The Daily Mail ran a story in March 2011 on Natalie Balmond and transformed her cottage industry into a thriving business overnight. Not only that, the article was responsible for helping them to secure a berth on Dragon’s Den.
After a tense two hour grilling in the Den, Natalie Balmond and co-director Weze Hannam were desperately unlucky not to secure investment, but despite the setback business is booming. They found partners immediately after the filming on the show and secured a contract with Holland & Barrett.
Both entrepreneurs found the experience gruelling, but they are more than happy with the outcome.
For the Brighton based entrepreneurs the response from the public has also been amazing. Despite rousing the Dragons’ anger, the public it seems simply disagree.
Natalie Balmond, Founder of Purepotions, had this to say:
“What may take 30 seconds to watch on the TV could have taken a working afternoon to create in the studio. In total we were stood in the Den for two hours of relentless interrogation. Two hours under intensely bright lights. Two hours batting forth queries. Two hours discussing financial minutiae. Two hours standing in heels. It was a nightmare. But it was totally worth it.
Previously, we rehearsed our pitch over and over. We delivered it on several occasions to our staff. We performed it to other business people and welcomed difficult questions and feedback. We pitched our finances to accountants and offered our books for intense scrutiny. We studied the marketplace. We checked and re-checked our valuation of the business. We wanted to understand where the weaknesses might be in our argument so we might counter any opposition effectively. In short, we were incredibly well prepared for the interview. We honed our approach until everyone agreed we had done a thorough job.
We did all the right things. Or so we thought, but we got a proper roasting. The Dragon’s focused on a single stone we had left unturned and went at it repeatedly. They started off all nice and friendly but ended up tearing strips off us.
Running a business is a learning curve. Our advice to entrepreneurs is never being ashamed of the mistakes you make, because those who don’t make mistakes don’t make anything. If you have put a lot of hard work into your project, don’t let anyone take that away from you.
Would we do it again? Hell yeah! We are dedicated business owners and we never pass up the opportunity to plug our product. It’s not about our damaged egos. It’s all about helping people overcome severe skin conditions.
We were savaged by the fire breathing Dragon’s. But we would walk through Dragon fire to reach our customers. They are the ones who are important, not us. We’d do it again tomorrow. But next time we would trade our Zara suits for asbestos."