Enjoy Celebrity Radio’s Deborah Meaden Life Story Interview…..
Deborah Meaden is an English businesswoman who ran a multi-million pound family holiday business, before completing a management buyout, but is now best known for her appearances on the BBC Two business programme Dragons’ Den, and is currently starring in her ninth series on the panel.
Meaden recently starred in the eleventh series of the BBC One talent show Strictly Come Dancing.
Deborah is the ultimate ‘Dragon’. She’s an incredible business woman and not to be messed with.
In 2009 Belfield went to meet the Star to borrow a fiver…
Search ‘Dragons’ for Belfield’s other interviews with the Stars of BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
Meaden and a partner bought one of the first Stefanel textile franchises in the UK, and which was based in the West Country; she sold out two years later to her partner for £10,000.
She then had several successful leisure and retail businesses including a spell operating a Prize Bingo at Butlins in Minehead.
In 1988, Meaden joined her family’s business to run its amusement arcade operations and in 1992, joined Weststar Holidays, a family holiday park operator based in Exeter, Devon but with its major sites based in South West England. In 1999, she led a management buyout and acquired the majority shareholding.
By the time she sold the company 6 years later, the Weststar was providing holidays for more than 150,000 people each year with an EBITDA in excess of £11m.
In 2005 she made a partial exit when Weststar was sold in a deal worth £33 million to Phoenix Equity Partners, and in August 2007 her remaining stake of 23% in Weststar Holidays was liquidated when the firm was sold to Alchemy Partners for £83m, valuing her stake at about £19m.
In 2009, Meaden acquired Fox Brothers, a West Country textile mill established in 1772 and still based in Wellington, Somerset along with fellow shareholder, Douglas Cordeaux, former design director at Pepe Jeans London.
She was also involved in a collaboration with BBC conductor Charles Hazlewood, ‘Play the Field’, a weekend of classical music on Charles’s farm in Somerset over the August bank holiday weekend 2009.
In October 2011, Meaden launched ‘The Merchant Fox’, an online store selling British-made luxury goods with provenance.
Recorded by Alex Belfield for Celebrity Radio and the BBC 2008