Start-up Secrets: How do you propel your business to the next level? Get it on a TV show

A year earlier, like many entrepreneurs, Castle suddenly had a sparkling idea. Hers came while lying in a tent feeling too tired and cold to unzip her sleeping bag and struggle across the dark field to find the toilet. She asked herself, "Why isn't there an affordable yet practical portable loo?" And with that, the BoginaBag (bog in a bag) was born. This is a unique, lightweight stool which when nature calls, can be transformed into a toilet with the help of a hole in the base and a specifically designed degradable bag.

Fast-forward to this August, Castle has just finished her pitch to the Dragons. The stars of the show start to talk, simultaneously so do millions of people across the country. It doesn't matter that the first Dragon to speak, Peter Jones, baulks at her plea for investment, growling, "I need to get my sanity back. You're asking for £50,000 for what is essentially just a chair with a hole and a bin liner."

But Jones has been overruled. Because regardless of whether the product is a simple creation or not, it has secured the attention of a global audience of potential customers.

"Everything went completely crazy," smiles Castle. "We had an extra 100,000 unique visitors to the website, tons more likes on Facebook and on Twitter #boginabag managed to trend for over seven hours in the UK and for 10 minutes globally."

The hits to www.boginabag.co.uk rocketed and Castle admits she was worried that her website might collapse under the traffic overload.

"Luckily, I already had a few online retailers selling the product so my website just about managed to cope. We had so many enquiries I was fortunate my website didn't crash."

The excited buzz that Dragons' Den immediately created about Boginabag, plus the fact Theo Paphitis ignored Peter Jones' dismissal and decided to invest the full £50,000 in return for 30% equity, gripped retailers attention and resulted in huge growth for the business.

"In the three days after Dragons' Den, I sold more than I'd done in July and the rest of August." Still shocked she adds, "And that's completely ridiculous because they're my two best months. What's great is that sales have continued into September. The show has had such a huge impact that my number of stockists have doubled."

Still a fledging start-up, BoginaBag celebrated its first birthday in May 2011. This was the same month the company broke even. "Up until the show aired, I had sold 10,000 sets of bags and 2,000 stools." She says with an excited grin. "I've managed to sell double that in one month since appearing on Dragons' Den."

This sounds too good to be true. But what is it really like to work with a dragon?

"It's not as intimidating as you'd think. Theo not only invested in the product but he invested in me," say's Castle. "He hasn't made me change things I didn't want to alter. It's all about using the contacts and expertise that Theo has so we can grow the business together.

"Initially, we used the money for stock and patent costs," explains Castle, "I've already used the full stock allowance. In terms of what I'm going to spend the rest of the investment on, we're waiting to see. We do need cash to buy lots of stock for next summer though."

But having the money in the bank is a bonus for Castle.

"Having the extra money has made a huge difference as it gives my company the strength to move quickly, she says."

And although the show is only the beginning of the challenges that Castle is likely to face as she runs her own business, she insists she's not worried about the future. " Appearing on Dragons Den was such a nerve racking and stressful experience that I think to myself, if I can survive that, then I can do anything."

In terms of growth appearing on Dragons Den has accelerated the process at rocket speed and Castle knows it.

"I want a million-pound business. In five years time, I want BoginaBag to have recorded 500% growth. And that's realistic all thanks to Dragons' Den. I'm sure that without appearing on that show, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now."

And with that, Castle has to dash off. Her phone's ringing non-stop and she's got to head back to her stall at yet another trade show, where she's flaunting her much talked abut product to more potential retailers.

Find out more info at

http://www.boginabag.co.uk/

If you're interested in a start-up business bank account, contact Natwest to realise your ambitions.


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