From business idea to £1m turnover: Lee business owner is chosen as a speaker at Theo Paphitis’ event


A LEE business owner has been chosen to present alongside a Dragon’s Den investor and a reality TV star at an upcoming business event.

Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis, holds his annual Small Business Sunday event annually, bringing together more than 4000 business owners who have won his weekly #SBS (Small Business Sunday) social media competition, where he picks his favourite small business to shout out. 

Susan Bonnar, who runs The British Craft House was chosen to join him as a guest speaker, alongside Stacey Solomon. 

The British Craft House is an e-commerce platform that houses handpicked British artisans who sell their handmade products. 

Susan, who is from Lee-on-the-Solent, met Theo at his inaugural State of the Nation Roundtable, which brought together business owners and entrepreneurs from across the country to discuss challenges facing businesses and contribute to the State of the Nation report.

However her first brush with the Dragon’s Den star was back in 2011 when she entered his Small Business Sunday competition with her previous crafting business Dottie Designs.

She said: ‘I entered on a Blackberry. I didn’t attach any pictures or anything and didn’t really expect to win, but I did. Since then Dottie Designs has closed but I knew I had to enter to try and win it again, which I did for The British Craft House in 2018.  I encourage my sellers to enter #SBS as it’s such great exposure.’

At the event, Susan will share her experience as a business owner and how she took The British Craft House from an idea to a company with a £1m turnover. 

She said: ‘I attended an event in early 2019 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter. The story that he told was that he started out by selling trainers out the back of his van in the 60s and then went on to launch Sports Division. He said that if you have an idea and have the passion and determination and you’re willing to put in the work to bring it to life then you have to go for it.

‘The next day I went for a long training run for the London Marathon, came home and said to my husband “I’m starting a new business” and the rest is history.’

Susan is urging people to enter the #SBS competition, which runs on Theo Paphitis’ social media channels including X and Instagram, saying: ‘You never know where an opportunity could lead. I’m pinching myself, but it’s because I took the leap all those years ago.’ 

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