Budding entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to multimillionaires. A Scottish entrepreneur bearing chocolate gifts hopes the Dragons are feeling generous in the season of goodwill.
Browse content similar to Episode 8. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Tonight on Dragons' Den...
I WAS born on a day, but that day wasn't yesterday.
I don't want to argue with people, I want to invest in people.
You're not listening.
If I felt I had this inner rebel in me, I'd want to be able to show it.
It annoys me.
Enough! You've said plenty.
Nick will say in a second that he gets it.
I COMPLETELY get this.
THEY GROAN AND CHEER
Make me invest in you.
Welcome to Dragons' Den.
The Dragons have built empires
by spotting great business opportunities,
but here, only the entrepreneurs who can offer big returns
will get a vital cash investment.
The rest will walk away with nothing.
First up, two former history students
from the world of finance...
Deep breaths! Deep breaths! Calm.
..trying to create a revolution
amongst male City workers with a rebellious streak.
We are a bit nervous. We know what the Dragons can be like.
We know they might be a bit up in our face.
But we feel as well-prepared as we can and we're excited to go in there
and show them what we've got.
The Dragon that I'm after would be Nick Jenkins
because I think his experience in e-commerce will be invaluable to us.
But will Nick Jenkins share their vision for men who feel constrained
by the rules of business fashion?
Hello, Dragons. I'm Alex Miles.
And I'm Ini Weston.
And we are the co-founders of Quiet Rebellion,
a sock company that brings colour to your SOLE.
Today, we're here to ask for a £75,000 investment
-for a 10% stake in our business.
-One evening, after work,
we sat in the pub having a little grumble about the conformity
of the corporate world and how it restricted our personalities.
After a drink or two,
we concluded that this was absolutely 100% epitomised
by those plain, boring, dull work socks
we had to drag over our feet every morning before work.
By closing time, the Quiet Rebellion had begun.
So, now we have a sock company which sells luxury combed-cotton socks
that appear smart and professional to the outside,
but on the inside of the cuff and on the sole of the foot they have
colours which are fun, bright and - most of all - hidden.
Not only do our socks come beautifully hand-packaged,
they come accompanied by a postcard celebrating
the rebellious activities of historical figures.
We've been trading for six months now and we've turned over £35,000,
with a gross margin of £21,000 and a net margin of £9,000.
This has involved shipping over 5,000 pairs of socks to more
than 20 different countries.
We're now looking for investment today to help us grow our brand to
acquire more customers and, most importantly of all...
..bring colour to many more soles.
Two old chums, Alex Miles and Ini Weston selling a sock of two halves.
They want £75,000 for a 10% share of the company.
I don't want to open mine. I'm going to give that to my husband.
That's his Christmas present right there.
A big ask for a new business with a small turnover.
It's also a direct challenge to the one Dragon who likes to express his
individuality through his own socks.
Well, I would say that I sort of changed the world
of business fashion a few years ago because everybody DID wear boring,
plain socks until I started to wear stripies.
So my first question is, why do you want to hide this?
Obviously you're wearing stripy socks.
I can see lots of bright socks around the room.
It is perfectly possible in some roles to wear bright socks.
At the level we're at when we came out of university into work,
we couldn't get away with wearing stripy socks.
-What's your socks?
-So I've got a pair of the Pablos on.
See, I think that looks better.
-See, I think the pattern looks better than the top bit.
No, this is the problem. I think you've missed the point.
What you've done is try to cover up the very thing that is your USP.
I think it comes down to a fundamental disagreement
whether you're doing it for how you look or how you feel.
Everything you're doing, you're hiding.
What is the point?
I'm worried that actually your brand shouldn't be like...
is it Quiet Rebellion?
-Because you're hiding all this, it should be like "Scaredy Sock".
I suppose we're quietly rebelling because you know you're going
against conformity and you know that you're a rebel.
-And you're not.
-No, I think you're just a scaredy cat.
Nick will say in a second that he gets it.
I COMPLETELY get this!
THEY GROAN AND CHEER
-And you know why,
because the first-ever business that I set up was pretty much doing this.
I set up a dress shirt business when I was at university and on the back
of these dress shirts was large screen-printed designs of Tintin,
Dennis the Menace and Lenin.
The idea was you go would go to a formal ball,
conforming to what society expects.
At the end of the evening, the jacket would come off there's
this huge printed design of Tintin, Dennis the Menace and Lenin.
But I totally understand the concept because when you are sitting in a
meeting, I want to focus on what they're saying,
not what they're wearing.
So I understand the Quiet Rebellion in the sense that we'd like to think
we have not completely lost our soul.
The business seems like a good fit
for the Dragon they'd love to pair up with.
But textile tycoon Touker Suleyman
knows a thing or two about socks.
Will they pass muster?
Your idea of creating the rebellion and history and whatever it is,
it's great, but you made a statement that it's combed cotton.
I don't think it is.
My concern here is that there's hairs on it already.
And that's pilling.
We don't have any customers complaining about the quality.
They were described by GQ as super-soft.
We've got fantastic customer reviews.
How much stock have you got?
At the moment we've got about 20,000 pairs.
Whoa! 20,000 pairs!
So the reason we have so much is we've tied up a bit of our capital.
Because whilst we were both working, we wanted to de-risk
-the supply chain.
-You might be great financiers,
but you're quite green in this business.
You went for the trap, and the trap was very simple.
You've gone out and spent all your money on all this stock,
that's sitting in your warehouse, which you haven't sold,
and you've got no flexibility.
You can't do anything else until you start selling the stock.
Leading fashionista Touker Suleyman has exposed a major weakness in
their stocking strategy,
but can brand specialist Deborah Meaden deliver a new dawn for the
resistance to boring black socks?
It kind of feels a little bit more than a sock business, to me.
It feels like it really isn't a sock business.
It happens to be socks.
But it's a lifestyle statement business.
My question is, is there actually a subscription model?
Is there a buy-in to the brand?
It is something you'll be able to roll out into other things?
Cos it isn't really about the sock, it's about this quiet rebellion.
I think it is definitely more than a sock company -
in terms of brand loyalty,
we have really high engagements on Instagram,
open rates on e-mail. The average customer purchased
only three months ago because we are a new company
and we've already had 15% repeat business.
So I think people are buying into the brand and I certainly think
-there's a subscription model.
-We're using socks to build a brand,
and Quiet Rebellion hopefully will become a brand to be something else.
What other things are you going to do for the brand, apart from socks?
So the obvious complementary product would be to move into something like
boxer shorts because it would be
a nice bundled subscription you could send out.
And what would you do with those?
You'd have normal boxer shorts, but inside you'd colour them?
I think there'd be the same colour as the socks.
You'd try and bundle them up and sell them in pairs.
The Quiet Rebellion would continue up.
Because this is the bit that I've got an issue with.
So, if you went to boxer shorts now,
if you carry on with your brand, your boxer shorts would be normal.
Like the ones I have got on, probably.
But inside, I'd know cheekily that they'd have a little pattern.
I'd have a little giggle to myself
with my mates that you don't know that behind these boxer shorts
-is a little pattern.
-And then I'd have a giggle,
that actually my socks,
you can't tell that behind them, there's a little pattern.
What is the point?
Peter Jones derides the boxer shorts idea and their vision for
transforming office underwear for men.
And now Sarah Willingham is also ready to strike
at the heart of the Quiet Rebellion.
I think it is such a shame
that you're building a business based on the fact
that we apparently live in a world where we actually can't show that
little twinkle in our eye. And you're saying we're anti-conformist,
but you couldn't be conforming more
because you're hiding that inner rebel.
I think we've been slightly misunderstood on how literally
we take it. We don't actually think we're being incredibly rebellious
by wearing it. Our customers seem to enjoy the idea.
I, of course, get the principle of it.
I just think anybody with any rebel in them
should at least demonstrate it a little bit.
I think it's sad that we have to.
You can, after work... You can, after work, turn over the cuff and
-you can show your friends you're a rebel.
-Oh, put it away. Put it away!
You can show your friends you really are a rebel!
That is a crazy stuff. That is two shots off the bar
as we turn down the top of our socks.
Guys, you've got to believe in the concept of it.
And...it annoys me.
It really annoys me that we have to conform,
and I just couldn't get behind it. So, good luck with it.
-Thank you very much.
-But I won't be investing. I'm out.
Drinks industry expert Sarah Willingham
is unimpressed with the sock sellers' spirit
and is the first to count herself out.
Will Touker Suleyman overcome his initial concerns
to make a bid for the business?
I love the whole idea of the brand and what it stands for.
But I think what you've done is just chosen the wrong product.
You will not be a success selling socks.
That's free Touker time.
The thing what you have to sell is you have to sell the dream,
I don't think the sock is strong enough to sell that dream.
And I think you'll make it one day, but not with socks.
For that reason, I'm out.
With Touker Suleyman joining Sarah Willingham in declining the deal,
does striped-sock aficionado Peter Jones also have itchy feet?
I don't like the Quiet Rebellion piece
and I think you've either got to like it or you don't.
I like the fact... And it is obvious, I wear these.
I don't think you need to hide.
I think you've either got to buy into your concept or not.
And I'm just not buying it.
It's not an investment that I want to invest in
for all those reasons...
..and that's why I'm out.
Three Dragons down.
But Deborah Meaden is thinking about it.
Is she the master puppeteer they're looking for to pull the strings?
I wish you hadn't asked for £75,000.
Because it's got a short life.
And £75,000 it's just too big a lump
for the shape of the business that I think it is.
I won't be investing. I'm out.
Only e-commerce guru Nick Jenkins remains.
Their top target had a very similar business already,
and understands man's sock dilemma.
But is that enough for him to buy into their brand?
I totally get the product.
It is that quiet rebellion, as opposed to socks.
Socks are just the vehicle for it.
If I have any concern about it...
..it's that there's a danger that it will be great fun for a year or two,
three years. And then it might run its course.
Everyone will have known about this little quiet rebellion
and the bubble might have burst,
and that, I'm afraid, is the reason I'm am afraid I can't invest.
And I wish you all the best, but I'm out.
Thank you very much.
The City slickers-turned-sock-sellers
leave the Den with nothing -
losing the battle by underestimating the Dragons' generosity.
For less money I'd have done it.
I would have done it for less money as well.
It was enjoyable.
They understand what the brand would be and what it could become.
Some of what they said, I thought was really useful.
Other points, I suppose, we just agree to disagree.
I don't think you can beat stripies. Just be proud. That's all I say.
-Our time has come.
-Like, for real.
Next up are Denis Ahmet and Tim Hamilton,
who feel that we need to rethink the dance class.
This is a project which we believe will change the landscape of how we
learn to dance and exercise today.
It's my dream, and I'm very passionate about what I do.
I hope we get it spot-on, I hope we get it right.
This could be very positive for the whole of the UK, and the world.
-Good luck, guys.
But will the Dragons share their global ambition?
MUSIC: Radha Nachegi by Sajid-Wajid
MUSIC: If I Ain't Got You by Alicia Keys
MUSIC: Super Bad Part One by James Brown
# Danceacise! #
Hello, Dragons. My name's Denis Ahmet.
My name's Tim Hamilton.
We're from Danceacise, we're the founders of Danceacise.
Excellence in every step.
And we're looking for £150,000 investment for 10% of our business.
We've created precision mats which has numbers, colours and shapes.
What we've created is a system
whereby we tell and instruct the users
where to place their hands, feet and body.
It makes learning new dance routines and memorising routines much easier.
You can become part of an instructor-led class
or a virtual class using precision mats.
In addition to that, you can even practise at home.
Danceacise is fresh and revolutionary,
and we feel that the Danceacise learning system
is going to be the system of choice all over the world.
A confident prediction from Tim Hamilton and Denis Ahmet.
Dragons, I'd like three volunteers to come up and have a go
-on the mats, please.
-I'll give it a go.
They want a hefty £150,000 for 10% of their dance mat company.
So you're going to follow me. OK, let's do the feet.
So we're going to take our foot from diamond 1 to blue 1...
..then back again to diamond 1. We're going to step out to red 1,
and back again to diamond 2.
Blue 1, red 1.
Blue 1, red 1.
And we're going to finish with a nice pose.
There we go, thank you so much.
So, was the dance mat judged a ten or, strictly speaking,
a complete disaster?
The Dragon known for her dance moves is first with a verdict.
Is there anything you'd like to know?
I'm going to have to come clean - I think it's more confusing.
The minute you said, "Right, can you put black diamond 2 onto blue..."
I'm thinking, "Black diamond 2, where's black diamond...?
-"Oh, hold on a minute."
-And I cheated, cos I did that
once or twice - I got a bit stuck, I just followed you about.
I didn't actually look at the mat.
And I did it as I should, I got confused.
Using the mat, initially, for the first time that you've ever seen it,
you have to get used to it.
You have to get used to where things are.
And in a typical dance school,
what happens is they're telling you to step out.
I'm going to have to stop you.
You can say all the words you like,
but that's not actually what it feels like.
You're not supposed to be looking at the floor, for a start, are you?
-So that's not a good thing to start teaching people.
-If somebody stands in front of you and says,
"Do this," I don't know about anybody else, I find it
a lot less confusing than somebody saying, "Can you look for red 8?"
I sat and watched all three,
and all three of them were following exactly what you were doing.
Now, I thought what this was going to be was not to have a teacher
that you copy, because that's just copying a teacher,
regardless of whether there's a mat.
I thought it was going to be coming out of a sound system and it was
trying to make the teacher redundant, and it was going to be,
"Right foot to left A5, blue, green 5, 6B," you know?
They were going to stand and do it without following somebody.
But they ALL followed you...
The reason why the mat was designed,
is so we can break down all these moves and build them up.
It's to give you confidence, so this is the idea of the mat.
Dancing by numbers clearly isn't giving Sarah Willingham
the masterclass she needs.
And for Peter Jones,
their colour-coded mats feel like a variation on a classic.
If you don't mind me saying, to me,
what I've seen is, it looks like Twister with numbers.
Right, OK. This is learning by numbers, colours.
Twister's a game,
where this is going to educate you and teach you something.
I'm seeing also that there is obviously a business
that's incredibly successful and has made already a small fortune,
because you've valued this business at £1.5 million.
So, in the last 12 months, how much has this business turned over?
Well, we haven't actually started marketing the company as yet.
Sorry, sorry, you haven't sold anything yet?
No, no, we have. We've sold £6,000 worth of mats.
So we've approached...
Hang on, you've sold £6,000 worth of mats?
And how much profit have you made from those £6,000 worth of mats?
We're looking at 35%.
-So what's that?
-35% of 6,000...
-About 2,000, yeah.
So you've made £2,000
and you've got a business that you think's worth 1.5 million today?
Now, this might sound really strange...
-I WAS born on a day, but that day wasn't yesterday.
We've based our valuation on the people that we have with us,
the expertise that we bring to the table,
the dedication that we have in ensuring that this product
is a total success. We've done a lot of market research,
we've looked at education sectors, such as primary schools,
and we've spoken to all of those in great detail.
-The feedback we've got is absolutely excellent.
-No, but you need to speak
to somebody that's over five years of age.
Peter Jones is unimpressed by the market research
and the valuation of the company after minimal sales,
but can multimillionaire Touker Suleyman find value
in rolling out the dance mats?
You're going to put these into gyms?
-Most gyms haven't got the space.
So are you telling me that you're going to take this much space
for four people? Most gyms want to occupy 20 people.
-So are you saying that for 20 people you need 2,000
square - or what you need - space-wise?
-Thank you, Touker.
-It wouldn't work.
-What happens is...
-Look at it now.
And most classes are how big?
-Would you expect?
-They could have 20 or 30 people.
OK, for 30 people, how big a space do you need?
For a start, if you go to classes and you've got 30 people
crammed in a room that, really, is catering for 20,
and I do that and I'm touching somebody, then that's dangerous.
Because if I'm touching somebody at any point when I'm turning around
with my arms out, that means they're too close.
This defines a safe zone, therefore, this dictates the safe zone.
So, therefore, when you're dancing and moving,
and not just dancing but exercising, you're not going to kick anybody.
-I'm going to tell you where I am really, really quickly.
I don't want to argue with people, I want to invest in people.
You're not listening. You don't hear anything anybody else is saying.
It's a really, really bad idea.
It's a crazy valuation, and I'm out.
An irritated Deborah Meaden is the first Dragon out.
But can Sarah Willingham overcome her concerns and see a future
I can't see it, even looking at it thinking,
well, if you'd have come in with a valuation of 10% of what you have,
I still wouldn't invest in it.
I'm sorry, it's bonkers.
I'm not going to invest, I'm out.
When you first came into the Den,
I was very disappointed when you said it's a workout.
And you talked about confidence.
-I don't think you've given us any confidence
in this business venture.
My advice to you guys is very simple.
Wake up. Right?
-This is just a game.
It's not a business at all.
For that reason, I'm out.
In all, three Dragons have left the floor.
E-commerce specialist Nick Jenkins has backed innovation in the past.
Does he see the dance mat as a ground-breaking learning tool?
I'll tell you where I am. I think...
It's wonderful when people have an idea and want to see it through.
Clearly there was some reason why you thought this would work.
But sometimes you need to recognise when an idea is no.
Don't flog a dead horse. Because otherwise you can waste
a lot of time and a lot of your own money
in trying to make something work, and I'd hate to see you do that.
So, I'm afraid I'm out.
-Just one Dragon left.
Peter Jones has been fairly damning about the price tag
they've put on the company, but he has one final question.
Tim, if I gave you £1.5 million for all of this today...
-You would honestly believe, wouldn't you,
that you were the luckiest man alive?
-Certainly would, yes.
1.5 million -
you guys are having a complete giraffe.
-This is something that can attract the entire...
-No, no, no.
Not just the UK, but the world.
You are completely delusional
if you think that a mat with some numbers on
with a business that yet doesn't even exist is worth 1.5 million.
And to try to suggest this could take off in any shape without
any credibility at all isn't good, guys. And, for that reason, I'm out.
OK. Thank you, guys.
Peter Jones has put his foot down,
and none of the Dragons are prepared to be led on a merry dance.
The entrepreneurs leave with nothing.
1.5 million valuation.
If I had an idea like that and I was trying to say that it was worth
1.5 million, the last place that I'm going to go
-is Dragons' Den.
Got a job to do.
-We've got to prove everybody wrong.
It's business as usual. Some day,
one of the Dragons may change their mind and invest in us.
Also looking for a cash injection
were Ruth Lucas and her Welsh terrier, Bronwyn.
(You're going to be a star.)
They'd come up with an accessory for pooches
who don't want to be in the doghouse.
I travel with my dog a lot,
occasionally forgetting something important and getting quite stressed
The Rovernighter helps address these problems.
It's a travel bag for dogs that converts to a comfortable bed
in less than 20 seconds.
Ruth was looking for £75,000 for a 20% stake
in her hound-holdall-cum-dog-bed.
Is this like a baby-changing bag meets a travel cot?
Well, I suppose so, yeah.
I generally leave it half packed, you know?
And then just as I'm going, I go, "How long are we going for?
"What toys do you want today?"
That's harder than taking four kids.
Dog owner Nick Jenkins gave a glimpse into life
with his own canine companions.
They are not as well-behaved as Bronwyn. I mean, this narrows down
to a market of people who have dogs that are as
beautifully mannered as your dog,
overnighting with them in an open basket without the risk that they're
going to get up, open the fridge and eat all the sausages or whatever
you're supposed to be having for lunch the next day.
I think the idea is barking mad.
Ruth, I don't think you're barking.
I think you're definitely going to sell some of these.
The total cost of getting it made
is £91 per unit, and it's selling at 175.
That is a lot of money to pay.
Peter Jones enjoys the high life,
but didn't quite see the need for his dogs to travel
in the same luxury standard.
It's a backpack overnight sleeping kit for a dog.
And the Dragons were snapping at Ruth's heels
when it came to the final verdict.
I don't get it at all.
-Sorry, I'm out.
It's not for me, so I'm out.
OK, thank you.
Come on, B! Let's go.
Say goodbye. Good girl.
If I left the treats in that pocket
and expected the dog to sleep in the basket,
the thing would be ripped to shreds by the next morning.
-Still to come...
-How good are you at keepy-uppies?
-..the Den heats up...
-How do you know, Touker? We've had
-this conversation before.
-Deborah, Deborah, they're going to be
in my office, I'm going to be there. Are they going to be in YOUR office?
-So please don't query it.
And it's every Dragon for themselves.
This isn't for splitting, Dragons.
I have no interest in sharing any of it with any of you.
I think 25% is ridiculous.
Well, as we've seen, the Dragons are in a feisty mood,
with none of them investing so far.
But everyone going into the Den
gets a fresh chance to turn things round,
so can our next entrepreneur use HIS charm to tame the Dragons?
Jamie Hutcheon is an ambitious 25-year-old luxury chocolate-maker
trying to think out of the box.
It's a fantastic opportunity to pitch
to five well-connected Dragons.
I'm a self-taught entrepreneur.
One of a kind. Hopefully that will come out in my pitch today.
But will the Dragons ooze enthusiasm
for his artisan chocolate brand?
Hello, Dragons. My name's Jamie.
I'm the founder and director of Cocoa Ooze.
I'm here today to ask for £70,000 for 10% of my company.
Cocoa Ooze was started by myself when I was 17, back in 2008,
out my parents' kitchen,
while training as a chef and the art of chocolate-making.
We now employ 26 members of staff in the heart of
Aberdeen, where our retail shop is situated.
We've got two parts to our business.
The first one, accounting for 88% of our turnover, is our retail shop,
comprising of our coffee shop,
Scotland's first chocolate-themed bistro,
our workshops and kids' birthday parties.
And the other part of our business, accounting for 12%,
which we see the significant growth happening, is our corporate,
wholesale and online.
We would use the money for a new production unit,
which will grow capacity as well and allow us to take on larger clients.
So, we can do bespoke products from printing directly onto chocolate,
to customisable packaging,
to bespoke products such as branded chocolate golf balls,
to chocolate helicopters,
to chocolate sunglasses, just to name a few.
We see Cocoa Ooze as being a UK success,
and being in every household, hopefully.
Further afield, there's opportunity to grow this,
to make this a global success also as well.
I'd like to invite you up to try your hand at some chocolate-making
and I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you.
A pitch with a smile from Aberdeen's wannabe Willy Wonka, Jamie Hutcheon.
That's quite a good one, Deborah. Do you want a job? You can actually
-make some chocolate truffles.
-Well, there you go. If ever I need
to fall back on something, I will be applying.
He's looking to tempt the Dragons with 10% of his company
for a £70,000 cash injection to fund his expansion plans.
Can I have one with a picture of Peter on it, please?
-You can, Deborah.
-Yeah, I'll give you mine, Deborah.
But can Cocoa Ooze raise the bar when it comes to the competition?
Peter Jones is first with the questions.
What is different to your product, to those that are out there now?
Some of our flavour and also our process as well.
But everybody's going to say that.
You won't find many chocolatiers that have launched brands
that would say, "There's a good differentiation in our product,
-"it doesn't taste very nice."
-Yeah. A lot of it is...
They're all say it's great. They're all say it's fresh chocolate.
They're all going to say it's brilliant.
Have you got anything that differentiates you,
or is the answer no, apart from your smile?
The quality of products, the knowledge,
the passion and the know-how to do it.
We want to be the great brand and the great product.
I'm interested in the difference between this product and a lot of
products that exist because, as you know, Maison du Chocolat,
you have Artisan du Chocolat, and their product is quite different.
-Their product is predominantly a dark chocolate-based product
with a great snap to it.
This is a much more sugary, less cocoa content...
I've got to be honest, to my palate,
this is not in the league of Artisan du Chocolat, for example.
It's just... It's just not.
Everyone loves something sweet -
and people don't have chocolate because it's healthy.
We kind of sit in the middle ground. We're affordable luxury.
We want to be... You know, folk want to be buying a product that...
you don't get stung for that. We want to have a good quality,
tasty product at an affordable price.
It doesn't feel the same as some of the higher-end chocolates.
For Nick Jenkins, it seems the chocolate
hasn't left a bitter enough taste in his mouth.
In a market saturated with high-end chocolate,
can Deborah Meaden find another reason
to invest in the affable entrepreneur?
Chocolate is absolutely a really interesting space at the moment.
But it is actually evolving and people are finding very clever ways
of modernising and retailing something that actually is getting
very, very saturated.
My concern about what you're doing is that it has been done.
Actually, you haven't seen an indication yet that the area
you THINK is growth is actually going to be growth area.
What else have you got up your sleeve, in terms of innovation?
So, we are working in creating, actually,
our own chocolate tea at the moment.
Chocolate gin, chocolate rum or chocolate-branded golf balls.
We believe we're the only company in the UK that do chocolate-branded
golf balls. It's all about being different within the marketplace
and that's what we'll continue to do going forward.
There is a very different thing between a company wanting to have
-their own logo on something...
-In which case, box things
with their own logo on - they're just trying to get the logo out.
In the gifting market, there's a subtlety to it.
My concern about this, as an investment,
is I've not seen enough in this product
to convince me that this is going to break into an already
quite competitive market.
So, I'm afraid, for that reason, I'm out.
E-commerce mogul Nick Jenkins
becomes the first Dragon to decline the deal -
unimpressed with the taste of the chocolate and unconvinced about
the corporate and gifting side of Jamie's business model.
But serial restaurateur Sarah Willingham
wants to know more about the retail side of his operation in Aberdeen.
So, 88% of your business is a store...
So, talk me through that operation.
We do roughly about 250 kids' parties a year.
We see just shy of about 1,000 folk a week
through our retail store.
We do about 600, 700 launches per week.
And it's a 50-seater coffee shop we've got at the moment.
What sort of turnover do you have?
Yep. So, our business last year, a turnover of 490,000,
we had a gross of 375,000 and a net of 2.5 there as well.
-That was the whole business.
-2.5 thousand, yes.
So, why is it that you've only made £2,500 net?
Because we've been in profit reinvestment in the last couple
of years as well and really investing the money
back into the training because chocolatiers take time to train.
Basically, the only growth area for the business is going to be really
hard to break into.
Because you can't put your smile in front of every sale
and your smile in front of every chocolate,
I honestly think it's going to be quite difficult
so, for an investment, I'm going to say...regrettably, I'm out.
The Dragon with the lucrative track record
in restaurant roll-outs bows out.
But Deborah Meaden is on the fence.
Can Jamie convince her he's got the calibre, and not just the charisma,
to make the business scale?
I would love to work with you...
..but there's a problem with your model, for me.
-What is it that's going to get me over the line, that says,
"This guy really knows what it's going to take
"to flick that switch and make this business go"?
-Make me invest in you!
People buy from people. Of course.
You invest in me as a business - I've created this brand.
I don't sleep at night. I'm drilled to this business.
100% passionate about it.
The quality of product we deliver.
The USP, yes, you're right enough -
you can look at this product and think, well, it's every chocolatier.
Well, no, it's not. It's the Cocoa Ooze way and how WE do it.
You, I could work with any day of the week.
But you won't be surprised to hear me say
that my worry is the innovation side and,
if I was disappointed in anything, it was your answer to that.
You're right, Deborah. Where is the USP? It's a chocolate product,
but the chocolate will sell because of the quality of it as well.
-Jamie, you're going to have to stop.
What I need to remember is, as soon as the business came in,
the first thought that popped in my head is,
"It might be lovely but I've seen all that before,
-"so what is it that's going to make the difference?"
And I'm still not convinced
that you've got enough of a differentiator.
The business itself just isn't...
isn't getting it for me.
I'm really sorry to be saying this, but I won't be investing.
Close, but no cigar for Jamie,
who finds itself unable to convince Deborah Meaden,
and loses his third Dragon.
Will the notoriously sweet-toothed Peter Jones
be up for investing in the Aberdeen entrepreneur?
Jamie, in terms of its growth potential,
I think you are up against it with the other brands that are out there,
that have invested substantially and yet lost money.
You don't need, in my opinion, an investor like me.
So, I'm going to wish you the very best of luck
and send you on your way by NOT investing,
because I don't think - if I did -
that, A, I would add the value but, more importantly,
get a return on my investment.
-So that's why I'm going to say that I'm out,
-but wish you the very best of luck.
Peter Jones shows he's equally hard-centred
when it comes to investing in Jamie's chocolate enterprise,
and joins three other Dragons in declining the offer.
Only high-street retailer Touker Suleyman remains.
-You're giving me that smile, aren't you?
-No, no, I'm not, no!
Regardless, I know where I've been in business and where I've come
from as well. I started with nothing...
Enough. You've said plenty.
-You've said plenty.
-OK, thank you.
-Look, I think you are the business.
But at the end of the day, what you've proven is you've turned over
nearly half a million and made no money.
-That's correct, yes.
It's not really hard to, I say, replicate it, as much as...
you know, it's a chocolate product, it's a recipe...
Look, I'll get to the point.
I'm going to make you an offer.
But because of where you are...
-Because of where you want to go
-and the amount of help you're going to need...
-..to grow internationally and in London, and whatever.
I'm going to offer you all the money, but I want 35%.
-You can go to the wall if you want.
-The famous wall? OK.
-The famous wall.
It's a bittersweet offer from Touker Suleyman.
He wants three-and-a-half times the 10% on offer -
a hefty 35% chunk out of Jamie's chocolate empire.
I wouldn't be a true Aberdonian if I didn't challenge anything.
If you're happy, when you get your money back,
are you happy to lower your percentage?
Once you get your money back.
Once I get my money back, I'll lower it to 20.
Fantastic. I'm happy to invest.
-Thank you very much. Fantastic. Thank you very much.
Congratulations, and I'm pleased you've got a great Dragon
-on your team.
-And I look forward to working with you.
Thank you, I appreciate that.
And I look forward to eating lots of chocolate!
-Jamie, well done. Well done.
-Perfect. Thank you very much
for your time. I appreciate it. Thank you.
-See you later.
-Life is like a box of chocolates -
you never know what you're going to get.
And Jamie's picked up a deal.
Getting that offer was a sigh of relief, it really was.
It was a breath of fresh air.
I've come here with nothing, I go away with a well-connected Dragon.
-Here we go. Ready?
-Come on, mate.
-Finally, in the Den, Steven Davis and Matthew Allen,
who believe there's a market for people who want to do a bit more
on their holiday than just lie on a beach,
and they think Peter Jones could be their perfect partner.
He's looking mean. He's looking mean. We want you.
With Peter playing tennis,
that would be so good for us to have him on board.
Will I do some keep-me-ups?
We bounce off each other quite well
and we both have different skill sets.
I know Matt'll have my back if things happen, and vice versa.
So, I think that's going to help us a lot.
My name's Steven Davis and this is my business partner, Matthew Allen.
We are here today to ask for £25,000 for a 5% share
of our holiday business Active Away.
Active Away was founded by myself ten years ago.
I was working as a coach and one of my good clients was due to turn 40.
And his wife asked me if I could organise a tennis holiday for him
and three of his best friends.
So, I arranged the trip, took them to Spain,
had a fantastic time, with them all asking when the next holiday
was going to be upon our return.
Since then, we've grown considerably.
This year, we're running 40 weeks of holidays.
We're turning over just over £1 million and forecast to take away
900 people. Last year, we've turned over just over £750,000.
The year before that, 560,000.
Active Away holidays are for sporty singles,
couples and families who travel out, as individuals,
and then come together on the week as a group.
The tennis programme we put on consists of coaching,
afternoon match-play sessions,
an end-of-week social tournament and a pros exhibition match.
We know we have a great product cos over 85% of our customers book
again with us. Thanks for listening.
If you've got any questions, please fire away.
A practised pitch from Steven Davis and Matthew Allen.
They're looking for £25,000
in return for a 5% stake in their company.
A modest ask for a business claiming an impressive turnover.
High-street retailer Touker Suleyman has always got his eye on the
bottom line and wastes no time getting to grips with the finances.
Let's talk numbers because you turned over £750,000.
What was your gross profit?
Gross was about 30%, so we were around about 180,000, 190,000.
-180 gross, yep.
-Net profit was around 65,000.
-Carry on talking.
I've only looked at the post-tax profits,
so we were looking at 85 post-tax.
He fancied a cocktail. I don't blame him.
I'm not sure how nice they're going to be.
How good are you at keepy-uppies?
Not bad. Probably better than you, I reckon.
He's good. Oh, don't. Oh, there you go.
Touker Suleyman's financial shots have been intercepted by the tennis
duo's number-one target, Peter Jones.
This is what it's like in the sun, is it?
-You just relax, Peter.
-You're giving me the workout that I need.
Don't work too hard. We'll chase the ball for you.
-Thank you very much.
-With the warm-up over,
it's down to Sarah Willingham to keep up the volley of questions.
What about new customers? Where are they coming from?
So, the majority of new customers is really through client referrals or
-We get coaches at local tennis clubs to sell the
holiday to their clients.
We pay that coach £50 per head for everyone that he brings on that
holiday. So, if he brings a group of 20 people out with him,
he'll get £1,000 and a free holiday.
What we've worked out is that they're worth about £1,000 to us
every time we get a new customer.
You must know the value of that consumer,
because that consumer repeat-orders.
And then refers. I mean, it's massive.
We think it's going to be around three to four bookings someone will
make with us, as an average, before they might drop off.
A company enjoying repeat business year on year.
It's music to a Dragon's ears.
Peter Jones was impressed by their serve,
so is he equally impressed by their commercial savvy?
How about we just cut to the chase?
What are you going to do with £25,000
to create this into an amazing business?
We're both not under the illusion that £25,000 is going to take
the company from where we are now to where we want to be in the future.
What we're hoping for is that having a Dragon on board,
that will help take the business forward.
The money is more of a secondary aspect for us, really.
I understand what you're doing but, for 5%, it's still...
You're making me feel like
you're showing me a sweetie shop cos you know that I quite like sweets,
so you're inviting me in to try one but you know that, potentially,
I might end up wanting them all.
Peter Jones hints that the 5% on offer is just not worth his while.
Stephen and Matthew risk alienating the Dragon they came in to net.
Deborah Meaden has a lucrative track record in the holiday and leisure
industry. Can they convince her they have the credentials to keep ahead
of the competition?
This is an area I'm really, really familiar with.
So, what's YOUR background?
Started as a tennis coach.
Just working from the age of 20.
I set up my own school of tennis.
I just had this dream of producing a Wimbledon champion.
Realised quite quickly it wasn't for me.
Then I got a job at David Lloyd Leisure.
While I was there, that's when Active Away came about.
-What about you?
-We pretty much had the same passion.
My passion was working with performance kids.
Then Steve basically was...
kind of pulling your hair out a little bit and needed some help.
So, he offered me part of the company
to come on board and I've definitely not regretted it.
Now you need to stop talking, cos I'm about to make you an offer.
I'm going to offer you £25,000.
And I want 15% of the business.
A surprise offer,
but it comes with a sting in its tail as Deborah Meaden
asks for three times the amount of equity
that the entrepreneurs are offering.
Will Nick Jenkins also jump at a deal?
I actually own a significant stake in a business that's quite similar.
It does fitness holidays and it also does yoga holidays.
It has three brands.
And it has a similar turnover.
My concern is that, as you get above a certain level,
you lose some of that ruthless efficiency of being small.
It's a difficult business to scale up beyond a certain point.
That's the reason I'm not going to invest, so I'm out.
It's a disappointing drop shot for the duo as concerns over scalability
lose them their first Dragon.
But Touker Suleyman thinks he's spotted value
in the bespoke tennis holiday experience.
I'm going to make you an offer.
I think I can definitely help you...
I can offer you accommodation to have a head office.
The fact that I can offer you accommodation
is the offices that I'm based at, so you can mentor with me whenever.
It's a very, very different situation to the others,
but I'm more hands-on.
How do you know, Touker? We had this conversation before.
They're going to be in my office.
I'm going to be there. Are they going to be in your office?
-You're not going to be in my office.
So, please don't query it. Sorry, guys. I'm just being
very passionate about what I'm offering you.
I'm going to match Deborah's offer.
Give you all the money for 15%.
-Right, thank you very much.
-Thank you very much.
Some serious gameplay from Touker Suleyman, as he locks horns with
fellow Dragon Deborah Meaden, but matches her investment bid.
Tennis enthusiast Peter Jones is the Dragon they really want in their
board meetings, but will he play ball?
I normally will find reasons and good reasons
to desecrate your business
in front of the other four Dragons in the hope
that they will pick onto it and then, right at the end,
come in with an offer. But it's not going to happen this way today.
Guys, I love it.
I'm going to offer you all of the money, obviously,
and this isn't for splitting, Dragons,
I have no interest in sharing any of it with any of you.
but I want 25% of the business.
Early concerns about a lack of equity on offer
are set aside by the Dragon with a passion for all things tennis.
But Steven and Matthew's top target comes at a price and they'll have to
give away a quarter of the company to secure him.
Will Sarah Willingham table a more competitive bid?
I'm going to make you an offer.
I think 25% is ridiculous.
-You have no idea, though, so...
-Of course I do.
-..The value that brings.
-Here we go. Here we go.
I'm actually going to offer you all the money for 10%,
cos I think that's a very fair offer.
Dragon turns on Dragon, as Sarah Willingham
undercuts Peter Jones by more than half.
Four multimillionaires are now vying for the business.
Guys, it's decision time.
-Can we had a few minutes to have a chat?
-Have a think and have a chat.
-That's gone well.
-I'm really happy.
We have a question back for the Dragons, if that's OK.
We would like to know what your vision would be for us.
We will put that to you, Peter, first, if that's all right.
I am incredibly passionate and have been since a kid
at the age of seven,
when I wanted to win Wimbledon, passionate about tennis.
I used to sleep with my tennis racquet until I was about 15.
-Same as me!
-And I don't mind admitting that.
Tennis is my love, my passion.
When you're in a business like this,
you have to have that passion
that keeps you wanting to be part of it.
And if you desperately wanted me over the other three Dragons,
which I wouldn't blame you for,
then I would be willing to potentially negotiate on the offer.
OK. Thank you.
I think I'm slightly different
because I don't just see it as tennis.
You should be, if you get this right,
the absolute go-to choice if you want a group active holiday.
In terms of the practicalities of that,
it's been my life.
I don't know if I've answered you enough.
Do you want to ask me anything
about my specific skills in the industry I spent 25 years in?
I can offer you a marketing team,
an online team and a platform to put your website on.
There's a whole infrastructure that makes you "legit", as they call it,
in an office space.
You've got a great name.
I think you can own the group holiday space, I really do.
-I believe that, too.
-You have proven that you can do that model so well,
and it's almost like...
You're kind of almost cookie-cuttering
the replication of it.
When you do that in a business,
that's the moment that you've really created value,
that you can just roll it out.
Could we just ask you, Peter, what would be your revised offer?
I've offered you 25%.
I would be willing to drop to 20%.
But the minute that my money is repaid, which is only £25,000,
it could be in a heartbeat, I would go down to 15%.
-I think we need to chat again.
-Sorry. Thank you.
The prize money is in touching distance,
but will they go for value,
infrastructure and contact...
a holiday specialist...
or the Dragon who just loves to play tennis?
OK, firstly, I just want to say thank you so much
for your time today.
We'd like to go with you, Peter.
-Game, set and match to Peter Jones.
Also leaving court victorious are Steven and Matthew,
with £25,000 of Dragon capital for 20% of their company.
I'm so happy.
I think we've just played the best five-set match of our life.
And won it 8-6 in the fifth set.
-Love it. I'm really excited.
-Yeah. It's good.
I think... I'm going to get emotional now.
My mum, if she was still alive,
she would see today and she would be so proud of me.
I know my dad's going to be really proud, too.
An emotional end to a competitive session in the Den,
which proves that,
as an entrepreneur, you just have to grab an opportunity
when it presents itself.
Peter Jones and Touker Suleyman showed goodwill as they invested
in a tennis holiday business and Scottish artisan chocolate,
but slightly rebellious socks,
foldaway dog beds and dance mats
sadly didn't make the Dragons' Christmas stockings.
Still to come in this series of Dragons' Den...
Dragons, I'm a multimillionaire.
I don't need money.
Oh, yes. Oh, yes! Now we're talking.
Do you understand you are standing in Dragons' Den?
You know the deal, you come into the Den, everything is on air.
And you've worked in three investment banks, God help us.
You could blow this.
It's a black hole, just eating money.
You're valuing a business that so far has made £1,000 profit
-at £1 million.
-Yeah, if I'm able to answer...
I'd love to find out what you're going to say.
You actually got me very, very early on.
I've come to the conclusion I'd like to invest in YOU.
-I'm going to make an offer.
-All of the money for 10%.
You definitely need to go and have a little chat.
Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Touker Suleyman, Sarah Willingham and Nick Jenkins take their seats to face a fresh batch of entrepreneurs who dare to enter through the Den doors.
In this episode, a Scottish entrepreneur bearing chocolate gifts, a couple of city slickers selling socks and a teacher trying to get the party started with his dance mats are all hoping the Dragons are feeling generous in the season of goodwill. And finally, for the tennis coaches offering active holidays, will it be game over or will they walk away with a sack full of cash?