Rachel Elnaugh

By: Mick Yates

When Rachel Elnaugh founded the company ‘Red Letter Days’ in the summer of 1989, she wasn’t just launching a business, she was creating a whole new industry offering experiences as unforgettable gifts!


At the outset, Rachel didn’t let lack of capital dampen her enthusiasm.  After rejection from financial institutions, she convinced friends and family to part with their cash and then threw all her savings into the pot too.  This was a gamble that paid off as her products are now sold in many prominent stores such as Selfridges, Debenhams, and Harrods, and her business has an estimated worth of around £25 million.


Softly spoken Rachel is said to be a determined passionate individual with a strong set of morals and values.  She offers her staff the kind of relaxed and accepting environment that she feels will enable them to flourish in their roles.  That said, Rachel is certainly not a pushover and does not suffer fools gladly.  Her recent stint as the only female Dragon on BBC’s Dragons Den (see link below) proved that in business Rachel is certainly a force to be reckoned with.


So what is the secret of Rachel’s success?  Perhaps it’s the originality of her initial idea, maybe it’s the sheer determination she exudes.  Could it be the value she places in the quality of her brand or her ability to see beyond today, recognising that innovation is the key to continued growth.  Maybe it’s her acceptance that however successful she becomes there will always be someone with more experience that she can learn from.


By Melanie Smith 


BBC Dragon's Den Website