Husband and wife team with vision celebrate one year in business
For Andy and Debbie Bannister the decision to leave their full-time jobs was motivated by a desire to support local businesses. They had a vision to create a vibrant website which would showcase all that's going on in and around the New Forest. After much research and planning they turned their idea in to reality and a year ago launched www.newforestevents.com . They haven't looked back.
The website offers local businesses and charities the chance to create and manage their own adverts for a small fee. The couple felt confident there was a need for the website and that it would benefit the local economy and the figures certainly back this up. The website now attracts more than 700 unique visits each day and via social media the website reaches 850,000 people. Feedback from advertisers on the website is positive with numbers attending to events increasing after promotion via the website.
Before launching the website, Debbie had a successful career in tourism and more recently education recruitment. Andy had a high-powered job in sales, marketing and operations which saw him travel the globe. It was when Debbie was critically ill in hospital in 2011 receiving treatment for bowel cancer at the age of just 31 that the couple decided to change direction and make their idea a business.
A year on from their launch Andy and Debbie reflect on the journey so far: 'Starting a company in a recession was a huge risk but we both felt that combining our skills we had the right aptitude to create a successful business. We have quickly learnt how to work well together and we both believe that the more you put in to your business the more you will get out. This does mean we often work far too many hours but we really love what we do.
We are really encouraged by the feedback we have received from local businesses and members of the public. Hearing what people think is key for us, we are on to the fifth version of our website thanks to useful opinions and advice from our users. Our goal is to support and promote local businesses and we know we are achieving this.'
Hampshire Fare welcomed New Forest Events as a trade member providing support and guidance during their first year of business. Chairman of Hampshire Fare, Mike Wright spoke of the food group's work with the company: 'It was a pleasure to help New Forest Events with advice and guidance when they started their business. It is a great example of how Hampshire Fare can make a real difference to local businesses.'
The New Forest Show marks the one year anniversary of New Forest Events the first of many landmarks for the dynamic duo. They are already planning how to expand and hope to one day have presence in other counties.