Looking for the spirit of excellence

The nominations for the 2019 London Lifestyle Awards are well and truly open, with entries flooding in across many categories. The London Lifestyle Awards are the perfect opportunity to celebrate and admire the great work that these businesses are doing. Year on year, Londoners get an ever better deal as the calibre of lifestyle businesses increase. As with all years, this year is going to be incredibly difficult to come up with a shortlist. Narrowing the total nominations down to just 200-220 businesses across the capital is the hardest thing I do throughout the London Lifestyle Awards year.

I often get asked “What are you really looking for in a lifestyle business that will secure them a place them on the shortlist?” I think it can really be summed up in one phrase...I am looking for ‘The Spirit of Excellence’. The Spirit of Excellence, for me, does not necessarily mean luxury - yet I don’t think you can have true luxury without it. It also doesn’t have to mean that a business is super well-known or of a certain size, but it’s an attitude that is exuded from the management and the staff to the product or service.

We don’t have a category in the London Lifestyle Awards for Best Corner Shop but if there was one, I think the one that’s just around the corner from my Kensington flat would probably win. This corner shop carries the same produce and brands as most. People use it to pick up tins of soup, dried pasta, lottery tickets, newspaper and cigarettes. There’ll also be the occasional birthday card or box of chocolates for those (usually men) who haven’t pre-planned a special gift. A corner shop maybe, but the spirit of excellence runs deep through the shop.

Upon entering the shop, the husband and wife team are always attentive. They’re never on their mobiles, chatting to friends or scrolling social media but they are ready, eager to serve and always greet you with a good day. Merchandising throughout shows pride but it also demonstrates respect for both the customer and the product itself. The shop is always clean, even when the weather outside is utterly filthy. They always manage to keep the place immaculate. This, of course, is a small business and I suspect it earns the family, who own and run the show, an average standard of living, but I see the spirit of excellence and it keeps me, and many like me, returning.

This is exactly what we are looking for in the London Lifestyle Awards. While we’re not looking for corner shops, we are searching for brands that value this attitude, this way of life and this business ethos. We seek it out constantly, in the bars, restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, member clubs, gyms, hair and beauty salons of London.

It’s the spirit of excellence that gets noticed and, ultimately, secures businesses a place on a short list for a London Lifestyle Award.

Nominations open www.britishlifestyleawards.com/nominations