A grandfather from Middlesex has won the Dragons’ Den-style competition run by the JC and London Jewish Cultural Centre, with his clothes alterations and repairs business.
Steven Kanter, 64, co-founded Sew and Go in 2006 together with business partner Richard Tweg. The established business provides all the services offered by a traditional alterations tailor, with the addition of an express same-day pick-up option.
There are now seven Sew shops across north and central London and Mr Kanter plans to roll-out the brand nationally, targeting the West End and the City. He intends to open another five shops, at an estimated £30,000 each, by then end of 2010. Northwood-based Mr Kanter was chosen by the judges as the majority winner, beating the four other hopefuls run in the contest, run in partnership with the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
The other finalists were Frameology, a specialist art design service; Everyday Models, a company that enables you to rent out personal space to advertisers; Bio-Pen, a writing tool that recognises your signature; and Strap-Ice, an adjustable ice pack pouch to ease muscle injuries.
Mr Kanter said: “I came into the competition with an open mind. It was great to get such good feedback from the judges, which I will take on board. The comments that Patsy Bloom made about improving our website were particularly useful and will be seen to as soon as possible. “The Dragons’ Den has been great exposure for the business and maybe there are people in the audience who would be interested in investing. I will definitely use the opportunity to have follow-up conversations with some of the judges.”
He is hoping for a £300,000 investment to develop the business, with a particular focus on improving its management and training division. The company made a loss last year but he is now confident it will be profitable by the end of 2010, and that it can become the leading brand in the alterations and repairs market in the UK within the next three years.
“Many people are living at a faster pace than in previous generations and do not have the time or expertise to repair or alter their own clothes. In today’s active world many women, who would previously have made the repairs do not have the time or inclination as they themselves are working. “There isn’t anything we can’t do with a needle and thread.”
Sew have completed more than 50,000 alterations to date, across the existing locations: Victoria, Stanmore, Pinner, Temple Fortune, Maida Vale, West Hampstead and Crouch End – the group’s largest and busiest outlet.
For the judges verdict and more about Sew and Go, see Friday’s JC.
Watch the video of the participants, the presentation and the put-downs of the JC's Dragons' Den here