Deborah Sonia Meaden is an investor and businesswoman who is the owner of a multi-million family holiday and amusement business. She is also famous for her appearances on the well-known television show ‘Dragon’s Den’.
Meaden was born on 11th February 1959 in Somerset, England. She attended the Godolphin School in Salisbury for a short while and then started studying in Towbridge High School. She opted for business studies at the Brighton Technical College. After her graduation she went to Italy where she started a glass and ceramics export company where she sold products to famous retailers such as Harvey Nichols. However the company lasted only 18 months. Her products were being sold in other high street shops and she could not afford a legal fight so she decided to walk away.
The failure did not discourage Meaden and she tried her luck in some other ventures which included a prize bingo concession and an Italian clothing franchise company. She was not getting what she wanted. She saw an opportunity in the amusement sector and decided to do something in the family amusement arcade business. From her beginning at the shop floor she worked her way up the ranks all the way to Operations Director. She then moved to Weststar Holidays, a holiday park, and in just two years got promoted to the post of Managing Director. Deborah Meaden made huge contributions to the company to make it more successful. Weststar provided a high quality family holiday packages for more than 150,000 people annually. Meaden was very keen to secure her future thus in 1999 she took on a management buyout after which she acquired the majority shares of the company. In 2005, the company was sold to Phoenix Equity Partners with Meaden keeping 23% of the shares which she sold in 2007. Meaden bought Fox Brothers, a textile mill based in Somerset, in 2009. She established an online British luxury goods retailer named ‘The Merchant Fox’ in 2011.
Deborah Meaden is very famous for her appearances in the TV show aired on BBC Two, ‘Dragon’s Den’. She started in 2006 and she was the only female on the show. So far in the show, Meaden has made 26 investments worth £1650000. Some other television appearances include her role as a mentor on BBC2 series ‘The Speaker’ (2009), Hustle (2010), the BBC panel show ‘Would I Lie To You?’, ‘Ask Rhod Gilbert’ (2011) and ‘Frank Skinner’s Room 101 TV series (2013). Meaden has also ventures into other things. She published a book by the name of ‘Common Sense Rules’ in May 2009. The same year she appeared in a short film made for the promotion of businesses in Somerset. She had also featured in two other films made for the inward investment agency. Meaden is also a member of the Council of Ambassadors of the ‘World Wildlife Fund’. In 2010, she was honored by University of Exeter Business School with an honorary degree in business and an honorary degree from Staffordshire University. Currently she resides in Somerset with her husband.