It’s not every day you get to turn down a Dragon - but then the last few weeks have been about as far from ordinary as you can get.
When I first launched my health food business LoveRaw. I did it because I wanted a job where every day wasn’t going to be the same. After years working long hours in the banking sector, I wanted a career I really believed in. I wanted to create something people would love and that I could be proud of. And alongside that I wanted to enjoy the experience and to push myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I can safely say that appearing on Dragon’s Den last week has helped me tick a lot of those boxes
I can’t say it was a completely enjoyable experience - if you watched it, you might have spotted I was a bit nervous - and I spent the week before broadcast feeling sick with worry about how I might come across and how it would be edited as I was in the den for 60 minutes. It was an unforgettable experience, one that taught me a lot about the value of grabbing every opportunity, listening to what others have to say and giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back every now and then.
At LoveRaw it’s very much a team effort. I run the business with my husband Manav and a great group of colleagues. So stepping into the studio on my own felt a little daunting. As a Dragon’s Den fan I’ve watched plenty of entrepreneurs make the lonely walk into the studio. Doing it myself was surreal.
I’d spent weeks honing and practising my pitch but even so, being grilled by Deborah and co wasn’t easy.
I was asking for a £50,000 investment but it had to be on the right terms. We weren’t prepared to give away too much of what has become our family business so when the offer came, in return for a 30 per cent stake in LoveRaw, I deliberated, then said, ‘no’. But…the Dragons did give me some invaluable feedback and being offered an investment, even if I did turn it down, was a real vote of confidence.
As a working mum - my daughter Marni is two - life can feel very hectic and it’s hard to take time to sit back and take stock, to enjoy what we’re doing, to appreciate the business we’re building. So it was brilliant to hear from so many lovely people on social media during and after the broadcast.
I set up LoveRaw with £600, a blender, and some good intentions and it’s amazing to think that we’ve become a product people really love and trust. Meeting customers online who share our passion for good food, honest products, made without too much fuss, has been an absolute joy.
That’s been the high point and real value of my Dragon’s Den adventure - and it’s priceless.
Tagged in Vegan