A new dad from Durham who’s spent the last 5 years birthing his passion project, as his personal mission to build a legacy that celebrates individual uniqueness, is to feature on BBC’s Dragon’s Den on Sunday (8th March).
Simon Bourne, 35, from County Durham, launched The Hand Dyed Shoe Co in 2014, to provide a bespoke luxury retail experience for customers who appreciate the opportunity to be able to illustrate their uniqueness, providing ‘world class shoes, with a world class retail experience and world class customer service’ - from the historic 200 year old Ushaw Estate on the outskirts of Durham.
While he was working for a small furniture manufacturing business in Gateshead, Simon found his love for working with leather, and identified an opportunity to honour an artisan craft, as he started to explore what could be made with the offcuts left on the factory floor.
His entrepreneurism saw him creating small bags, wallets and belts from leather scraps and turning them into £100 purchases, before he got truly inspired by a company called Berluti - a company he could only dream of spending money with (their shoes retail at £2,000+). If he could take this leather and turn it into shoes, he could dye them using pigment based dyes - the very skill he was using on the furniture - and all of a sudden he could have a pair of Berluti shoes, just without the name… Now Simon sells shoes at The Hand Dyed Shoe Co retailing between £270- £500, for a quality he believes is comparable.
Simon entered to be on Dragon’s Den driven by his love for the show, his ambition to showcase the business and his mission simple to make his family proud. He said: “I have watched the show for years and always loved sitting with my wife, dissecting other people’s pitches and ideas. Even before I had conceived the business, I would always say that I would love to go on there and have a stab at it... When it came to it I was scared, anxious, nervous, excited, apprehensive, and worried - but just made a promise that I would remain true to myself, which I did."
For more information on The Hand Dyed Shoe Co see https://www.handdyedshoeco.com/
"Ive watched the show for years and always loved sitting with my wife, dissecting otherpeoples pitches and ideas."
Simon Bourne, Founder of The Hand Dyed Shoe Co