Deborah Meaden Early Life.
Deborah Meaden, born 11 February 1959. Successful business woman and self-made millionairess. She moved to Italy at the age of nineteen and started a business supplying high quality glass and ceramic items to retailers such as Harvey Nichols back in the UK. Although Deborah had sole agency rights for the products she supplied, they began to be sold in rival shops and she had to walk away from her first business. Undefeated, she re-entered the business world, soon opening the first UK franchise of the Italian shoe company Stefanel in partnership with a friend. Despite their success, Deborah wanted to move her career on and so her friend took on the whole franchise and she moved on to other positions, including a role in the leisure industry with Butlins.
Rose to TV stardom as a BBC Dragon’s Den investor. Firm believer in common sense, honesty and ‘telling it like it is’. Deborah Meaden’s style lends itself to numerous occasions. She is passionate about many causes and speaks with a conviction that will capture the attention of your audience, however varied. A self-made business woman and a firm but fair potential investor, Deborah Meaden is a household name due to her appearances in the BBCs Dragons Den. Having always dreamed of owning a company, Deborah showed entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and started her first business when aged nineteen, using earnings from previous jobs.
After gaining further experience in the leisure and retails sectors, Deborah worked her way to becoming an operations director at an amusement arcade business and was soon also working with holiday parks for the same company. When she was promoted to managing director, the business grew from just one to five holiday parks. Deborah eventually went on to purchase the company via an MBO and under her care it became yet more successful. She sold the company in 2005 but still maintains a role within the business. She is currently involved in several businesses.
Deborah Meaden Biography and Profile
Deborah Meaden, born 11 February 1959, in Somerset, Deborah grew up in Essex before moving back to the West Country. From a very early age Deborah knew she wanted her own business. Having left school after O-Levels she studied at business college and at the age of 19, with very little capital she launched her own glass and ceramics import company supplying upmarket stores like Harvey Nichols. But despite having sole agency rights, the goods started appearing in other high street shops and, without the finances for a legal fight, Deborah walked away.
After this Deborah embarked on a number of other business ventures including a franchise for Italian clothing company Stefanel and a prize bingo concession at Butlins.
With several successful businesses in the leisure and retail sector under her belt, Deborah decided to take up a position in the family amusement arcade business. Starting on the shop floor she worked her way up to Operations Director before moving across into the holiday park side of the business, Weststar Holidays. Within two years she had been promoted to Managing Director and grew the company to provide high-quality UK family holidays for over 150,000 people per year.
In 1999, keen to secure her future, Deborah undertook a management buyout borrowing the necessary funds from Lloyds to takeover the business. “Highly-geared but happy to be in control” , Deborah’s long term plan had been to grow the business and a period of substantial investment marked the early years of TGGL, her newly formed group.
With three prime sites achieving high occupancy rates in a fragmented marketplace, Weststar soon found itself the target of several takeover approaches. She finally sold the company to Phoenix Equity Partners in 2005 in a deal worth £33m, whilst retaining a 23% stake and an active role within the firm. She sold her remaining stake in the business when Weststar was sold to Parkdean Holidays for £83m.
Deborah joined the panel of investors for series three of the BBC2 programme ‘Dragon’s Den’ and has since invested in a number of businesses.Today Deborah’s portfolio of investments ranges from Good Bubble to Grip It, the worlds strongest plasterboard fixings.
Deborah actively supports a number of environmental charities and initiatives including the annual Observer Ethical Awards, which she has judged since 2008. Deborah is a fellow of the WWF, the world’s leading environmental organisation and she also acts as a Patron for Tusk Trust. In addition Deborah is an Ambassador for Lendwithcare and the Roundhouse, a Fellow with the RSA and Patron for the www.microloanfoundation.org.uk.
Today Deborah strives to achieve a life that balanced between her business interests, the projects and causes she feels passionately about and spending time with her family, friends and animals.
Deborah Meaden launched her first business
Destined to be a successful entrepreneur, Deborah Meaden launched her first business straight out of college, before setting up one of the first ‘Stefanel’ fashion franchises in the UK.
A Dragon since series 3, Deborah business sense emerged at age 19 when she launched a glass and ceramics import company, supplying stores including Harvey Nichols. She later took on a franchise for Italian clothing company Stefanel and a prize bingo concession at Butlins.
Deborah Meaden Weststar Holidays family business
She later joined her family business – Weststar Holidays, and eventually became Managing Director. In 1999 she acquired the major shareholding in a management buyout, later selling the company for £33m whilst retaining a 23% stake. She sold her remaining stake in 2007 when Weststar sold for £83m.
Deborah Meaden a full time investor
Deborah is now a full time investor with a wide ranging portfolio including Gripit innovative plasterboard fixings, luxury ‘made in Britain’ site The Merchant Fox, woollen cloth manufacturers Fox Brothers, ‘no nasties’ children’s toiletries brand Good Bubble, women’s fashion label Hope and Ivy, and Billy and Margot nutritious dog food and treats.
When did Deborah Meaden join Dragons’ Den and what other TV shows has she been on?
Deborah took over from Rachel Elnaugh on the third series of Dragons’ Den in 2003. At the time she was the only female dragon, alongside Duncan Bannatyne, Richard Farleigh, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis. Currently she is the highest investor on the show by average, investing over £3m in nearly 70 projects. Then Deborah took part in the 2013 series of Strictly, partnered with Robin Windsor. She lasted five weeks, with Abbey Clancy eventually winning the series.
What is Dragons’ Den?
Budding entrepreneurs get three minutes to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires who are willing to invest their own cash to kick-start the businesses. After each pitch, the Dragons have the opportunity to ask questions about the venture. The entrepreneurs don’t always have to answer, but of course, what they choose not to address could very well affect the outcome.
A Dragon who, having heard the pitch, does not wish to invest, must declare themselves “out”, implying that they leave the discussion. Supplement supremo Tej Lalvani and cashpoint queen Jenny Campbell – will be brandishing their chequebooks alongside Deborah, technology titan Peter Jones and fashion retail tycoon Touker Suleyman.
Personal and Charitable Interests
Deborah is an animal lover and lives with a mini menagerie in Somerset with husband Paul. She supports numerous charities including the chair of the ‘Childs Voice Appeal South West’, which is a part of Childline. She supports ethical, fair practice in business and in life and feels that taking care of the environment and wildlife is extremely important.
Outside the world of business, Deborah is a fellow of the WWF, and an Ambassador for Lendwithcare, the Marine Conservation Society and the Roundhouse. She’s also a Trustee of the Tusk Trust and a judge at the Observer Ethical Awards. Deborah lives in Somerset with her husband, two cats, three dogs, six horses, three pigs, five sheep, ten chickens, six ducks and three very angry geese!
Deborah Meaden Husband
Deborah Meaden married long-term boyfriend Paul Meaden in 1993. Paul and Deborah met when he was working at Weststar during his university break in 1985. They separated briefly due to the fact she didn’t want a family but after she took a trip to Venezuela, she returned to London and they tied the knot. In an interview with the Telegraph in 2011 Deborah revealed that she doesn’t do any housework because Paul is in charge of the “domestic chores.” In 2009 Deborah released book Common Sense Rules, using a ghostwriter.
Deborah Meaden Net Worth
Deborah Meaden is worth over £40 million.
Deborah Meaden Business Investments
Deborah Meaden joined her family business – Weststar Holidays, and eventually became Managing Director. In 1999 she acquired the major shareholding in a management buyout, later selling the company for £33m whilst retaining a 23% stake. She sold her remaining stake in 2007 when Weststar sold for £83m.
Deborah Meaden total invested in the Dragons’ Den is over: £3,746,000. Investments include:
- Yee Kwan Ice Cream (series 12, premium East Asian inspired ice cream)
- Rempods (series 7 joint investment with Peter Jones, reminiscence pods for people living in care)
- Dock and Bay (series 15, quick drying beach and travel towel)
- Marxman (series 14, non permanent DIY marking tool)
- Boot Buddy (series 14 joint investment with Peter Jones and Touker Suleyman, footwear cleaning accessory).
- Rehook: Rehook is the original tool to get your chain back on your bike. The tool’s patented design ensures your hands (and clothes) remain sparkling clean. Its adjustable high-grip silicon strap attaches to your bike frame so its immediately accessible and you can bounce over rocks and curbs with Rehook firmly in place – no rummaging through pockets or panniers. Rehook was created by Norwich based Managing Director, Wayne Taylor. The idea for the product came after Wayne dropped a chain, and arrived late for a meeting, with oil stained hands and a soiled shirt. There was no effective solution on the market, so Rehook was developed. Rehook was developed and launched in September 2016 using the power of 3D printing. The team were able to fine tune the design and test the market within just 10 weeks, avoiding any large financial investment.
Deborah’s venture showcases the best of British
Deborah acquired the historic West Country textile mill, Fox Brothers Ltd. with fellow shareholder Douglas Cordeaux in 2009. Deborah and Douglas are passionate about the heritage behind Fox Brothers and its traditional manufacturing methods. This passion has been the driving force behind their latest project, The Merchant Fox.
The Merchant Fox is an online retail site selling an exquisite collection of luxury items that are designed, manufactured and crafted entirely in Great Britain.The Merchant Fox’s collection is inspired by the historic mill and the wonderful artisan producers who continue to make goods in this country. Britain has a rich history of producing and manufacturing some of the finest materials and products in the world. An array of gorgeous products continues to be made here using traditional techniques and skills, often combined with modern design to make genuinely extraordinary items.
Some of the items are made in workshops, some are created to order by lone craftsmen working in small studios tucked away in corners of the British Isles, others are made in factories and mills, but the common theme of all that you see on The Merchant Fox is that each item has provenance, made in this country by genuine craftsmen and craftswomen.
Wherever possible, an element of Fox’s fine woollen and worsted cloths is incorporated into the collection, from hand cut dressing gowns to leathers goods created from British leather and skilfully crafted into products by a third generation leather worker.
Customers from around the world are drawn to the collection of goods put together exclusively for sale on the site and, with the launch of ‘By Appointment’, individuals are offered the chance to visit the former Counting House of Fox Brothers to see the entire collection for themselves, before placing their bespoke order for one-off pieces created specifically for them.
Deborah’s Book ‘Common Sense Rules’
In Common Sense Rules Deborah shares the secrets of her success, drawing on years of experience to offer advice that is both candid and straightforward. How do you turn a bright idea into a commercial proposition? How do you inspire others to get on board? Above all, how do you make sure that you stay focused and achieve the goals you’ve set yourself?
Some of Deborah’s insights come from observing the successes – and the failures – of others. Many more, though are drawn from her own life and business ventures. She shows, for example, how an early stint as a bingo caller in a holiday park gave her a crash course in customer relations.
Deborah Meaden Age
Deborah Meaden was born on 11 February 1959.
Deborah Meaden Politics
Deborah Meaden revealed on social media that she had decided to become more vocal about Brexit a month ago after she “realised the extent of lies, illegal activity, prospect of No Deal, [and the] effect it is already having on peoples lives”.
Deborah Meaden added: “I thought I had to stand up and be counted… not be scared or bullied into silence. That way I can sleep at night”.
However Deborah Meaden’s views have made difficult reading for some Brexiteers, with the star admitting that her comments on Brexit may have been “too taxing” for some that were unfollowing her as a result.
She refuted claims that she is only speaking out for her own benefit, explaining that she “won’t be the one hurt by Brexit” and that “the people who can least sustain the economic downturn” are the ones that will be. In a hard-hitting response to a Leaver that urged her to “accept” the Brexit vote she said that “thinking positively” simply would not cut it.
“I can’t support something that I think is going to be immensely harmful to my country and I also don’t believe ‘thinking positive’ is going to cut it. Brexit could be #breaksit as far as I’m concerned. I do agree we need an alternative vision but within the EU”.
As well as representing the views of SMEs in tweets she has also taken down the arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, warning him that the affects on business are already being felt, and that it will take “decades” to recover.
Deborah Meaden Slammed The Conservatives
The Conservatives claim to be a party for Business. They are not. They are the Party of hedge funds and financiers. They have no understanding of what is needed to help Business and no desire to.
Deborah Meaden Family and Hobbies
The Highly succesfull entrepreneur and Dragons Den Investor spends her time between London and her Somerset Home which she shares with her husband Paul, 2 cats, 3 Dogs, 6 Horse, 3 Pigs, 4 sheep numerous birds and 3 very Angry geese. Deborah Meaden married long-term boyfriend Paul Meaden have no children.
Deborah Meaden Biography and Profile