Dragonesses’ Den

Women Mean Business

Dragonesses’ Den

Wednesday 23 October 2013, 6pm to 8.30pm

*Nottinghamshire Deaf Society

22 Forest Road West, Nottingham NG7 4EQ


Light refreshments served by Betty Bloomfield’s Tea and Cake Service from 6pm.

Pitching starts at 6.30pm.

The women mean business!  The Dragonesses mean business!

Now all we need is the audience.


Meet the Dragonesses

Alison Hollingworth, Personal and Business Consultant and Owner-Director of Steps Forward


Caron Lyon, Internet Adventurer and Explorer,

Event Producer, Audiences Europe Online Community Manager, PCM Creative


Kathy McArdle, Chief Operations Officer of the Creative Quarter Company


Ann Priest MBA FRSA CText FTI, Pro Vice Chancellor

and Head of College of Art, Design and the Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University


Angela Probert, Director of HR and Transformation, Nottingham City Council


Audra Wynter MBA, Chair


and Director of Wyntax Consultancy Services, Sherwood Enterprise Centre and Diverse Properties.


Event staff:

The Women Mean Business Volunteer Events Team

Shazia Khan, Entrepreneur and Property Developer

Lisa Robinson, Director of Bright Ideas Nottingham and Bright Ideas People

The Dragonesses’ Den is a fun-packed event where women will have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to our dragonesses

– a panel of local women with business skills and experience.

The panel will offer advice, information, feedback and, if appropriate, practical support

(e.g. volunteering opportunity or help with contacts).



Audience members will learn about the art of pitching and will have the chance to network with women

from diverse backgrounds

Book here: events@brightideasnottingham.co.uk

Call 0115 837 9474 or text 07989 302571


For updates:

Follow the blog: www.wmbnottingham.wordpress.co.uk

Join our text and email list events@brightideasnottingham.co.uk

Follow us on twitter @wmb_nottingham #wmb

*Nottinghamshire Deaf Society is within easy distance of the Park and Ride (Forest Recreation Ground).  The tram stop is also close by. Limited parking for Blue Badge holders is available at the venue.  Please inform us of any access requirements.

 This free event for women is funded by One Nottingham

See below for the live blog:

We’re just being introduced to the Dragonesses!

click here to read their inspirational short biographies

Time for the pitches!

First up is Gwendoline Williams and Natasha Pennant.

They have a great idea for an events management business…. Sounds fantastic! What will the dragonesses think?

They want to know how to take their idea and make it into a profit making business?


-Be clear what you want to do

-Benchmark yourself against other local events organisers- how is your business different?

-What’s your process from start to finish?

-Who is responsible for what?

-Pricing is important- don’t under price!

-What are the costs to run your business- think about cashflow and get advice

-You might be passionate but ask yourself if it’s financially viable because at the end of the day you need to make a profit

Great advice!

Now it’s time to hear from Bettina, who has a tea and cake business.

She’d like some advice on how to move this business forward.


-Who are you selling to? You need a target market.

-How are you promoting yourself?
Bettina has a Facebook page, but not much aside from that.

-You need a menu of the cake

-What experiences can you offer? Different packages for different events / organisations…

-Use the people already buying your service to promote it to other contacts

-Is is practical to carry the tea set about? Think of logistics

-Don’t overstretch yourself

-Plan in advance

-Make sure you don’t let anyone down by taking on too much work

-Give free cake samples, targeting local businesses

-You need to include preparation time in the price

-Don’t spread yourself too thin.

-Think about your unique selling point (e.g. Jamaican cake- don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades

Thanks Bettina!

Now to hear Dori Kirchmair’s business idea… Dori wants to read her stories and poetry to promote emotional wellbeing in her listeners, along with workshops and other creative events. She would like advice on how to make this possible.


-Look at what’s unique /good about it and then go from there- would they buy it in a book or is it about the performance?

-The more unique what you’re offering is, the more people will pay.

-How could your writing be used in different situations.

-You need to focus your ideas

-Don’t do things for free- see what people will pay

-If you start giving things for free, people may not want to start paying so set clear boundaries. You could introduce a nominal fee.

-You need to make people realise the value of what you’re doing- how are free courses able to fund themselves? If attendees don’t pay, can you be funded from elsewhere?

-Be clear what your skills are, what you’re offering and what benefit people will get from it

Thanks Dori and thanks Dragonesses!

Before we hear out next pitch… what do these audience think?

Someone suggests that there is a demand for tea-set hire for Bettina.

Lisa Robinson of Bright Ideas recommends Bettina’s service!

Someone asks about financial support.


-Credit services have good rates

Now for Amy Topham with her fashion,  photography and dance business. Amy has an impressive CV with lots of experience in the dance industry. She wants to style urban dancers.

She brought sample products with her- which one dragoness is trying on! A great interactive pitch idea. Amy also talks her media promotion both on and offline. She’s very clued up on the industry and profit margins- she sets a good example for doing background research.

Dragonesses’ Advice:

–          Don’t try to do everything. You’ll burn yourself out.

–          Make sure you focus.

–          You can work 7 days a week and make a massive profit but you need time out to enjoy yourself.

–          Copyright your intellectual property asap.

–          Don’t expose yourself to financial risk.

–          Protect yourself financially.

–          Don’t offer too much or you’ll find that you can’t deliver.

–          Who are you selling to? How big is your market?

–          Do people already have similar products?

–          Fashion is a cut-throat market.

–          Captions are good.

–          You need a captive market who want to buy from you.

–          Ensure everything is in order both legally and financially.

–          Think of the worst case scenario- how much have you spent and how much profit will you make?

–          Use focus groups from the target market.

–          Look at crowd-sourcing.

–          Look into online services.

–          Send out samples to dance captains.


Once again a great pitch and some fantastic advice!


Now for Raisa McClarey. She makes handmade jewellery and wants to sell and copyright her designs.




–          What type of jewellery will you focus on? What materials will you use?

–          Bespoke pieces are a good idea.

–          There’s some serious competition in this field.

–          Who’s your target market?

–          Get recommendations from those who have bought your jewellery.

–          Don’t under price! Factor in time, cost of materials and UNIQUENESS… and not forgetting petrol costs, utility bills etc…

–          Be confident in what you’re selling. This will make the buyers confident.

–          Search the internet for similar products to asses the competition.

–          Who’s your target market? Who do you want to see wearing your products? Could you send them a sample?


Thanks Raisa.




Unfortunately we lost computer power at this point but hopefully you have been empowered and inspired by these pitches and found some transferable points for your own business. The key messages were…


–          Believe in your product / service.

–          What can you offer that no-one else can?

–          DON’T UNDER PRICE!

–          Networking is key.

–          Ensure that you maintain a cash flow.


And that’s it for the Women Mean Business programme!


If you would like to be kept informed of future Bright Ideas projects and events, email events@brightideasnottingham.co.uk and ask to be added to our mailing list.


Or you can check for updates on our main website:


3 thoughts on “Dragonesses’ Den

  1. Pingback: Women mean business | Autumn events

  2. Pingback: Dragonesses’ Den | Women Leading Learning

  3. Pingback: Dragonesses’ Den | Women Leading Learning

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