£50,000 bid goes to pot, but pair glad they had go

Pots & Pancakes owners Hayley Smith (left) and her mum Shirley Smith who have recently appreared on the BBC's Dragon's Den.
Pots & Pancakes owners Hayley Smith (left) and her mum Shirley Smith who have recently appreared on the BBC's Dragon's Den.

A MUM and daughter believe braving BBC2’s Dragons’ Den on Sunday was worth the effort despite being turned down for investment

Hayley and Shirley Smith had been hoping to land £50,000 worth of investment from the show’s so-called dragons – Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Debora Meaden, Theo Paphitis and new recruit Hilary Devey, pictured – to spend on expanding their North Shields-based pottery businesses.

The pair opened their Pots and Pancakes café in Russell Street almost six years ago, and they were hoping for a cash injection to enable them to take its concept of letting visitors paint pottery while enjoying a pancake nationwide.

Hayley, 33, of Whitley Bay, said: “We just filled in the forms over a bottle of wine in October last year.

“We never thought much more about it until we got a phone call in February.

“They wanted to know absolutely everything about the business. We had to submit piles of paperwork before going on the show.”

The pair also supply a range of bisque by mail order, as well as having landed a contract to supply personalised plates to national chain Collectables, and they fear that diversity may have confused the dragons.

Hayley said: “The feedback that we got from the dragons was that we had too much going on, that we would be better off just concentrating on one of them.

“I think we just confused them. If we did it again, we would go back with one part of the business rather than show them everything.

“But the comments were generally very positive, and I did get a job offer from Hilary. She said that if I didn’t want to continue with this, to get in touch with her.”

The pair were kept in a small room for almost 12 hours as contestants were isolated from each other before they had the opportunity to meet the dragons.

Shirley, 57, said: “Pitching was absolutely terrifying, and I thought I was going to mess it up, but we just had to go for it.

“If we did have to pitch again, Hayley would have to do it, but knowing what we know now it was worth it.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback already, with people saying it’s nice to see a local business on the show.

“We have also had three offers of investment, which we are going to follow up.”