Dragons Den winners: The original and the best
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Sarah Agar-Brennan entered the Den seeking £80,000 for a 10 percent equity stake in her cushion company. In less than a year, she had gone from making over £500,000, to only turning over £90,000. Her business was in trouble, the Dragons warned.
Love Bomb Cushions Ltd brings emojis to life through novelty plush goods. The company hold a license for the UK based emoji company, and their range includes foot cushions, beanies and key chains.
In the 12 months before entering the Den, Sarah was able to turn over an excess of £500,000 with a gross profit of 46 percent and a net profit of 18 percent she believed it was “an excellent return on investment”.
As the head of the management team, Sarah boasted over 20 years’ experience in business with many awards over the years and felt she was the best person to get the company to a good place.
After the pitch, Jenny Campbell congratulated Sarah on being a successful entrepreneur however she struggled to understand why she needed a Dragon when she was already turning over £500,000.
“Because you’re better than me, you’ve got proven track records and I’m inspired by you all,” she responded.
In disbelief Deborah Meaden said: “Sarah, NEVER stand in front of anyone ever again and say you’re better than me. Never say those words.
“More experience, more contacts, but never better.”
When Touker Suleyman asked about the turn over for the second year of business, Sarah explained that there had been a “change” to the business.
Love Bomb Cushions had acquired a new distributer, but the team quickly realised that they could not help them achieve international success and sell their products to millions. Instead they took the decision to take on distribution themselves.
Peter Jones said: “This sounds like an excuse rather than just giving the number. What is the trading revenue for the last nine months?”
Sarah told the Dragons’ it was £90,000 “at the moment”.
Shocked at the drop in sales, Touker said: “If you do not get a Dragon to invest today, you are in trouble.”
Deborah Meaden told Sarah that she did not automatically think that her business had collapsed, however the big risk is that she had lost her big distributer and there is not a lot of time to fill in that gap.
Sarah explained that she had meetings with Welcome Break and Road Chef scheduled and during their first year, they made big orders of £120,000 so she felt she could get the sales back.
She said: “It’s hugely difficult to stand here because I do not have the figures. I’m standing here saying I know I can get them.”
An unconvinced Deborah cannot invest in the business.
After being asking about her background in business, Sarah explained she had previously been involved with Star Wars collectable items. At the peak, she had six shops and two online websites however she had to give this all up due to personal reasons.
Her son died unexpectedly so she did not feel like “carrying on”. She sold the business, not caring about what she was given from it.
She said: “I have a skateboarding business, I set it up in my darkest days because I wanted to put something back in my life. It felt like a hollow pit back then, so I did skateboarding, I coached kids which nursed me back to health.”
Tej Lalvani said the quality of the products was good and Sarah was very investable however he was concerned in the drop in revenue. He was not sure if he “should take a chance” on her.
He offered her half of the money for 17 percent of the company.
Jenny explained that the business had “many red flags” but when she took over her business it was losing £7million and she said it was many years of “hard graft” to turn it around.
She wanted to give Sarah the same chance, so she offered her half of the money for 17 percent also.
Peter said Jenny was a strong woman, but he thought she had “messed up” with the business.
He offered her all of the money for 40 percent of the company.
But Jenny accepted Tej and Jenny’s offer.
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