Dragon’s Den: Sara Davies joins show for series 17
Since founding her business, Mrs Davies has had a flurry of successes like being appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to the economy, becoming the youngest panellist on Dragon’s Den when she first appeared on the show in 2019 and most recently joining the celebrity cast of Strictly Come Dancing. By the end of her university career, Mrs Davies graduated with a £500,000 turnover and Crafter’s Companion was evaluated in 2018 to be worth nearly £25million, but being so successful comes with a fair share of life lessons too.
“I love crafting. Always have, always will. But if you’d told me when I was a teenager that I’d turn a bit of paper and glue into a global business, I’d have thought you were joking.
“From an early age, I knew I wanted to be in business,” she writes on her website. “My sister Helen and I helped out a lot as kids and learnt the value of money as well as the basics of running a business.
“There’s a thing my dad used to tell me, and it’s been stuck in my head my whole career, ‘If you’re prepared to work really hard kid, you might as well do it for yourself.’
“And that’s what he did.
“He had a finger in every pie – literally! He owned a van that would serve ice cream in the summer, and pie and peas in the winter. He’d buy bikes for cheap at car boot sales, and me and my sister would sit and buff the rust off them so my grandma could sell them on. My parents owned the decorating shop in our tiny village, and if a decorator came knocking on the door at 10pm, my mum would open up the shop and start mixing paint. Even now, I live just down the road from the village, and the family shop, which is now run by my sister!
Sara Davies will be joining the likes of Tilly Ramsay and Adam Peaty on Strictly Come Dancing (Image: BBC)
“Instead, I went to university and was introduced to the huge world that is crafting. After speaking to crafters who were putting their lovely handmade cards into standard white envelopes, I realised that I had found a gap in the market and Crafter’s Companion was born.”
Mrs Davies, originally from County Durham, graduated from University of York with a first class business degree in 2006, as well as a fully set-up and thriving craft supplies business, Crafter’s Companion.
Going about her own crafting hobbies, Mrs Davies stumbled on an idea that would eventually see her achieve celebrity-status in the entrepreneurial world.
“I did one of those courses where your third year is spent on the job, so I went to work for this tiny little crafts company. I fell in love with it. My mam used to craft with me a lot when I was little, and I used to crochet granny squares with my grandma, but that year at the craft company really opened my eyes.
“The craft industry is dominated by hobbyists who have turned their hobby into a business. I felt like there was a real gap in the market for someone to research and then develop products that fill those gaps, as opposed to just developing products that they love.
“The first product I invented was called the Enveloper – it was a little scoring board for making envelopes. I took the idea to my dad’s friend in the village who was a joiner, and he made a prototype out of MDF in his workshop. The plan was to then tool in plastic, but when we priced it up, we found out it was going to cost me £30,000.
“Instead, my dad’s mate started to mass produce the Enveloper out of MDF. I took the Enveloper to the shopping channel, and they loved it so much they let me come on the show to flog it! Then, I paid a kid in the year below me at university £200 to build a website for me, and that’s where it all kicked off.”
With help from her father, a retired engineer, Mrs Davies developed The Enveloper which quickly caught on in the TV shopping channels, selling 30,000 units in six months.
Currently, Crafter’s Companion exports their variety of crafting necessities and supplies to more than 40 countries, and Mrs Davies has not stopped here.
“Since I launched Crafter’s Companion, there’s never been a dull moment. I’ve taken our products and demonstrations to TV shopping channels across the world and have visited some amazing places, all in the name of craft.
“I’m proud that we’ve created a loyal community of crafters and a network of support for so many people!”
During her time on Dragon’s Den, Mrs Davies has invested £1,118,666 into the entrepreneurs (Image: BBC)
She continued: “On a personal note, I was awarded an MBE in 2016 and I’m the youngest-ever dragon to have joined the panel of entrepreneurs on Dragons’ Den. I used to watch the show all the time as a business student, so as you can imagine, it’s a dream come true!
“I’ve had a whirlwind of a career so far and never imagined that a passion for crafting could take me so far.”
In the advice section of her website, she added that to succeed in business, one needs a passion unlike any other and to have the utmost respect for those around them.
“My life is hectic. I’m running a business, I’m raising a young family and I’m juggling all this with my public career on television and radio. Anyone who knows me will say the same thing: I can’t say no to anything! But the thing that relaxes me and gives me peace of mind is crafting.
“The key to my success? People. Treat them with respect, value them and trust them to get on with things. Let them take on the world for you. It’s the staff in this business that made the business successful, not me.”
In 2015, Mrs Davies hosted the Local Television Limited’s craft show titled Be Creative, and she continued her television career when she joined BBC Two’s Dragon’s Den as the resident ‘Crafting Queen’ in 2019. She is now making her dancing debut as will in the 19th season of Strictly Come Dancing.
She has credited the show’s ‘glam team’ with making her forget about her ‘mum tum’, although it doesn’t seem to helping with her jitters.
On joining the show, she said: “I’m really nervous because so far the producers keep asking me if I can dance. Truth be told – I haven’t got a clue! I’ve not danced since I did ballet lessons when I was little.”
She concluded: “The business world has taught me that tenacity, drive and determination deliver results, I hope that I can bring that to the dance floor. And I’m excited to see the impact of all those hours of training on my mum tum!”