This post feels long overdue. It has been a bit over a month now since we appeared on BBC2's Dragons' Den, on Sunday 1st January 2017. Almost four years to the day since Rachel and I had the wine-drinking evening that led to the launch of LoveKeepCreate - The Clothing Keepsake Company. So it seems like as good a time as any to tell everyone a bit more about why we went on the Den and what the whole experience was like. *I wrote this and then realised it was so ridiculously long I need to break it up in to several different posts! Here goes Part One.....*
Rachel and I have always loved Dragons' Den and been fans of it for years. We've watched the Dragons come and go (grieved the loss of Theo Paphitis) and loved that Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones have been there throughout. As it became clear that in LoveKeepCreate we had hit on a such a popular concept and as the business grew, many of our family and friends started asking us why we didn't go on the Den. We discussed it many times and always felt that, when the time was right, we would consider applying. As it happened, in our first two years of business between us we had six different houses, four tiny children and husbands who were constantly away with the Army. Times were tough and keeping the business going, and growing, was taking up everything we had.
So why did we apply for Dragons' Den? It wasn't until the middle of 2015 when we finally got settled that it started to feel like we were in a position to go for it. We rented a workshop in Plymouth, we were based in the same county (the same county even), our husbands were both out the Army and living at home. Importantly, we also had two years' accounts behind us, so we could really demonstrate that what we were doing wasn't just a nice idea, it could work commercially. I filled in the application in October 2015. Let's not mince our words here, that was a pretty thorough form! It took ages and required quite a lot of fact finding before we were able to submit it. Boom! Form went in and we crossed our fingers. The Dragons' Den website said we would here by the end of January if we were successful, but if we weren't we just wouldn't hear anything.
Rachel and I both really believed we had a good proposition. We thought our figures looked good, we thought the concept would appeal to the Dragons and be popular to the wider audience and we thought we had a good back story. So we sat there excitedly and waited for the call - which didn't come. January came and went, February came and went. We thought it was over. We were so disappointed, but just knuckled down to the job at hand. Then in March we got a call, giving us just five days to get to an audition. The relief of getting through to the next stage was offset by the panic of planning a pitch and having all our figures ready to go in such a short space of time. We've always seen going up to London for business as little working mini breaks (no kids, no husbands, no cooking etc) so we were pretty happy to be going off for our audition. Going to the BBC's Media City all felt pretty exciting, although we got there so ridiculously early and had to spend about an hour and a half sat in reception. The audition seemed to go ok, in front of just a couple of researchers, but it was impossible to tell whether it was enough to get us through. Thankfully we got a call the next day confirming we were on!
Now it was just the wait to hear when we would be filming...
Check back next week for Part Two - Filming!