Dragons’ Den Blog: Episode 9 Series 9

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

According to willowy Welsh wonkatron Evan Davis this week’s “Anxious entrepreneurs are ready and waiting.” It’s like Stockholm Syndrome isn’t it? Well, Stockholm Sydrome as designed and decorated by an industrial storage unit.

First up is entrepreneur and ex-police officer Michelle Savage. Michelle is looking for £50,000 in exchange for 20% ownership of her business. And her business? Auto voodoo, if her admission that she used to stick pins in to her own eyes is anything to go by.

In fact, Michelle has actually invented something called a Savvylash, which sounds a bit like some sort of douche but is in fact a plastic stick that ‘safely and hygienically separates the eyelashes’. From each other of course, not from your face – that particular tool is called a tweezer.

So desperate is Michelle to isolate the eyelashes of the nation that she’s brought her daughter in for a little live ocular torture. “Would anyone like to come up and have a look at Aleesha’s eyelashes?” It’s the kind of offer than Hilary simply cannot turn down.

However, Michelle’s passion alone appears not to be enough to convince the finger-twitching Deborah Meaden. “I guarantee you that everyone who comes in here believes in their product,” Deborah sneers.

“There are people here who know more about makeup than I will ever know,” says Duncan Bannatyne rather coyly in my opinion. I mean, looking at him, this isn’t a man adverse to cosmetic treatments.

“Why isn’t this in Boots?” asks Theo, which is a little like asking a penguin why they aren’t flying or an orange why it isn’t purple. At least Peter Jones is on hand to offer the rather more practical advice that Michelle could sell directly to the manufacturer who can then give it away for free.

“This could be one of the bestselling make up products that’s ever been sold,” says Hilary, “but not in its current form.” She’s such a tease.

Next on to our screens is Shropshire-based John Richardson who is sharking for £75,000 investment in his skin product. It’s “For women who don’t want their faces injected,” and funnily enough, Hilary Devey doesn’t seem terribly interested. Who would have thought it?

John is swiftly followed by Julian Lipton from Watford, who is pitching on behalf of his existing business, The Nuttery. Not, as I’d hoped, an asylum, The Nuttery produces ‘a cage within a cage’ birdfeeders and is looking for £100,000 investment in exchange for 15% ownership. A cage within a cage: the very device that sparked the vicious civil war between birds and squirrels. Now, The Nuttery has a patchy financial history to say the least, not to mention the fact that in two years their patent will expire like a hungry squirrel on a sheet of ice.

“I have got the biggest collection of bird feeders in the country,” responds the typically restrained Deborah, before withdrawing support on account of the rather immature approach of Julian. “Commercially it’s not a route I’d want to walk down,” agrees Hilary, leaving Julian with little to show for his adventure other than a huge cardboard cut-out of a bird and one hell of an anecdote about meeting the owner of Britain’s largest collection of bird feeders.

Glaswegian Fraser Sinnot wanted to manufacture a coin-operated mobility vehicle to help people with their shopping, but was rather shot down in flames by Hilary’s recollections about her mother’s great battalion of the things. God knows what she was using them for. Drag races, probably.

Next up is unemployed entrepreneur Nathan Pearson who has created something called the Romeo shelf, which attaches to most Juliet balconies. Nathan has apparently already turned up pissed, holding an empty bottle and glass and tearing at the furniture. Oh no, sorry, this is the big reveal. Of what is basically a very tiny fold-up shelf, suitable for single wine bottles and, if you’re really lucky, a single peanut.

Listening to Nathan recount his tales of working in hazardous waste is a little like watching a puppy in a suit get dangled off a balcony. Still, the sympathy of the Dragons doesn’t last long. “You’ve come in to the den with a deal that irritates,” says Theo, before pulling out. As does Deborah and Peter Jones. Hilary then wades in with the rather retro suggestion that Nathan should his extend his one bottle flap in to a “buffet shelf” whatever in the name of scotch eggs that is.

The inventors William and Keith present a brilliant new macbook-style pull-out wall plug and socket. You can imagine the adverts now, can’t you? “I’m a William. I’m a Keith!”  But, although this is certainly a better product than the existing option, it is seen by the Dragons as too great a challenge.”You’re trying to climb Mount Everest in your flip flops,” as the beautifully lyrical Theo Pathites puts it.

Finally, we have London business women Andrea McDowell and Rebecca Baldwin who are pitching for their DIY wedding video company Shoot It. Andrea and Rebecca want 60,000 in return for 20% to expand their business and invest in more equipment.

If a DIY wedding video sounds a little like a Dig It Yourself Grave, Andrea and Rebecca are on hand to sing the praises of this cheap and creative idea. Shoot It Yourself hire out broadcast-quality video cameras, let the guests film the kind of intimate, silly and funny stuff that only your ex boyfriend/ drunk auntie could think was a good idea and then they then edit it for you professionally. It is “a cheaper, more fun alternative,” according to the pitch.

Hilary is so impressed that she immediately offers the full amount for 26% without even listening to the other dragons. Apparently 230,000 people are getting married each year. That’s a lot of shit discos and inedible cake. Not to mention a lot of wonga off the back of this wedding video idea. Hilary so effectively outmanoeuvres the other dragons that she doesn’t even need to budge on 26%, and she is accepted. White taffeta high fives all round.

So, there we are: peepers, plugs, peckers and marital piss ups. See you all next week!

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