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Behind the Scenes... with the Dragons


Juan Hayward, Head of Design, takes us behind the scenes on a exciting photoshoot in London.

I tend not to sleep very well the night before an important photoshoot, especially one involving unknown elements that are essential for its smooth running. The book I’m talking about is a potential bestseller for Search Press, Mabel Bunny & Co. and a major project for the author Claire Gelder - the owner of Wool Couture, which produces kits, yarns and patterns, and which is beginning to take the craft world by storm.

 A photoshoot? Easy. Done a thousand of them, but a photoshoot with not one but TWO Dragons from Dragons’ Den, the author herself, her agent AND a photographer I’ve never met before? Throw in the Dragon’s office as a makeshift studio and wondering if they will even notice me, let alone take instructions … what’s not to like? What sort of personalities will I be dealing with? Will time and money be the sole arbiters of artistic direction? Will I be hearing the immortal words ... “Who are you?”, “I’m not sitting there!”,  “I’m out, and you can get out too!”.

Author Claire Gelder with Dragons: Touker Suleyman (Left) and Tej Lalvani (Right) Photograph © Jimmy La

Touker Suleyman and Tej Lalvani are two Dragons that exude quiet confidence on TV. Perceptive, urbane, and smart as dragons’ tacks. After investing in Claire and her company, the idea of a book was pounced on by entrepreneurial commissioning editor Katie French and with perfect timing a book was scheduled and ready to be launched. Hence the idea to show the investors themselves in the book! Evolving before us we have a perfect balance of ambition, drive and vision from ALL parties… no need to talk to the wall for this one!

Back to the London shoot, and after listening to the confident voices of Touker and Tej striding in, I finally get to meet them. That very first impression when you meet someone for the first time has been stated as the truest impression your mind can make on someone, so that any further impressions are merely frills. Touker was like your favourite uncle, someone everyone loved who would entertain and make you smile with his infectious humour. Tej was quieter, reminding me of a cool old pal of mine. Very smartly dressed but with a calm confidence and savvy persona.



When Claire produced the blue crocheted dragon she had made as a special piece from behind her back, their inner child was suddenly released. So with perfect timing, Jimmy the photographer snapped the shots that I hoped he would get. Smiles, laughter, joy, excitement.. ‘Lovely’ were my catch phrases as direction and control were encapsulated in the word ‘nice’ uttered every now and then. The shots were in the bag, the photographer was happy, the Dragons and Claire were happy and suddenly time was up. The Dragons were busy with other things, as they would be of course. Handshakes, hugs and a very relieved art director ... I was leaving, but I was definitely in!

Find out more about Mabel Bunny & Co. here.



Read our Crafty Catchup with author, Claire Gelder here.

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