I remember sitting in the tax office, because there wasn’t really anything online as such at that point, sitting there with the form, and it said quite clearly, name of the business, I have no idea what am I going to call myself, so I kind of just went, “White, surname is White, white, pure, pure, and I’m going to do events. So Pure Event Management, that’ll do.” That’s basically what I called myself.  

I stayed in that sort of realm of events and fundraising, working with people like Sheffield Marathon and half marathon team, delivering, and managing the Committee on behalf of Sheffield, international venues, and working with other charities for a while.  


How did you move from events to awards?  

One of the charities that I was working with wanted to enter business awards. I really enjoyed doing that, and they were winning a lot of awards.  Because it’s quite similar to the grant writing in that you’ve got very a specific brief that you’ve got to answer and meet certain criteria points, backing up statements with evidence and sticking to a strict word count.  So, I thought you know what this actually fits in quite nicely with what I’m already doing, but it’s much more of a celebration on the night and being part of helping those businesses felt really rewarding. Those organisations get the exposure that they perhaps wouldn’t have had before, and it was really nice environment to be working in. 

At that point I started to move away from the event side of things, because I had two young daughters, and I didn’t want to be doing too much on the events that would take time away from being with my family. I wanted to work my business around family time and being at home with them, which also allowed me to take on more clients than I was before.  It didn’t matter if I was working until midnight because the kids would be asleep, and I could work my business around our family schedule.  The flexibility of my hours enabled me to work with other clients which was great!  


How did things go from there?  

I started running workshops, the first being with the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber staff.  They all sat there through my first ever workshop which went on for three hours! It was very scaring running a workshop for the first time.  Since then, I have honed down the workshops that I now deliver to around 45 minutes to an hour, usually in webinar form.  Over the years I’ve worked with many different awarding bodies within the National World group, and they have helped me to generate more exposure in the area of awards.   

After a few years I decided to rebrand and drop the events side of things altogether, that’s when Pure Awards was born.  Because I wasn’t really doing events anymore, I didn’t want my business name to be confusing.  In 2022 after lockdown, I used some of the funding that was available at the time to invest into a complete rebrand and focus on really establishing a much more professional edge to the company, to the brand itself, and the marketing.  


Where are you now?

Clients that I’d worked with back in 2013-14 came back in 2020 and went on to win an amazing number of awards.   

One company in particular got to an incredible point in their business where they were able to sell the business to another partner in the industry, retain all the staff and grow it still within that big partner brand, which was fantastic. The awards were integral to that process for them as well.  

Overall, it’s been a bit up and down all along the way, there’s been times when nothing was coming in, which of course was very stressful. Then there’s been times when things have boomed, and then it’s kind of dropped down again, and it’s gone up again. But the majority of the strength of the businesses, it’s grown and grown and grown as years have gone on.  

So, when I set out in 2005, thinking, what am I going to do with my business? I had no plan. I just thought I’ve got to I’ve got to work for myself, because there weren’t any of the jobs that I was able getting at that point. I didn’t have a plan. And that probably showed for the first 10 years of running the business, not having a plan, just kind of doing what we’re doing. But then I started to have a bit more of an idea of what I wanted to do with it and how to how I wanted the direction I wanted to take it in really. And I suppose in the last two or three years that’s really come to fruition much more because the kids are now older. So we’re at a point now where I can now refocus on the business and building it and taking it in really in the direction that I want to take it.  


It was never set out to be an award writing business, it was just going to be events and fundraising, because that was my background. But as with anything, things develop, morph, and change.  And I’ve always, I suppose from about 2010 onwards, I’ve been known as like ‘the awards lady’ in and around the area. Because I’m more promoting that more people are more engaged with it, they kind of trust it more as a process and as a marketing tool. There are massive benefits from entering business awards and we’re feeling it ourselves just recently with the F:entrepreneur #iAlso list already. So, it’s an exciting opportunity to get to get involved with if your business is in the right place to do it. 


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Pure Awards is an expert business award writing, grant writing and content creation agency with over 10 years’ experience.  For more details about our services and who we are, visit our website.