Dragons’ Den reject told product won’t make a ‘huge profit’ – business made £1m in a year
Natalie Ellis entered the Den in 2008 seeking £120,000 for 15 percent equity of her company, Prestige Pets. After establishing her company Prestige Pets in 2001, the entrepreneur went on to invent a non-spill dog bowl which she called the Road Refresher.
In the five months prior to appearing on the show, Natalie had sold 22,000 refresher bowls and turned over £70,500. Her aim was to take her product to America.
She had researched that the dog accessory market was much bigger in the USA and wanted to move her business there.
Theo Paphitis said: “Trying to conquer America is just one step too much, so I’m out.”
James Caan agreed with Theo and explained to her that America is known as the “graveyard of all UK businesses”.
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He told her he could not invest as it was more of a lifestyle business rather than an investment one.
Duncan Bannatyne added: “I agree with James. There’s not huge profit in this so I’m out.”
Peter Jones said he didn’t think was an investable opportunity and that she just needed help and support which she could get elsewhere.
During an interview posted to the Dragons’ Den YouTube channel last year, Natalie explained she was “absolutely devastated” when leaving the Den as she wanted investment from both Peter and Theo.
She was able to achieve this success by pursing her international plans.
“My big ambition was to take this to America and I’d rather look back and say I tried and failed rather than what if,” Natalie said.
Natalie’s product became the fastest selling dog bowl on Amazon USA, which was recommended for president Obama’s dog.
She explained: “I was taken aback by the news. It’s absolutely amazing to think my invention is going to be used in the White House.
“In the back of my mind, I can’t help thinking, ‘Yes, Dragons, you were wrong’,” Natalie told the Daily Mail.
Theo said: “It’s wonderful to see someone from the Den who didn’t get investment do so well.
“I’m constantly asked ‘Do you regret not investing?’
“If I had to say there was one that I would have liked to invest in more than the others that I did – I reckon this one might be it you know.”
Natalie told the FT her turnover reached £1million at some point in 2008, with her first million pound profit gained in 2010.
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