Progressive Preschool Awards winners head into the weekend on a high

The winners of the Progressive Preschool Awards are continuing the celebrations as they head into the weekend, with many sharing their joy with

An audience of over 400 industry executives from across the retail, nursery, preschool, toy, marketing and licensing arenas were treated to a host of entertainment at the Royal Lancaster London on Tuesday 14 November, including comedy from Irish comedian and writer Jarlath Regan.

Susan Daker, founder and ceo at Bambinista London – the winner of Best Independent Nursery Retailer – said that she was “absolutely overwhelmed” to receive the award.

“This was such a moment of excitement and I can’t express properly the gratitude I have for the appreciation for everything that the Bambinista team have put in over the last four years,” she told “We are still a new business and to win this prestigious accolade is a testament to the hard work of everyone on the team. Thank you Progressive Preschool, our lovely suppliers and especially Team Bambinsta.”

Smyths Toys picked up the accolade for Best Multiple Retailer, with the retailer’s Aoife Daly telling us: “We are thrilled to be the winners of the Best Multiple Retailer category in the Progressive Preschool Awards 2023. We work hard to have the widest range of preschool toys for all children at great prices. We would like to thank everyone who voted for us.”

Smyths was also victorious in the Best Retailer Initiative category for its work with Hasbro on the Peppa Loves Jumping in Muddy Puddles campaign. Cat O’Brien, UK licensing director at Hasbro, commented: “Winning a Progressive Preschool Award for the Peppa Loves Jumping in Muddy Puddles campaign is an absolute honour, and it’s exciting to be recognised alongside other innovative companies.

“The team at Smyths Toys have been such wonderful partners in creating unique programs for Peppa Pig, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store next for the Queen of Preschool as we celebrate the beloved brand’s 20th anniversary. Through Progressive Preschool’s recognitions, it’s clear that the future of preschool products and retail is looking bright.”

John Lewis & Partners was once again successful in the Best Department Store, with partner and category lead for nursery, Roseanne Winthrop commenting: “We were delighted to hear that John Lewis had won Best Department Store at the PPS awards. We are so glad that the nursery, baby and preschool ranges that we carefully curate for our customers, as well as our service is being recognised.”

Amber and Rich Kavanagh, owners of Lucky & Gray, were delighted to collect their award for Best Independent Giftware Retailer, commenting: “As an independent business we feel so proud to be recognised with this award. It is a  wonderful achievement for all the hard work we have poured into creating our store.”

Meanwhile, for the winner of Best Independent Toy RetailerTreasures of Wetherby – it was a double celebration. “I am absolutely thrilled with our win. My team and I were delighted to have been shortlisted for the Best Independent Toy Retailer award and with such strong competition I am sure the judges had a tricky task to select one winner. When the date for the awards event was confirmed as 14th November, my birthday, I thought I just had to go,” exclaimed owner Zhara Armstrong. “I am so glad I did; it was a great experience to be part of the award ceremony and to meet other award nominees. Winning was just the cherry on top of an already wonderful day. Thank you to the suppliers who nominated Treasures of Wetherby, we really appreciate it. Very well done to all the organisers and sponsors of the awards, it was a super event. Our trophy is proudly on display for all our Treasures customers to see.”

The team at Rainbow Designs collected the Best Preschool Gift Range for its Mickey Mouse Memories Range.
The team at Rainbow Designs collected the Best Preschool Gift Range for its Mickey Mouse Memories Range.

It certainly was a team effort for Rainbow Designs, with the whole crew taking to the stage to accept the award for Best Preschool Gift Range for its Mickey Mouse Memories Range.

Director of product, creative and marketing services, Alys Dawson, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to win for this range; we worked really closely with Disney on this range and we feel really proud of it as we all know everyone shares special Mickey Memories.”

Posh Paws’ Lauren Shipman said that she was “shocked and delighted” to collect the award for Best Licensed Toy Range for the company’s Gabby’s Dollhouse Plush Toys. “While we know we have a great product range in our Gabby’s Dollhouse Plush collection, we were up against some fantastic products and great brands, so the whole team at Posh Paws feel truly privileged to have won,” she commented. “We also need to thank our partners at Universal for all their hard work, without them this award would not be possible. Gabby’s Dollhouse is a truly wonderful new preschool brand with lots more exciting things to come.”

Meanwhile, Connetix was honoured to pick up the award for Best Preschool STEM/Educational Range for its 50-piece Rainbow Transport Pack, with the accolade collected by sales manager Europe and UK, Steve Cox. “We’re thrilled that the Connetix Rainbow Transport Pack was awarded the Best STEM/Educational Range. We thank both Progressive Preschool and Dr Amanda Gummer’s team who recognise Connetix as champions of open-ended play. It was a privilege for our team to meet so many great retailers during the day and we’d like to thank them for their enthusiasm to get behind the brand.”

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