AN ENTREPRENEURIAL mum-of-two’s ingenious shoe accessory has won her a successful pitch on Dragons’ Den.
Ally Stevenson, from Stubbington, created multi-purpose heel stoppers ‘Clean Heels’ to prevent women from sinking into soft ground when they walk in heels outdoors, and also to protect the heels themselves from damage and dirt.
Already flying off the shelves in BHS, and other retailers, the product is ready to take its next step to success with Dragons Deborah and Kelly, who have agreed to lay out £50,000 in return for a 12.5 per cent share each in the business.
The current series of Dragons’ Den is on Sundays at 9pm on BBC2.
Ally, 52, came up with the idea for Clean Heels a decade ago when she was a guest at a wedding reception. She popped beer bottle tops under her high heels to help her stand on the grass and decided to come up with a permanent solution.
She set about launching her business in 2005, but on the day she showcased her invention at the Goodwood Festival, Ally was taken to hospital and diagnosed with breast cancer.
Nine months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment followed – and she overcame the disease.
Ally produces Clean Heels at a small factory in Portsmouth and from there the product is shipped all over the world.
The heels even appeared in goody bags which were given to Hollywood stars at an Oscars after-party last year.
‘I was really nervous about going into the Den but I had a wonderful time and am chuffed Kelly and Deborah have come on board with my invention,’ Ally said. ‘Women will never stop wearing heels and Clean Heels means they don’t have to worry about sinking into soft ground outdoors, or about damaging or dirtying the heels.
‘A gorgeous pair of heels can make women feel more confident and sexy but that evaporates if you’re left teetering on mud or grass.’
Kelly Hoppen said: ‘The simplicity and versatility of Clean Heels totally won me over. They’re a discreet, inexpensive item that every woman who wears heels should own. We’re really impressed with Ally’s determination and how she has kept her business going through serious health problems.’
Deborah Meaden added: ‘They’re a must for outdoors when the ground isn’t great to walk on.
‘They also help women to move around better in heels and they actually extend the life of the shoe itself.’