Nimble was on Dragons' Den!
I can’t believe I went on Dragons’ Den!
I used to watch Dragons’ Den religiously while still working for a consumer goods company. To the point that I had to stop watching because I got so upset about not being able to leave my job and start my own business. Who knew that I’d go pitch to the dragons in real life a few years later!
My Dragons’ Den experience now tops the list of the most challenging things I have had to do for Nimble.
During the selection process, I had to produce mountains of paperwork to prove to the BBC everything I say about myself and the business— from university certificates proving I am a chemist to copies of every single contract I have with retailers and distributors. It took me over three weeks to compile this, and in the end, I had a 300-page dossier that I had to lug around with me from London to the Dragons’ Den studio in Manchester.
On the day of the filming itself, I had to wait 12 hours before my turn to go to the den. The part I found most gruelling was that we did not know which order the dragons would call us in, and we had to stay in one room all day. It was torture! So when I was finally called, I couldn’t believe that it was happening, and I had to muster all the energy I had left.
As I walked into the lift, my heart was pounding, and I thanked God for the little bit of theatre training when I was a teenager. Luckily, I remembered some of the relaxation techniques I had learned before going on stage and managed to calm myself down and collect my thoughts.
When the lift doors opened, I was all smiles and managed to walk toward the dragons without tripping. I took a deep breath, made eye contact (which was hard to do when they all looked so angry at me!), and delivered the first few lines of my pitch.
Three minutes later, my pitch was almost done, and I saw one or two dragons smiling and nodding along, which gave me a bit more confidence. Then came the questions and grilling. It’s a bit of a blur, and I can’t remember who asked or said what. But I remember that they did behave like dragons and criticised every aspect of my business.
Why are my sales so poor? How dare I insult them with a £3m valuation? Why would anyone buy my products? I was ready for these questions, but what came next was something I didn’t expect at all! Very quickly, Peter Jones declared that he was out. After a few more tense questions, Deborah Meaden said she was out.
Only three Dragons left, and they looked extremely disappointed.
I was ready to leave, but Tej Lavlani suddenly said, "I do like this space, and I think it's an area that can grow... so I'm going to make you an offer". Then came Touker Suleyman "I'm in the baby world... so I'm going to make you an offer, and I'm backing you because I believe we can go places". Lastly came Sara Davies "The big potential for this in the US, and that is a market I think I can add value with"
I negotiated a bit and eventually accepted the combined offer from Dragons.
I still can’t believe that I got three bloody offers, one after the other, even after a sticky interrogation!I hope you enjoyed watching the show and have picked up a thing or two from my experience as an entrepreneur.
-Von (a.k.a. Mr Nimble) x