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Surviving Dragons Den!

Thought Leader

Surviving Dragons Den!

I’m the co-founder a business called Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard, and if you were watching TV last night you might have heard of us.


It was thrilling to have had the chance to appear on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den. But it was probably the most nerve racking thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was a long walk from the BBC studio green room to the Den, and as we began to start our three-minute pitch my legs felt like jelly. But once our presentation was over and the five Dragons began their interrogation of our business plan, I forgot the cameras. I was too focused to be nervous.


A lot of the discussion was cut, there was plenty of controversial comments made by the dragons (it's no surprise that they were cut really).

Despite the knockbacks, it wasn’t all serious, and there were some really funny moments in the Den. Peter Jones was so desperate to try out the product that he applied the Glitter Lips we had given him there and then.


Pitching Glitter Lips to a BBC Two audience of millions – and five multi-millionaires – is something I never dreamt would be possible when Paula Short and I created the product three years ago. We were working together at the hair and beauty salon I own in Lincoln and got chatting about the new fashion for lip decoration, showcased by everyone from Jessie J to Dior. We started a journey to create a product that was not just show stopping, but would actually stay put during a night out.


We launched what would become Glitter Lips at our salon in Lincoln, and people were queuing up to buy it. We had no box or company name, but within months we were attending “Meet the Buyer” days at Liberty, and getting advice from make-up gurus like Ruby & Millie founder Millie Kendall. It wasn’t long before Glitter Lips was on sale in Topshop’s flagship branch on Oxford Street – and we sold out in our first weekend.


A big turning point came when we joined Virgin Media Pioneers, the broadband company’s online community for entrepreneurs. This gave us access to invaluable advice from other start-up founders, and Virgin Media were able to unlock doors for us. We were invited to sell Glitter Lips to festival goers at V Fest, where we made up celebrities like Pixie Lott, Alexandra Burke – and Keith Lemon. This next year we met with a Superdrug buyer, who agreed to start stocking the product in stores across the country and online.


Glitter Lips is now being sold at stores over the world – from New York to Australia. And with Thomson Airlines now stocking the product on all their flights, the sky really is the limit.


All five dragons decided that our company and its products weren't for them, but we received some very positive feedback!


Thank you to all who watched us on Dragons Den last night!

And also to those of you who send us good luck wishes and support during our pitch.


We hope we haven’t disappointed anyone – we are actually very pleased with the outcome.

Possibly the best thing that could have happened!


The best bit about us not securing investment is we still own 100% of our business!


We used the whole Dragons Den experience as a marketing exercise – we knew either way, we would get something good from it.


We may not have a dragon on board, but we have a new found respect for our business and what we have achieved in such a short space of time!

We also have complete control of what happens next.


We’d love for you to share this journey with us, we will keep you updated on where we are going and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Advice for anyone thinking of entering the Dragons Den, yes it is nerve racking, but you have no idea where it will lead!


Look at the Dragons Den “Rejects” that have gone before us, Tangle Teezer, Trunki, Approved Foods, the dragons didn’t invest, and look at the success they have achieved off the back of appearing on the show!

Just goes to show, those 5 Dragons are just people (very wealthy ones though).  But they are human and have the capacity to be wrong….

Thought Leader

A huge congratulations on the pitch. Sometimes a business just is not to their personal choice. I hope your business continues going from strength to strength!