Posted by Greg Jacobs on 18/02/2014
For all those who appear on the hit BBC’s television show Dragon’s Den,, most will leave empty handed with the words of multi-millionaire Duncan bannatyne ringing in their ears: “I’ll tell you where I am… I’m Out”
But Blindsinabox – a company that sells temporary window coverings – managed to walk away having secured investment from not only Bannatyne but also from fellow dragon James Cann.
Launched in 2007, the idea for the product came to Blindsinabox director Simeone Salik in 2005. Having moved into a new house she ordered new curtains from her now fellow director, interior designer Janice Dalton. But Salik and her husband were looking for some privacy while they waited for the curtains to be made.
Scouring the high street, Salik found there was nothing appropriate to fulfil her temporary needs, and went about fashioning her own makeshift blinds. Seeing the potential of the idea, interior designer Dalton and Salik joined forces and investigated ways that they could be produced.
After an initial attempt, which proved unsuccessful, the pair was introduced to toiletries importer Dominic Lawrence as a potential supplier for the business. However on meeting Lawrence, Salik and Dalton like him so much, they asked if he would like to become a partner of the business, he accepted.
The product itself uses a peel-off adhesive strip that can then be attached to a window or frame (but not to any water-based paint surface or emulsion) Additionally, if you keep the strip you can reuse the blinds again and again.
The company began trading over the internet on 3 December 2007, however it as not until June 2008 that the company were approached by the BBC to appear on the show.
“We had spoken with the BBC and they wanted us to apply as they thought it was a good product,” said Salik. “However, initially we weren’t sure, as we were quite happy with they way things were going. Although we were later persuaded…”
Appearing on the show in September 2008, Blindinabox received an investment of £40,000 from Bannatyne and Cann.
Speaking about her dragons’ Den experience, Salik said: “Nobody can be confident going in as they are tough people to talk to. Our pitch was 1hour and 15 minutes long, but it was edited down to just eight minutes. We’d done our research and were prepared. We were also very enthusiastic about our product, and we had already received terrific feedback.
“I spoke to someone the other day who had them in his kitchen, and he said what was nice about them was they looked aesthetically pleasing as well as being practical.
“We were in the Green Room with six other people who were pitching. I later learned that no one else got an investment. We were very excited and pleased that we didn’t come off looking stupid. We looked quite confident and the other thing of course, was that the dragons liked it – especially Duncan and James. It felt good to have gone in and come out with what we wanted in the beginning.”