CABBIE turned entrepreneur Rachel Lowe has experienced the highs and lows of business since she launched her Destination board games eight years ago.
Now with the Olympics in full swing the Hampshire businesswoman is back on top of her game.
Her company is one of only two in the country to be awarded a licence to make Olympics-themed board games.
Rachel, pictured right, launched Destination London 2012 earlier this year, which takes players on a tour of the capital’s Olympic venues and attractions to collect point-winning tickets while trying to avoid the hazards along the way.
A junior edition, Destination London 2012 Sports, is also available.
The road to the Olympics licence started two years ago when Rachel was attending a Games branding show and “pounced” on the man delivering the presentation.
A series of meetings later and Rachel’s She Who Dares UK company was given an official Olympic Games licence. The other board game manufacturer to get one was Winning Moves, which makes Monopoly.
“It’s been such an experience and such an amazing thing to be involved with,” said Rachel. “It’s been very exciting.”
Although she is not allowed to reveal her sales figures under the terms of her licence Rachel said the game was doing “very well” at Harrods, one of Destination’s flagship shops.
She said the deal with the Olympics, together with a licence with Warner Brothers for a latest Harry Potter themed Destination Hogwarts, has given her company “kudos and credibility”
as she plans a further roll-out of new regional and international editions, a travel version and is also considering the possibility of an electronic version. There are currently 21 editions on sale, including a Southampton version.
Mum-of-two Rachel, who has just had her 35th birthday, has been on a rollercoaster journey since she developed her board game idea while jobbing as a taxi driver to pay her way through university as a mature student.
She shot to fame when she appeared on the first series of Dragons’ Den – leaving empty handed after a ferocious grilling.
But Destination went on to become a Christmas hit in 2008, outselling Monopoly at Hamleys, and she had orders coming from all over.
Then a delay in the release of a Harry Potter film, which saw big orders for a Hogwarts themed game shelved, led to a funding crisis and her company, RTL Games, went into administration three years ago.
She lost her house, her car and had a nervous breakdown before the business was relaunched with private funding as She Who Dares UK Ltd and she won back the rights to her board games.
Rachel, who has been awarded an MBE for her services to business and is a passionate promoter of enterprise and young entrepreneurs, now employs six people at the company headquarters at 1000 Lakeside in North Harbour, Portsmouth.
Her She Who Dares fashion brand and a new fragrance will be launched in the autumn.
- The Daily Echo has teamed up with She Who Dares to give away three pairs of the Destination London 2012 and Destination London 2012 Sports board games. See today's paper edition of the Daily Echo for details on how to enter.