10th August 2016
Well done to former York College Art & Design student Sarah Sleightholm, and her business partner Beth Chilton, on giving a first-class business pitch on the TV show Dragon's Den. The duo negotiated an impressive investment deal with two of the country’s top business tycoons, Deborah Meadon and Peter Jones.
Sarah, aged 27 (pictured left) is a former student at Wensleydale School. She studied a National Diploma in Fine Art at York College between 2005 – 2007 and progressed to Northumbria University to study a degree in fashion design. More recently, at the end of 2015 Sarah, with her business partner, created the occasion-wear fashion brand Hope and Ivy, and Alter, a workwear brand.
During a pressurised hour and a half presentation in the Den, Sarah and Beth explained that their business had achieved an impressive £530,000 of sales, with a 28 per cent profit margin in less than one year of trading, having secured deals with top fashion outlets such as ASOS. Their well-rehearsed pitch secured them a joint investment of £78,000 from business gurus Deborah Meadon and Peter Jones, in return for 25 per cent of their business, dropping to 20 per cent as when they can repay the investment.
Sarah is now busy pitching fashion ranges to top high street outlets such as Next and Lipsy. She said: “The dragons’ contacts are absolutely endless, they can open lots of new doors. We have had a lot of emails come through already from companies that are interested in working with us. The exposure has been incredible.”