Dragons’ Den Blog: Episode 8 Series 9

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

Welcome to the Dragons’ Den: the only place on earth where five people in business suits standing on the edge of a sky scraper isn’t considered cause for alarm.

Our first pair of pitchers are the 18 year old whippersnappers Ryan Ashmore and Liam Webb who run the RKA record label, as well as tying their ties according to the Freudian football method: huge knots, massive girth and danglingly thick.

Ryan and Liam are looking for £50,000 investment in exchange for a 15% share. If you think 15% sounds a little small, consider the fact that RKA only give their artists 20% of their earnings, pocketing the other 80%. That’s label spelled p.i.m.p.

After looking at some photos of RKA’s ‘artists’ that I can only assume are screengrabs from mysinglefriend.com the dragons enjoy a 67-second buttock-clenchingly awkward medley of ipod choonz. As they say on Tin Pan Alley – if 8 seconds of poorly amplified pop in a tv studio can’t sell an artist, then nothing can.

Surprisingly, for two 18 –year-old boys, Liam and Ryan spend a lot of time in their bedrooms, where RKA is based. They have “overheads of about £2.80” apparently. Is that really how much a pot noodle supper costs these days? That’s inflation for you.

“This is one of the hardest industries to crack,” warns Peter Jones. In fact, all the dragons seem reluctant to invest, apart from Duncan Bannatyne who makes the rather bold offer of 79% ownership. And god bless their little shiny suits, RKA records actually accept.

Hoses, trumpets, indoor ski-ing: I do love the intermediary footage between each pitch. What could possibly come next? A woman called Yasmin Hossain, apparently, who’s brought in two young boys who are playing with their tiny little balls. How nice.

Next up is the marketing entrepreneur Richard Williams and he’s brought Colonel Sanders with him. Oh, okay, fine it’s not the Colonel. It’s Gill Estrander and they’re here to pitch some sort of Realtor Network. Poor old Richard is breathing like a beagle on a chatline and I have absolutely no idea what Gill is talking about. Still, I like his spunk. “The enigmatic entrepreneurs seem only to have confounded the Dragons,” says Evan Davis. Well, let’s see; there’s definitely talk of ‘agents’ and ‘networks’ so I can only assume these two heavy breathers are MI5’s most unlikely spies.

As we’ve seen before, all five dragons pretty much explode any time someone tries to talk to them. So, faced with the determination of Colonel Sanders, it’s a miracle they didn’t all just turn tail and flee to the nearest Franciscan monastery. Personally, I was just waiting for the Colonel to start throwing batter in Peter Jones’ eyes.

“The beast doesn’t change. And when it’s hungry, it wants feeding.” I have no idea what Hilary is talking about, but by god am I going to invest in some monster snacks tomorrow.

“Businesses don’t fail – people fail. Airplanes don’t crash – pilots do,” signs off Colonel Sanders. Entrepreneurs don’t lose pitches – retail-trading chicken magnates do.

After a doomed but mercifully short swing by some ungodly foodstuff called the Haggisdog we move on to a “women’s fashion piece” designed by Michelle and Steve Ellis. What could it be? Bonnets? Side saddles? Pinafores?

Not quite. Michelle and Steve’s business Fat Frocks is looking for an investor for Wingz. Not, as you may suspect, a sequined sanitary towel, Wingz are basically undersleeves for the biceply challenged. To paraphrase Theo Paphitis, imagine a sari blouse, but with pillow cases for sleeves. The profit margin is pretty good – from £2.80 cost, each pair of Wingz is sold on for £14.99.

Sadly, Deborah is out: announced in Deborah’s traditional style of a pitying smile and that idiosyncratic little movement she does with her hands. It looks like she’s trying to get chewing gum off the inside of a knuckle. Or, more likely, she’s physically itching to give someone the finger.

Unsurprisingly Hilary “Shoulders” Duvet likes the excess sleeve garment, but also finds herself unable to invest. As Paul McCartney (nearly) said, the life of Wingz is up and down.

Our final presentation comes from the dream team of Irish builder Aiden Quinn and Lancastrian interior decorator Gemma Roper. The pair are looking for £75,000 in exchange for a 15% share of Ecohab – their dome-shaped eco constructions that look almost exactly like beehives.

“This one is ideal for a family,” says Aiden, pointing to a 4cm high model. No it’s not Aiden – unless your family happen to be headed by Rick Moranis and you’re about to star in 80s classic Honey I Shrunk The Kids.

Actually, Aiden and Gemma are here to get investment for their eco pods – or ‘garden structures’ as they would like to be known.

“Peter Jones is not looking impressed,” says Evan. There’s a surprise. Despite the fact that “Some people find it incredibly attractive,” Peter Jones simply cannot warm to the wood-clad hive. Not petrol-powered enough for this particular magnate, I suppose.

“I’m all for green,” says Hilary Devey before going off on a pretty impressive rant about her domestic fishing lodge. I imagine this is where she hauls in a marlin, some great whites and a couple of humpback whales using just her shoulders pads as nets. Sadly, even her love of al fresco fishing can’t persuade the haulage high priestess to invest.

After a lot of extremely ballsy negotiating, Theo ends up offering Aiden and Gemma the full £75,000 but split in to a £37,500 equity and £37,500 interest free loan. Very clever.

And so we have come to the end: balls, beehives, bedroom records and some rather bonkers bar snacks. Have a lovely week!

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