Even this method, however, has been known to end with a “no” instead of a “yes”.
But by no means does this mean that success is out of the picture. Just look at Trunki as a case in point! Entrepreneur Rob Law was rejected in 2006, despite Deborah Meadon and Theo Paphitis taking an initial liking to the “suitcase a toddler can pack, sit on and ride”. By the end of 2013, however, he had sold more than 2m suitcases and now turns over £7m a year.
And he is by no means the only one.
More recently, viewers saw the likes of Fat Lad At The Back, Cheeky Chompers and My Lookalike Doll axed from the show.
Fat Lad At The Back (FLAB), which specialises in manufacturing cycling wear in large sizes, was dismissed for its name.
“Fat lad is a term of endearment for the guy at the back of the peloton, which has always been me,” said founder Richard Bye. “They latched on to it being offensive but it’s actually about having equipment that fits you and makes you look good.
“Hardly any cyclists out there are your archetypal ‘skinny whippet’. The rest of us have a different body shape and we don’t want to be stuffed into lycra like a squashed sausage.
“We are fixing a problem and the people that get the brand and buy into it are really pleased we exist now that finally they can find something that is for them,” Bye continued. “But you can’t please everybody in a name. People aren’t just buying because it’s a cycle shirt, they feel empowered as they’re trying to get fit – it’s a shame the Dragons didn’t quite get that.”
Since their rejection, the company won a deal with bike chain Evan Cycles, to which Bye suggests that they are one of “Evans’ most successful product launches ever. They’ve now placed a higher order,” and have gone on to ask for the creation of a Fat Lass brand for females.
“[Dragons Den] was a great little experience though and the reaction was tremendous, our Twitter went mad.”
Although sharing the same success story, Tracey Cannon of My Lookalike Doll explains that “going on Dragon’s Den was simply devastating”. Along with son Keiran, they pitched their 18-inch customisable dolls and came away with nothing.
“We put so much into our business to buy all the dolls. I’ve remortgaged my house, put in personal savings, and taken out a £20,000 loan to fund it. So to be told by every single dragon that the business was doomed to fail was heartbreaking. Related Article: Dragons den failures
“Having remortgaged my house, taken out a loan and sitting with cash tied up in stock would be making me very uncomfortable,” said Meaden after Hoppen explained that My Lookalike Doll was not “ a viable business”. Jones even suggested that she “not spend another pound taking this forward”
“It was hard to keep going after such a public mauling. But we are so glad we stuck with it because Hamleys love our dolls.”
Indeed, the company recently received a £100,00 deal with famous store Hamleys after selling out of their initial 100 dolls. In fact, during a repeat of their Dragon’s Den episode, their website crashed due to the amount of orders being placed.
They now also have an amazing 133 types of doll.
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