A Dundee businesswoman has turned down an appearance on BBC show Dragons’ Den as she said investment would have been like “selling my soul”.
Deborah Breen set up fashion brand Wilde Mode, which makes sustainable gender-neutral clothes, in 2018.
The mum-of-two, who suffers from depression, launched the business to inspire other people with mental health issues.
Dragons’ Den gives budding entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their business ideas to five multi-millionaires who are willing to invest their own cash.
The panel features Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Steven Bartlett, Touker Suleyman and Sara Davies.
But the Dundee businesswoman said it was an easy decision to turn down the show.
“I was asked to apply, so I did. I did an interview and got through that stage as well.
“The next stage was to pitch my business to their team, but I decided I didn’t want to do that.
“They sent through a contract and one of the terms was they could play the show anywhere in the world.
“If I got in front of the dragons and they ripped me to shreds, I don’t have the tenacity not to cry.
“I don’t want to be publicly shamed.”
From mental health issues to running a business
Deborah said she felt exploited by her story from battling mental health issues to running her own business.
“My story would make great television,” she said.
“That is my business and I just decided it’s not for me.”
She said retaining full control of her business was an important factor in her decision.
Successful candidates on Dragons’ Den will give away a portion of their business.
Deborah wanted to retain control in Wilde Mode.
“I’d be selling my soul to the devil just for money,” she said.
“It would no longer be about my customers and their journeys. That would all just stop.
“It would take something that’s organic and beautiful and turn it into something that just wants to make money.”
What has been the reaction?
Deborah shared news of her decision on LinkedIn. She was inundated with messages congratulating her for the decision.
“I haven’t heard anyone who thinks I should have done it.
“My family, friends and my business advisors think it’s the right decision.”
The Wilde Mode founder said despite turning down the show, she was flattered by the interest.
She added: “It made me feel good that someone thinks my business can be globally successful.
“I am already selling globally and if I need investment, I can go to the bank.”