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Surviving Dragons Den…

We were approached by BBC2 Dragons Den, after they had seen our products at various beauty show’s.

For any of you who have been to the show, you’ll know that our stand creates mayhem and people queue for hours just to try out the products.

They called us and asked if we had thought of applying….

It hadn’t been part of our business plan, but we thought ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’

We didn’t have anything to lose by going on the show but it was an option that they presented us with and we knew only good things could come from it.

We had to go through due diligence, which was a very time consuming exercise. The BBC wanted to know EVERYTHING, from turnover, gross & net (as you would imagine) but they went through everything with a fine toothcomb. At the time we had just over 500 stockists, they wanted proof. Our product retails at £12.50, again they wanted proof. We said we had got a celebrity to wear Glitter Lips…yep you’ve guessed it – they wanted proof!

It was very hard work but actually, it was a very good experience for us. It made us take a step back and really look at the business with fresh eyes.

On the day of filming, we had to be at the ITV studio’s for 6.30pm full make up, hair and heels!

There were 5 other businesses there to film the same day and nobody knew what time their slot was. We were all kept in the ‘green room’ and there was an air of panic every time the door opened – was it our turn???

When it was our turn, we were very nervous, but we knew it was now or never!

We put on a very sparkling and interesting pitch and we managed to get Glitter Lips on Peter Jones (or rather he couldn’t wait to put it on himself).

It was thrilling to have had the chance to appear on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den. But it was probably the most nerve racking thing we’ve ever done in our lives. It was a long walk from the BBC studio green room to the Den, and as we began to start our three-minute pitch our legs felt like jelly. But once our presentation was over and the five Dragons began their interrogation of our business plan, we forgot the cameras. I was too focused to be nervous.

A lot of the discussion was cut, there was plenty of controversial comments made by the dragons (it’s no surprise that they were cut really).

Despite the knockbacks, it wasn’t all serious, and there were some really funny moments in the Den. Peter Jones was so desperate to try out the product that he applied the Glitter Lips we had given him there and then.

Pitching Glitter Lips to a BBC Two audience of millions – and five multi-millionaires – is something we never dreamt would be possible when we created the product three years ago. We were working together at our salon Bennetts hair, beauty & tanning in Lincoln. We got chatting about the new fashion for lip decoration, showcased by everyone from Jessie J to Dior. We started a journey to create a product that was not just show stopping, but would actually stay put during a night out.

We launched what would become Glitter Lips at our salon in Lincoln, and people were queuing up to buy it. We had no box or company name, but within months we were attending “Meet the Buyer” days at Liberty, and getting advice from make-up gurus like Ruby & Millie founder Millie Kendall. It wasn’t long before Glitter Lips was on sale in Topshop’s flagship branch on Oxford Street – and we sold out in our first weekend.

A big turning point came when we joined Virgin Media Pioneers, the broadband company’s online community for entrepreneurs. This gave us access to invaluable advice from other start-up founders, and Virgin Media were able to unlock doors for us. We were invited to sell Glitter Lips to festival goers at V Fest, where we made up celebrities like Pixie Lott, Alexandra Burke – and Keith Lemon. This next year we met with a Superdrug buyer, who agreed to start stocking the product in stores across the country and online.

Glitter Lips is now being sold at stores over the world – from New York to Australia. And with Thomson Airlines now stocking the product on all their flights, the sky really is the limit.

All five dragons decided that our company and its products weren’t for them, but we received some very positive feedback!

Thank you to all who watched us on Dragons Den and also to those of you who send us good luck wishes and support during our pitch.

We hope we haven’t disappointed anyone – we are actually very pleased with the outcome.

It is possibly the best thing that could have happened!

The best bit about us not securing investment is we still own 100% of our business!

We used the whole Dragons Den experience as a marketing exercise – we knew either way, we would get something good from it.

We may not have a dragon on board, but we have a new found respect for our business and what we have achieved in such a short space of time!

We also have complete control of what happens next.

We’d love for you to share this journey with us, we will keep you updated on where we are going and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Advice for anyone thinking of entering the Dragons Den, yes it is nerve racking, but you have no idea where it will lead!

Look at the Dragons Den “Rejects” that have gone before us, Tangle Teezer, Trunki, Approved Foods, the dragons didn’t invest, and look at the success they have achieved off the back of appearing on the show!

Just goes to show, those 5 Dragons are just people (very wealthy ones though).  But they are human and have the capacity to be wrong….

If you didn’t get chance to watch our pitch, here it is

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