A BUSINESSWOMAN has allowed TV cameras into her stores as part of an undercover effort to keep her firm abreast of top trading tips.
Sadie Ayton, known throughout the region as Sadie the Bra Lady, will appear in the Million Dollar Intern, which sees an expert finding out how companies work from the inside before offering advice on how to turn around their fortunes.
The show sees a young multi-millionaire going incognito into Sadie’s store in Sea Road, Fulwell, and her other four shops to help rescue her bra-fitting business.
It was broadcast abroad last year, but is now making its debut on UK television on cable channel Watch.
Sadie, 77, said: “We were really struggling due to the recession.
“I had just closed two shops, made a loss for the year and was starting to feel depressed. I needed some advice as to where I was going wrong.”
She enlisted the help of 24-year-old American Juliette Brindak, who runs Miss O & Friends, a social networking site for teenage girls that gets millions of hits each month.
Despite having an estimated wealth of $30million, Juliette fooled the workers by posing as an intern to learn about the company and where the problems lay.
Sadie added: “She was given various tasks to do. For example, in Sunderland, they made her wash down the shelves.
“The staff were mortified when they discovered who she was.”
After revealing her true identity, Juliette then suggested how things could be improved, even if it was difficult for the boss to hear.
Sadie said: “I provide a bra-fitting service – that is what makes us unique.
“Yet Juliette wanted me to just sell bras. And I didn’t want to alter the character of the business.”
However, a few changes were made and the company is now back making a profit once again.
As a result, Sadie, who lives in Consett with her husband Tom, is grateful she had the chance to be part of the show.
She said: “I took a lot of stick for doing it, but we got some good publicity and I quite enjoyed it.
“She was a lovely, well-mannered girl and I respected her business knowledge.
“I later thanked her by email, and she is now a friend on Facebook.”
Million Dollar Intern will air on Watch next Thursday at 8pm.