Looking for investment? Skinny Tan conquer Dragons' Den

What’s Skinny Tan?

Louise: “ Skinny Tan is the first tanner to combine natural tanning properties with a naturally derived cellulite active for a dual effect, helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.”

How did the idea of starting a business come about?

Kate: “We’d been best friends for 11 years. Originally from Essex we met in Sydney while working in the beauty industry. We both had children and used to use both fake tan and creams for cellulite. So one evening we were chatting and couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a brand that put the two together."

Had you tried raising investment before Dragons' Den?

Kate: “We’d never raised investment before. Everything was funded by ourselves, our mortgages, credit cards and a lot of goodwill. We worked in the industry for 12 years so we managed to borrow a lot of favours from people."

How did you manage to win over all five Dragons?

Louise: It was because SkinnyTan has already been proved in another country. We’ve grown a business that’s turning over £600,000 in Australia and because our product is unique. They smelt it, saw the angle of the product and the fact we had good margins and turnover. Even if we bomb in the UK we will make Piers and Holly their money back in Australia alone.

How many times did you practise your pitch before?

Kate: "I had my pitch recorded and was listening to it on the phone, in the car, everywhere I went and I was still forgetting my words on the day."

Louise: I was nervous, Kate came across as a cool cucumber, my voice was cracking, it was nerve racking. We practised a lot. On a scale of 1-10 of nervousness I was at 25.  Because I realised these Dragons can break you. We didn’t know whether we’d get investment or how they would edit it.

Why did you choose Piers Linney and Kelly Hoppen?

Lousie: "We chose them because they are the new Dragons and that will be a huge PR opportunity for us. Because they are the new Dragons they’ll be smashing the PR and because the other Dragons wanted a lager percentage of the business. They’ve been brilliant. We’ve already had meetings set up for us. I don’t now how Kelly does everything she does, she’s so inspiring and Piers is really grounded and fun."

Kate: "Kelly’s already given us ideas on new products, that we can’t talk about at the moment and Piers always says just be your bubbly self and you’ll be fine."

How are you looking to grow the business?

Lousie: "We were originally going to spend it on advertising but because we’re getting good PR from the Dragons already. We’ll be using the money to build our online presence as our website is very important for launch. The rest will go on stock and getting some good PR people involved too."

What would be your advice for other small business owners looking to grow their start-up?

Kate: "Get it in front of as many people as you can. Someone will know someone who can help and you should take all the help you an get. Just go for it, if something comes across your path that seems like it may be a good idea, just do it. It’s ok to regret doing something, but don’t regret not trying something."

For more information about Skinny Tan, click here

What other great businesses have convinced the Dragons to part with their cash? Check out our Top 5 here!

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