Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies reveals behind-the-scenes secrets

WITH a craft business that turns over £35million a year, it’s fair to say Dragons’ Den judge Sara Davies knows a lot when it comes to business.

The Hartlepool-born entrepreneur, 38, became the series’ youngest dragon at 35 when she replaced Jenny Campbell in the 17th series, which aired in August 2019.

Sara Davies, 38, who became a judge on hit BBC show Dragons' Den in 2019, recently published her new book. "We can all do it"

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Sara Davies, 38, who became a judge on the hit BBC show Dragons’ Den in 2019, has recently published her new book ‘We can all make it’.Photo credit: BBC
Crafting guru Sara has now revealed the secrets behind the scenes - and not everything seems to be on camera. Pictured with the other judges

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Crafting guru Sara has now revealed the secrets behind the scenes – and not everything seems to be on camera. Pictured with the other judgesPhoto credit: BBC

But while many of us tuned in to watch as budding entrepreneurs try to convince Sara and the other judges – Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett, Peter Jones and Touker Suleyman – to invest in their product, not everything appears on camera to run.

In her new book ‘We can all make it’, which was released on April 28, Sara shares the behind-the-scenes secrets of the hit BBC show – and what it’s all about Yes, really takes to convince them to invest in a business venture…

THE DRAGONS YES, REALLY SEE NOTHING BEFORE

Sara finds how many people refuse to believe that the dragons don’t see the entrepreneurs beforehand.

The savvy businesswoman, who founded the crafting company Crafter’s Companion from her college room, writes, “What I didn’t expect on the day of shooting was how little you tell the dragons in advance.”

She goes on to explain that there are two separate entrances to the studio – one for the Dragons and one for the Entrepreneurs.

According to Sara, keeping them in separate parts of the building means they don’t have a chance of accidentally colliding while applying makeup.

“Once we’re done, we sit in the chairs and there are huge black screens in front of us,” she writes.

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“The team does our hair and makeup touch-ups and checks the audio, then the director gets a message from the floor manager and yells, ‘Contractor in the elevator!'”

She adds that it is only at this point that the screens are raised and the Dragons can see the product being opened for the very first time.

REACTIONS ARE REAL

Sara, who received an MBE in 2016, insists all reactions caught on camera are real.

She writes, “We are not actors – we would all be terrible actors!”

“Even if we end up having to pick up a few extra lines when one or two of us may have been talking about each other, we’re all terrible at being so utterly stilted and useless in faking a replay of our real reactions.”

She goes on to say that being asked to repeat her lines is her “biggest nightmare of the day” – adding that none of the dragons are good at “faking”.

WHAT ARE THE DRAGONS LOOKING FOR?

All entrepreneurs pitching their business idea to the Dragons hope to get off the elevator and hear those famous two words from the investors: “I’m in!”

But what does it really take to convince Sara to make a deal?

Sara, who shares children Oliver, six, and Charlie, three, with husband and business partner Simon, notes that she’s looking for a lot more than just an investment.

In her book, she writes, “It has to be an investment that can add value to my life in other ways—something that’s both interesting and profitable, or something that’s both socially beneficial and profitable.”

And while many would assume that the dragons are all about one question: “How much money could you lose or make?” – turns out that’s not the case.

For Sara there is another question that is just as important – and that is whether she can really imagine working with the person.

“Sure, you could maybe make me millions, but I can do it myself,” she writes.

“What I can’t do is find interesting people with stimulating ideas – I need you for that.”

Sara adds that it’s important that she chooses an entrepreneur who she feels can learn from her and who enjoys doing so.

WHO MISS AN AREA OF ENTREPRENEURS

Sara points out that there is one area where she is very strict – and that is where most entrepreneurs screw up – and that is patents.

She describes it as “the worst feeling in the world” when an entrepreneur walks in with a great idea, only to find out it doesn’t have a patent.

Sara adds that many believe they can just apply for one, but it’s not that easy – especially after the idea was already revealed to the production staff and the Dragons.

“TERRIFIC” MOMENTS ON THE SHOW

Sara says the “most terrifying” moments on the show are when she knows she’s going to shatter people’s dreams.

She explains that while the concept may be good, the person isn’t necessarily right for her – adding that “you still can’t accept it because you feel too ‘kind’ to say no to someone to say.”

WORKING WITH DEBORAH MEADEN

In her book, Sara also shares how she enjoys using her TV profile to be a role model for “all the young girls who might not see elsewhere that in business, being ordinary can be enough.”

But, she notes, Deborah Meaden takes a very different approach.

Sara recalls how during her very first pitch in The Den, all of the Dragons were asked by a street food stand to line up for some food before sitting down and eating it while the pitch began.

But when Touker got up in front of her, Sara said she was joking: “Oh, come on. Ladies first… ladies first.’

However, the comment didn’t sit well with Deborah, who “barked” at her: “We’re not ‘mads and gentlemen.’ We’re all just dragons.”

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And we’re all the same.”

Sara – who praises Deborah for being “incredibly nice” and supporting her with advice and lyrics during her time at The Den and Strictly Come Dancing – says she was keen to make a name for herself.

She adds the reason is because she probably spent years “fighting for the same level of respect.”

Sara Davies and the other Dragons' Den judges

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Sara Davies and the other Dragons’ Den judgesPhoto Credit: Social Media

https://www.the-sun.com/lifestyle/5425255/dragons-dens-sara-davies-reveals-behind-scenes-secrets/ Dragons’ Den’s Sara Davies reveals behind-the-scenes secrets

Jessica MacLeish

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