Following her dream of setting up a business in the male-dominated logistics industry has earned Sarah Squire recognition at this year’s prestigious Woman Who…Awards. The effervescent sales director of Parcelink Logistics Ltd wanted to show the world what a strong, innovative and driven woman could achieve – and that’s exactly what she’s done after scooping a commendation in the Growing SME category.
Sarah, who launched Parcelink Logistics just over two years ago, has grown her business into a market-leading position, servicing a range of loyal customers across the country and employing 27 staff at her base in Derby.
Within her first year, she achieved a turnover of £2.2 million, which rose to £2.7 million in 2017 – a figure she expects to double this year.
Starting with just two existing customers, Parcelink Logistics has gone from strength-to-strength, now with a fleet of 14 vans and handling in excess of 12,000 consignments a week.
And Sarah expects that growth to continue.
“During the last two-and-a-half years, Parcelink Logistics has proven itself to customers,” she added. “We can now draw the attention of businesses that have previously been unwilling to work outside of an established logistics company.
“We now have the strong foundations on which to continue to grow and I want to forge ahead and take the business to the next level. My aim now is to attract some major high street retailers and there’s no reason why this can’t be achieved. The sky’s the limit.”
Parcelink Logistics was born after Sarah realised that customers needed a cost-effective choice for awkward long and thin deliveries such as blinds and curtain poles.
With over 25 years industry experience, the last 5 for five years at City Link, before it ceased trading in December 2014, Sarah had the knowledge and expertise to exploit this gap in the market.
Uniquely, Parcelink operates without a hub and instead delivers directly into individual depots for the final mile delivery to end customers. This revolutionary method means the operation is streamlined, significantly reduces damages, minimises mistakes and requires minimal handling.
But the venture wasn’t without its challenges.
Sarah said: “The parcels industry is totally dominated by the major carriers. Whilst working at City Link I had the might of the brand behind me however, once out on my own I was faced with the challenge of meeting my competitors head-on and convincing potential customers that we were able to offer a better and more competitive service.
“It was tough as we not only had no track record, the model we had adopted was unique in the industry.”
But its Sarah’s hard work, perseverance and overall accomplishments which impressed the judging panel at this year’s Woman Who…Awards – held at Coventry’s Coombe Abbey Hotel.
She was celebrated, alongside 20 other inspirational women across Coventry and Warwickshire and Solihull at the prestigious annual awards.
Founded by respected businesswoman Sandra Garlick and Mark Harris, the accolades – which are now in their third year – were set up to celebrate the impressive work of women in business and the rising stars who are still in education or training.
Run in partnership with the Federation of Small Businesses, this year’s awards attracted over … entries from businesswomen across the region – highlighting, once again, the incredible wealth of local talent.
And the huge honour of being recognised at the awards was not wasted on Sarah.
“This is a tremendous achievement and I feel incredibly proud to have been given this commendation,” she added. “On a personal level, I am proud of myself for not only overcoming my doubts but succeeding in what is very much a man’s world. I want other women with a dream to do the same.
“Parcelink Logistics is proud, innovative and hungry – like many women who are taking the business world by storm. I have thrived in a male-dominated industry and pursued the career of my dreams, which is why this award is so important.
“I really hope this shows just what women are capable of, regardless of how many obstacles may be in their way.”