Dragons’ Den: Tapping out or making your mark?

Dragons' Den

Last night’s Dragons’ Den was full of rejections, yet a particular pitch happened to make its mark on all five Dragons – but which one?

First to enter the den this week was Australian, Stuart Mason, presenting his ‘SpaTap’ invention – a portable, water-saving, silicon tap mechanism that attaches to a water bottle.

My initial reaction, like Deborah’s, was a feeling of confusion in relation to who his audience was and why they would need this product.

The mention of camping became understandable but in my view, he definitely tried to blag it with “dog walkers” – either way, he was facing a niche market.

The ‘cool’ product, as described by Sarah, was indeed that, but still didn’t take away my original feelings about the invention. When the reference to the humanitarian use was mentioned, I began to see potential likewise with the Dragons, as the thought of saving much needed water could have been revolutionary.

Unluckily for Stuart, Peter was just too smart.

Peter’s remark in reference to hygiene was a very valid point that began to drown Stuart’s hopes of an investment. His £65,000 asking price was slowly appearing to approach the plughole, as one by one, the Dragons declared themselves ‘out’.

With a mechanism that worked through the use of contact, this lead to all types of hygiene concerns and so, even though the product was sprinkled with compliments, Stuart tapped out of the den without gaining an investment.

If you thought the last pitch was slightly confusing in concept, that was nothing in comparison to the next. A smiley, confident and optimistic Faheem strolled into the den asking for a large order of £130,000 for a 10% share in his restaurant business.

I didn’t understand much from this pitch and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. Not a single Dragon had an understanding of what the concept of the business was and I don’t even know if Faheem was completely convinced himself. An impressive 1.5 million turnover in the last year was about as good as it was going to get.

From being remarked as ‘average’ from an unimpressed Peter, Faheem’s positive approach was beginning to lose its initial flavour. Deborah became frustrated and Sarah felt she had ‘no choice’ but to declare herself ‘out’. Nick and Touker both shared the views of their fellow Dragons’ and also opted not to invest.

To follow was Ben, who pitched his invention that supposedly helps children learn to tie their shoe laces, however, the dragons were probably the worst to trial this one on.

Half of the Dragons found the invention more difficult to use than just normally tying a shoe lace, which didn’t give Ben a great deal of confidence. His ‘solving a problem that doesn’t exist’ was obviously not worth the Dragons’ money and so he failed to tie down an investment from a Dragon.

Beauty Boulevard’s Rachel and Paula were up next, presenting their long-wear lip product, ‘Glitter Lips’. Yes, the appearance was fairly striking and quite unique but now millions have seen the idea, what’s to say that bigger and more renowned beauty brands won’t copy and develop ‘Glitter Lips’?

Although the various features in Elle, Cosmopolitan, Grazia and Vogue were imposing, as well as the numerous television appearances on shows like Strictly Come Dancing and This Morning, it just wasn’t enough for the Dragons to see full potential.

The need for an ‘acquired taste’ got the Dragons questioning from a business point of view, how well the product would work within the beauty industry.

Peter’s inclusive efforts to get involved with the product by demoing a resplendent, sparkly pink colour on his lips was although quite amusing, actually proved its long-lasting effect. Entering with a sparkle, Rachel and Paula left the den empty handed, failing to dazzle the Dragons.

Partner’s Martin and Jenny were last to enter the den, pitching their ‘MarXman’. It is designed to help builders and any DIY undertakers, by allowing them to mark their drill holes easily and effectively.

I immediately imagined this would be right up Deborah’s street, especially due to her contacts in the industry and successful businesses that are currently within the same sector.

From an ideal stockist of Wickes nailed down already, the future for this invention was quite possibly a bright one. The slight shock in revelation that the couple had essentially invested most of their savings into the business (roughly £100,000) was not enough to put off any of the Dragons.

All of them offered support and expertise, in addition to an offer. After the obligatory walk to the back of the room for a ‘quick chat’, the couple decided to accept Deborah’s offer as she jumped out of her seat with a formerly contained excitement.

I think it’s clear which pitch was the only one to make an indelible mark this week.