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Meet the DSA Award Winners
Last week, we went to the Direct Selling Association UK’s 2023 Awards celebration. These awards recognise the achievements of business owners, and we are thrilled that we had four Independent Usborne Partners nominated across the various categories!
Meet the Winners
Keely Horn - Direct Seller of the Year Usborne Community Partnerships
“I started my business back in October 2015 whilst I was working as a part-time primary school teacher with two young children. I needed fun in my life, and I needed to get my identity back! Starting with Usborne was a hobby with benefits… extra money in my pocket and incredible books for my children.
I’d always been a fan of the books- one of my favourites still being ‘Noisy Santa’ which I bought for my son when he was a baby, almost 3 years before I joined. I truly believe our books are second to none, so many of them are what I’d call my ‘favourite’ as many pupils of book fairs will tell you!
I couldn’t ever have dreamed of the business I was able to build- I honestly had no idea of the potential when I began. So much of this business is making the decision to act, no one can do it for you. Taking one step at a time, believing in your capabilities and being consistent are probably my top tips for anyone wanting to grow their business.
I have been so appreciative of the freedom and choices I’ve been able to create for myself and my family. We have a much better quality of life with me running my own business than if I was still a teacher. I value the time I’ve been able to have with my children during these past 8 years and I’ll be forever grateful I stumbled upon this opportunity.”
Vikki MacDonald – Mentor of the Year
“I started my Usborne bookshop in November of 2015. I joined simply because I adored books, I wanted to get free ones for my three boys who were just six months, 3yrs and 7 at the time. Looking back, I was desperately lost, my eldest has complex disabilities, I’d given up my career two year’s prior and I needed to find me again.
From starting just for free books, to discovering a whole new world of community, friendship, and purpose, eight years later, I’ve travelled the world, bought our own house, and found who I was meant to be.
My favourite part of my business is supporting others to do this too. Seeing someone grow and achieve, training and guiding them, both in mindset and the business so they can reach their potential is the most wonderful job in the world.”
Sarah Singleton – Community Star
“Since joining Usborne back in 2017, I have personally supported over 100 schools, providing them with over £55,000 of free books. My business, ‘Brilliant Books for Children’, has been invaluable in developing reading for pleasure in schools across the UK. I can often be found in a school assembly wearing an inflatable duck outfit (see ‘Poppy and Sam’), and I love showing enthusiasm for reading to pupils as much as I can.
Being an Independent Usborne Partner has changed my life. It has allowed me to be ever more present in my own family life, particularly with my 2 daughters Esme and Phoebe, who love having Mummy around more. My daughters love Usborne books, and it makes me so happy knowing I can continue to make a difference in my community while being present for them.”
Zoe Ash – Finalist, Mentor of the Year
“I’ve been working with Usborne for around 5 years. Initially I was attracted to the opportunity when I was a stay at home mum and my son was around 1yr old. I thought it would give me 'something for me' after giving up my previous career as a Vet Nurse during pregnancy. I also liked the thought of my son growing up around books and loved the fact I could build him a home library of free and discounted books from the best books out there!
I kept things simple for a while, enjoying stalls and online sales via social media and virtual markets working things around life with my 2 young sons. Then, in January of 2022, I had a mindset shift. After realising I did want to build my business into something bigger and no longer letting myself get in my own way, I decided to start recruiting and building a bigger, stronger team.
Anyone thinking of starting their own book business should just think about all the positive things it will do for you and your family. Forget about the worries and the what ifs, you won't ever know how wonderful and fulfilling it could be if you don't give it a go! The Usborne Community has some of the loveliest people you could wish to share your 'work' with. One other thing too... explore all the avenues Usborne offers, it's far more than just selling books - so you may well discover that working with schools, running a bookclub or building your own Team is YOUR perfect part of the business.”
Congratulations to Keely, Vikki, Sarah, and Zoe on this incredible accomplishment!