Dragons’ Den is one of the biggest reality shows in the UK. Since the show’s first series, over 1000 entrepreneurs have pitched their business ideas to the Dragons. From portable suitcases to beer companies, the Dragons have seen multiple products. We often read about the successful pitches on the show. However, have you ever wondered what happened to the business pitches rejected by the Dragons? Let us have a look at the Most Successful Dragons’ Den Rejects.
Also Read: UK’s Top Women Entrepreneurs Under 30
Tangle Teezer- Shaun Pulfrey
In 2007, Shaun Pulfrey pitched his business Tangle Teezer on Dragons’ Den. Tangle Teezer is a famous British brand that manufactures hairbrushes and hair care products. Shaun asked for an investment of £80K for 15%equity, which the Dragons called a “waste of money and time”.
Moreover, the Dragons called the Tangle Teezer “hair-brained” and “just a horse brush” that is not worth buying. Since the Dragons had no interest in Pulfrey’s company, they all rejected his pitch. However, Shaun did not give up. He used his savings and mortgaged his London apartment to officially launch his products in high-street shops like Toni & Guy, Boots and Regis.
After appearing in the Dragons’ Den, Tangle Teezer sold 35,000 brushes. The favourite brand of celebrities has a net worth of £65m. At present, Shaun has sold over 50 million hairbrushes and haircare products.
Also Read: Dragons’ Den Toughest Negotiations
Cup-a-Wine- James Nash
Who wouldn’t like to purchase a wine glass with the drink already inside? In 2009, James Nash entered the Den with his unique idea of selling an already-filled glass of wine. Yes, you read it right, a wine glass with a serving of alcoholic drink already in it.
In his pitch, James mentioned that Cup-a-Wine is a single-serve, sealed, pre-filled, ready-to-drink glass of wine. He asked for a £250K investment in exchange for 25% equity. However, Dragon Duncan Bannatyne stated: “People would not want to buy such wine glasses”. All the Dragons called the product “tacky” and “ridiculous” and rejected James’s proposal.
In 2010, the entrepreneur secured a deal with Marks & Spencer to launch its Le Froglet wine in glasses. Today, Cup-a-Wine is worth millions and has thousands of customers worldwide.
Trunki- Rob Law
In 2006, Dragons humiliated Rob Law when he pitched his business idea in the Den. Rob Law established Trunki, the world’s first ride-on suitcases for kids. Moreover, Trunki is the leading travelling companion for toddlers. Law designed the multipurpose suitcase as hand luggage and a ride-on bag that parents can easily tow. Trunki makes it convenient for children to pack their favourite stuff in Trunki, sit and ride on it.
Law asked for an investment of £100K in return for a 10% equity of his business. Theo Paphitis angrily rejected his pitch saying, “You should not appear here with easily solvable problems.” It makes me angry that we waste our energy and time with these things,” However, all the Dragons rejected the pitch, and Richard Farleigh offered Law an investment of £50K for a 10% stake. Law did not accept Richard’s proposal and returned from the show empty-handed.
Trunki turned out to be one of the significant missed opportunities by the Dragons. Today, Trunki is one of the most successful products pitched on Dragons’ Den. In 2021, the company earned a revenue of £8.13m. Till now, Law has sold over 4 million suitcases in over 100 nations.
Destination Board Games- Rachel Lowe
In 2004, Rachel Lowe pitched her business, Destination Board Games in the Den. She asked for an investment of £75K from the Dragons for her innovation, Destination Board Games. In the game, the participant plays as a taxi driver to acquire rewards by driving from destination to destination through dice. The goal is to earn the most play money in the game by visiting several tourist attractions in London.
All the Dragons rejected the pitch calling Rachel unprepared for the show. However, it did not affect the entrepreneur much. When appearing in Dragons’ Den, she had already secured a deal with Hamley’s. Soon Hamley started selling Destination Board Games, making it a best-selling game that year.
Today, Destination Board Games are available in 21 different varieties. Moreover, Rachel has an estimated net worth of £96m.
These were some of the Most Successful Dragons’ Den Rejects that are making millions today. The products and entrepreneurs prove that rejection is just a redirection for success.
Rejecting such innovative ideas was one of the missed opportunities for Dragons. The rejection just added fuel to the fire and made these entrepreneurs millionaires.
Which of these products is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below.