A Yorkshire Dales jam maker presented on Dragon’s Den last week and secured a deal with Dragon and CEO Tej Lalvani - but what happened next?

VIEWERS of an emotion-packed episode of Dragon’s Den last week would be forgiven for thinking that jam-maker Rachel Kettlewell had secured a deal with businessman Tej Lalvani for a share of her business.

Rachel, a teacher who lives near Hawes, Wensleydale, made a pitch to the Dragons for an investment in her reduced sugar jams business. 

On the episode, which aired on BBC One on July 1, she asked for £40,000 for 20 per cent of the business.

After being given a grilling by the Dragons, Rachel secured a deal with vitamin company boss Mr Lalvani, who offered £40,000 for 35 per cent,which prompted an emotional reaction and a rapid acceptance from the mum-of-three.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

However, the story didn’t end once the cameras had stopped rolling.

After the show had aired, Rachel posted an update on Facebook explaining that she had decided to not go ahead with the offer after all.

She said: “Being in the Den was an incredible experience. I’m really grateful for the opportunity, but afterwards we did decide as a business that the deal with Tej wasn’t the best thing for us to do.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

However, she thanked the Dragon for his support, said that he had been “a great friend” and added they will be keeping in touch.

Rachel’s business idea came about because she felt there was that there was too much sugar in standard jams. She wanted to create a healthier alternative so produced a range of reduced sugar and fruit-filled jams.

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She developed and launched the jams while on maternity leave from teaching with her two daughters, Fearne and Rosie – the name of her jams.

She added: “I just don’t think the deal was the right thing for our business. One of the things that I was talking about a lot was the fact that what I wanted as a next step for our business was that mentorship and support – it wasn’t the financial support that we needed as a business at that point.

“At that time, the funding wasn’t so much the issue. If someone had given me an amount of money as the founder, I wouldn’t have been in the best position at that point to know where to spend it to grow the business."

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The episode of Dragon’s Den was filmed in September 2020, since when Rachel has taken a sabbatical from teaching.

She added: “When I was in the Den I was still teaching part time.

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“But when I looked back at pictures from then, I was exhausted because I was basically doing two jobs with three children.

“I had a view of going back to teaching in September, but decided to resign from my post in maybe March time and decided that I wouldn’t go back.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Rachel said she has now started working with CEO, entrepreneur and investor Giles Brook.

She added: “He is a really lovely man and I’ve been really lucky because I’ve had a lot of time with Giles over the past year.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

“He has been an integral part of all the bits and bobs from Fearne and Rosie and what we have done along the way and he has a lot of strengths in the industry.

“Having him on board as part of our team really strengthens Fearne and Rosie and I feel incredibly privileged that I get to work with him.”

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Rachel’s change of heart is not unique, as 70 per cent of deals agreed on Dragon’s Den don’t actually go ahead.

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