Yes, we’ve done Dragons Den
Every time a new series of Dragons Den appears on the BBC I think back to our time in front of the Dragons (Duncan Banatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Piers Linney and Kelly Hoppen) back in April in 2013. Lots of people think they saw us on the show but the honest truth is our pitch never aired and I will explain exactly why…
Having been approached whilst at Crufts In early March 2013 by researchers on the program we were called to London to pitch to the producers who loved the ethos and ideas behind what we do and our proud determination to manufacture in Cornwall so much that we were propelled hastily on to the actual show and whisked off to Salford just 2 weeks later to film.
Knowing our products inside out and having spent many hours at shows explaining to potential customers exactly why it’s a great idea, Barry and I held our own in front of the Dragons, despite some worryingly stupid comments from Kelly Hoppen who was amazed to be told people carry bags of dog poo around! (Must be her blacked out Limo windows restricting her view of “normal life”)
Then we got down to the nitty gritty of the figures, no over inflated expectations from us, no hidden million pound investors owning half of our business, just honest facts and tales of hard work. And then they said it!
“FOR US TO MAKE THE PROFIT WE EXPECT, YOU’D HAVE TO MANUFACTURE OVERSEAS!”
We never actually wanted them to invest, we just wanted some PR, 3 minutes of airtime on National TV to let people know about our innovative products and where to find us if they liked the idea and wanted to save themselves hours of poo swinging. But with that 1 selfish sentence they sealed our fate; our pitch was never going to be aired now. The Producers and Directors loved the story behind us investing in an industry and an area of the country that had suffered massive job losses due to manufacture moving abroad and they didn’t foresee the Dragons showing their true passion of greater personal wealth at the expense of poorer British people who just needed a job.
I guess you don’t get to be Dragon rich by caring about those below you!
Peter Jones had the wisest words, he said “I can see you will have a great Cottage industry, you have very clever and useful ideas, there just isn’t enough money in it for me” which is why we have carried on regardless making our products as affordable for everyone as we can whilst still keeping the manufacture in the UK.
We were lucky enough to secure some TV exposure on the Customer is Always Right, in 2020 where real people get to test products and give genuine feedback and over the years we have many fans including Barking bags that have had their time in front of the Dragons recently. However, most importantly for us, we still make all our bags here in Cornwall and as we sell more bags we employ more local people. We work with UK National Parks, NFU, The Wildlife Trust and many local councils and organisations trying to solve a big problem and get dog owners to accept the next level of responsibility and hopefully create a society who care about their planet and the environment rather than make excuses that antisocial behaviour isn’t their fault.
Barking Bags, BBC, cornwall, crufts, Customer is Always Right, Deborah Meaden, Dragons, dragons den, Duncan Banatyne, Kelly Hoppen, local councils, NFU, Peter Jones, The Wildlife Trust, UK manufacture, UK National parks