Greeting card making has been the limelight this week as the days countdown to the start of the 17th series of BBC’s Dragons’ Den this Sunday (August 11), which sees Sara Davies make her debut as the youngest ‘Dragon’ ever on the programme.
“I’ve been a fan of the show since it started, I was even invited to pitch on the show 13 years ago so it feels like I’ve come a full circle. It wasn’t all that long ago when I was in the position of the contestants so I really feel like I will be able to relate to their stories and their journeys so far,” Sara Davies, has revealed in all manner of media – from The Times and the Daily Mail to the BBC’s One Show.
The ebullient 35 year old, who hails from County Durham, has up until now made her millions from greeting cards and other crafted products. Having founded Crafter’s Companion, a crafter’s brand 13 years ago from her bedroom in university as well as hosting her own craft programme Be Creative TV, the company now turns over £34 million a year and employs over 190 staff across the UK, US and Europe. In addition to being on sale online and via the shopping channels, the company’s products are also sold by retailers, including Paperchase and John Lewis.
Sara herself has received over 25 business awards and was also awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to the economy in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
“People forget we’ve got awesome entrepreneurs all over the country, especially in the North East. I’ve been teaching those lovely southern people some good Geordie-isms over the course of the series,” Sara was quoted in The Times this week.
The article makes the point that Sara is the ‘only Dragon who can claim to have literally pushed the envelope to build her fortune’ citing how in 2005 when she was a 21-year-old management student on a third-year placement at a local papercraft company she had two crucial insights. The first of these was that millions of people like to make their own greetings cards. The second was this: “As ridiculous as it sounds, I used to look at these cards people made and say, ‘Ooh, but what do you do for your envelopes?’ No one had figured it out.”
As well as going on to tap into the UK’s number one pastime of greeting card making, Sara came up with a product called the Enveloper, which is a shaped piece of MDF that helped home crafters to make bespoke envelopes. She mocked one up with a friend who ran a local joinery firm, then phoned the shopping channel Ideal World, which was selling card-making products. Recounting that pivotal moment in the entrepreneur’s journey, The Times article recounts: “I literally said, ‘I’ve got a proposition for you that you absolutely can’t lose. It’s an obvious upsell. I am a natural born saleswoman and I’ll have the buyer eating out of the palm of my hand,’ ” said Sara.
Sara joining the Dragons’ Den line-up follows on from Andy Pearce founder of online card operator Thortful appearing prominently on the programme on Boxing Day 2017 (that was repeated in early January 2018) achieving not only the promise of investment, but more importantly, huge ‘free advertising’ for the brand. (https://www.pgbuzz.net/thortful-print-on-demand-card-operator-braves-it-in-the-dragons-den/)
Top: Sara Davies is the youngest ever investor on Dragons’ Den.