First of all, in case you choose to skim this blog piece rather than read all of it, Team Sh! would like to thank all who nominated and voted for us in the ETO Awards – thanks to you lovely guys & gals we took home TWO awards! For a small, independent company, winning an award (or two!) when up against some of the giants in the adult industry is huge, and it really spurs us on to go forth and do more great things!
The ETO (Erotic Trade Only) Awards are the most prestigious awards within the adult industry, so winning one is amazing – but romping home TWO is the icing on a very sexy cake! Thank You!
The ETO Show, put on by the team at ETO Magazine, took place at Birmingham NEC over 28th and 29th June. Bigger than ever, the adult trade show is a place to meet old friends, make new ones and look at the latest exiting products.
Whilst a few hundreds visitors spent the Sunday at the trade show, I was unable to and instead headed straight for the gala dinner after having dropped off my luggage at the hotel.
Rocking up to an event all on your lonesome is hard enough, but even more so when the cabbie drops you off at the wrong entrance of a very big venue… I walked around looking for signs of life until I bumped into a lovely pair from Alter Ego clothing, also lost. Together we ambled through the impossibly long corridors until we eventually found the party. By this point I was damp with sweat (getting over a recent bout of stomach flu) and ready to kick off my stilettos – not the best start to an evening!
I was more than a little relieved to see familiar faces; KD Grace (winner of ETO Best Erotic Author 2014) and her lovely husband, Lexie Bay, Lily Harlem & Tabitha Rayne from Brit Babes and journalist Alix Fox to name a few gorgeous-looking peeps.
During the dinner, I was sat at the VIP table (all together now: ooooh!), the ETO table. Finally getting to meet the team behind the UK’s leading trade magazine was exciting, and if I'm honest, a little daunting. If anyone (me) had expected them to let down their hair during the evening, they were very wrong - the team remained professional throughout and whilst guests were enjoying a fantastic meal, parts of the team were buzzing around fixing last minute glitches. Also sat at the table was Emily Dubberley, founder of Cliterati and author of a whopping 29 books, who kept the conversation going whilst the rest of us enjoyed the wine.
After dessert, it was time for the Awards. Dale Bradford (editor) and Lee Schofield (publisher) read out nominations and winners, to cheers and applause. Sh! was nominated for Most Innovative Retailer 2015, but being pretty sure that a huge online retailer would take home the award, I wasn’t at all prepared when Dale called out Sh! I walked up on stage with wobbly knees and received the award and accompanying bottle of Champagne on behalf of the company. Back at the table, I quickly sent a text to Sh! MD Ky Hoyle to share the great news!
Having won the title of ETO Best Store Manager last year, I was fully onboard with passing on the title (it would be greedy to want one award for each hand, right?), so I almost pee'd myself with excitement when Dale called out my name!
Again, up on stage (with super-wobbly knees) to receive the award and bottle of bubbles (which was quickly uncorked and enjoyed), before letting the team know we’d won TWO awards!
The rest of the evening went by in a blur (thanks to the champagne), and lots of dancing ensued. The Brit Babes and the merry team behind Blue Moon Lingerie owned the dance floor, though I did my best to throw some shapes, too.
A special mention must go to Sh! friend Kay Jaybee who won Best Erotica Author, but was unable to attend the award dinner due to – literally – a pain in the butt. Congratulations lovely - we hope you're feeling better!
All in all, it was an amazing evening which ended MUCH better than it started!
Check out the full list of winners here.