Dragons’ Den review: The Little Coffee Bag Co inspire with its simple idea

Dragons’ Den review: The Little Coffee Bag Co inspire with its simple ideaMonday, February 10, 2014 by Matt Maltby

Married entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas for investment in Dragons’ Den this week. Three couples hoped the interrogation process would lead to new funding, and a very powerful new partner, for their business. How did they perform? Find out here

On top of all the duos, we saw a graffiti artist whose passion was impressive, but matched by a frightening lack of business knowledge, and Carrie Bates showed how a simple idea can be exploited and turned into a winning business. 

GraffitiArtist.com

Graffiti artist David Brown’s pitch was something of the unusual manner. Shying away from the typical look, Brown’s casual and unorthodox approach looked to surprise the Dragons. “Give me £70,000 and we can make it happen man” he told Kelly Hoppen.

Though Brown’s business plan impressed, his lack of knowledge when it came to figures wasn’t as well recieved. Amusing Deborah Meaden and co when he kept looking down, it became clear he'd written his figures down. You’ve got to hand it to him, but Brown’s lack of research and business proposition cost him any investment. A likeable character, an amusing pitch and a great cause, but it’s vital to know your business plan inside and out. 

The Little Coffee Bag Co

Carrie Bates created her brand after she wanted to find a convenient way to give her husband and son their coffee when going on a camping trip. Taking inspiration from Peter Jones, she said, “The secret is to take an existing product, service or concept and take it up a level. By applying your own vision and creativity.”

She’s already selling in Harvey Nichols and the panel loved her simple idea. Peter Jones, as enthusiastic as ever, wasted little time in starting the bidding process, offering the full £100,000 for 33.3% of the business. The remaining two judges, Meaden and Piers Linney mirrored Jones’ offer. Not a bad headache to have then for the female entrepreneur. Bates persuaded Meaden and Jones to join forces and she secured the investment she wanted in return for a third of her company. 

Jolly Days Luxury Camping 

Glamour camping is huge right now. With conditions not the greatest, many are resorting to glamping as a way to experience stylish stays as an alternative to luxurious hotels. Christian and Carolyn Van Outersterp’s multi-award winning business was recognised by Meaden, who has had her fair share of hospitality success in the past.

The duo were after £200,000 for 20% equity and, although their brand was hailed by the Dragons, their expansion plans were questioned. A fatal flaw was that they were only renting land to build various luxury camps on, and with a 15-year lease arranged, the panel felt it was a huge risk. The Van Outersterp’s failed to secure investment to take Jolly Days Luxury Camping to the next level. 

Slouch Mat

The second married couple of the evening to pitch for investment was Nuala and Chris Lewis, who had created their brand Slouch Mat. An alternative to a mouse mat, their product would allow you to use your mouse on uneven surfaces. However, their brand was scrutinised by the panel, who felt it was 20 years late and with technology and touch screen devices becoming ever more popular, believed it would've have been crazy to part with their money. 

Rustic Indian 

Vini and Bal Aujla had already secured a number of retailers for their business, which creates and sells gluten free homemade sauces to compliment tasty and healthy cooking. Seeking £50,000 for 15% of their brand, the couple pitched their proposition with facts, proving that Rustic Indian had its foot in the market. Jones’ experience with Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce meant he had dealt with this type of business before in the den. The panel felt that the couple needed a lot more money than they had pitched for, as the market is competitive and crowded. But the duo did secure Piers Linney as an investor who offered £50,000 for 30% of the business.

What did we learn this week?

  • Don’t focus your attention on one investor, make sure your pitch appeals to everyone
  • Take a simple idea and make it better
  • Don’t create something that is outdated

Hero of the week

Carrie Bates impressed the panel with the coffee bag company and proved that a business can be created out of nothing.  

Villain of the week

Nuala and Chris Lewis’ product Slouch Mat was scrutinised by the dragons, who felt their invention was outdated. Keep up with the times.

For more on Dragons' Den, check out our five favourite businesses from the show and the dragons' Den infographic.

Dragons Den infographic Smarta