Dragons’ Den star who wowed cast explains why she ‘didn’t use the £100,000’

Dragons Den winners: The original and the best

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“Being a female entrepreneur, you’re constantly doubting yourself. I am managing a family, two children and a growing business, and the business became my third child.” Having found huge solace in exercise, Sharon decided to create excellent quality leggings that were body-positive and would support a woman’s shape – no matter what size. 

Peachylean was born in 2018, leading Ms Keegan to eventually enter the Dragons’ Den, a show whereby people get to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires.

Ms Keegan, who is founder and chief executive officer of athleisure brand Peachylean, secured £100,000 (€115,137) in investment for her business in 2020.

Three Dragons, Touker Suleyman, Sarah Davies and Tej Lalvani, offered her the money in return for a 30 collective percent stake in Peachylean.

During an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, the entrepreneur said:

“I’ve been inspired by the judges for most of my life and for them to validate the idea of Peachylean, the actual quality of the product, the mission, vision and strategy – this meant a lot to me.”

“I was in the interview for an hour and a half and all people saw on the television was a few minutes but I walked out of there feeling tremendous pride because all the hard work that we had done over the course of two years was re-validated by established business people,” she added.

“I felt immense pride walking out of Dragons’ Den.”

Peachylean, which previously secured €250,000 (around £208,000) from Enterprise Ireland, provides size-inclusive support wear.

It includes beanies, flattering leggings and bralettes that range from XS to 4XL.

In the end, Peachylean did not use the investment money secured in the Den.

“We didn’t need the money because the business that we had pitched on Dragons’ Den in September 2020 had changed into a completely different business in terms of revenue and growth when it came to the actual deal.”

Touker Suleyman, Sarah Davies and Tej Lalvani have acted as mentors instead. “They’ve helped me by facilitating introductions with retailers and they’ve been very good in this sense,” she said.

However, Ms Keegan encourages young entrepreneurs today to seize opportunities on the show.

“You spend a good eight months working on the pitch and strategy and then when you go in, it leads to great exposure, as well as fantastic advice and feedback. For us at Peachylean, it was truly life changing. We went from a six figure turnover to a seven figure turnover in a year after appearing on the show.”

Ms Keegan previously worked in management for over 20 years prior to founding her business and was formerly behind the launch of Pieminster in the Irish market.

Ms Keegan has also taken part in the DCU Female Highfliers Entrepreneurship Accelerator, winning its Pitch of the Year award.

Peachylean won the the New Emerging Business prize at the Small Firms Association in 2019.

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