I’m not going to lie, going into the Den was completely terrifying! And to some extent I still can’t believe that I did it! But I’m so glad I did or I would have regretted it forever! And although it was scary it was an amazing experience. So for anyone thinking of applying, just go for it. If I could do it, and move house the next day, anyone can do it!
I wouldn’t really consider myself to be that confident, I’m definitely not someone who would stand up and make a speech or do a presentation to a room full of people … so the thought of entering the Den was a scary one for me. But … I am so passionate about my product and I have put so much time into it that I could bore anyone to tears talking about it, so why not tell the Dragons about it!
I applied ages ago, and because I hadn’t heard anything back, I assumed I hadn’t been successful. The new series had just started, and as I was watching I wondered if I should apply again but hadn’t done anything about it. A few days later I got a call out of the blue from one of the researchers! I was so excited! I then had a telephone interview, and following this I was asked to go to London for an audition. This in itself seemed scary as I hadn’t got much time to prepare a pitch, but they were so lovely and kept it all as relaxed as possible, so don’t be nervous about this part.
A few weeks later I was asked to provide lots of paperwork, and I mean LOTS! Everything to do with the business right from the very beginning. So, if you are going to apply, be prepared for this part.
Finally! I found out that I’d been given a filming date!! This was seriously exciting but even more nerve wracking as now I really had to get my pitch nailed and to make things a little more interesting it was the day before we moved house!
You stay overnight in a hotel near to the studios, I arrived quite late as I was still packing boxes! It’s safe to say I didn’t sleep very well that night, and then my alarm went off at 5am, ready to be collected at 6.30am … I’m not really a morning person, but it was fine! At reception there were other entrepreneurs waiting to be picked up, I kept thinking they all looked really calm! I was the only one on my own, maybe that was it! Or maybe they were hiding it well.
We were then taken to the studio, and there we met the production team and the people that had helped us through the process to this point.
We then had a props meeting, where we met the whole production entourage! Who were all lovely, and everyone told them what they were intending to take into the Den etc. At this point I wish I worked in TV, it all seemed so exciting.
After this we went to the green room, where loads of lovely food & drink had been laid on, pastries, fruit, chocolate, crisps … Under normal circumstances I would’ve tucked in, but I couldn’t eat a thing.
We then went into hair & makeup. It was now about 7am and I was fully ready for the Den, but I had no idea how the day was going to go, we weren’t allowed to know which order we were going in, so the waiting is definitely the hardest part… and my mind was playing tricks on me … About mid-morning we were told filming would start after lunch, and we were given a menu to order whatever we wanted from. I struggled to eat anything! Very unlike me…
Long story short… I was praying I was up first, the Dragons would be fresh, I would be able to get home to finish packing! And I didn’t think I could take the nerves in the green room much more! But ….. I was last into the Den, and didn’t go in until around 6.45pm ish!!! So it’s a long day, again, if you want to apply be prepared for the waiting around, as long as you know it’s part of the experience and take it for what it is then you’ll be fine.
Even as I was being taken down to the studio I still couldn’t believe what I was doing. I have to say a huge thank you to the team at the Den because they were amazing and got me in there! I don’t think I could’ve done it without them! And I mean that, it was a very surreal experience!
I had a moment just before I went in to the lift where I thought I can’t go in, my mouth dried up and my heart was beating so fast I thought everyone would be able to hear it. I had heard the Dragons laughing and chatting and this totally freaked me out, because suddenly it was all very real…. But then I heard 3, 2, 1 and the lift doors opened! Now what! I couldn’t run, so I stepped into the lift. I can’t even remember what was going through my mind, whether it felt like the quickest lift ride ever, or like I’d been trapped in there for hours! But when the lift doors opened there they were! In real life!!! Plus all the production crew, and it was silent… That was so unnerving!
They were sat a lot closer to me than I expected, and I think I was a little bit star struck to be honest!
I eventually found my position and off I went. I honestly didn’t know how my pitch had gone… I felt like I couldn’t talk, and I felt like I looked like I was physically shaking, but I somehow got through it without stopping and I was so relieved when I had finished … But it’s then that it gets really tough! The pitch is actually the easiest bit!
A lot was said that didn’t get shown, Piers was very nice to me the whole way through and said that I presented well, which was lovely because its not something I’ve ever done, it’s not part of my job etc.
As you probably know I didn’t get investment, although I thought at one point Kelly and particularly Deborah may have been considering it, and although I would’ve loved to have worked with one of them, and I was sad when I left the Den, I am so glad I had the chance to do it and meet them. Three of the biggest people in the business world told me that I have a good product and that I’d do well so I am well and truly holding that thought!
I felt disappointed initially when I came out because I felt I could have done more to persuade them but everything happens for a reason.
The BBC look after you very well and I will treasure the experience forever. So if you’re thinking of applying, stop thinking and do it!!!
For a limited time Episode 3 of Dragons’ Den, Series 12, will be available to view on the BBC iPlayer here. Kate’s pitch can be seen between 40:27 and 43:25.