Posted by The Newspaper of the Cypriot community in Britain on 18/02/2014
My very good friend, Janice, appeared in this week’s Dragon’s Den with her business venture ‘Blindsinabox’ and put her pitch to the ‘Dragons’. She text me an hour before it was due to be shown on television on Monday night just to remind me that she was on – how could I forget! Having interviewed Mr. Theo Paphitis and being a fan of the show I never miss it anyway.
So what was it like to be in front of the Dragons? Well Janice tells me that she pitched her business for an hour, but only 10 minutes is shown. That Peter Jones was not exactly in a very good mood that day; in fact she said to him at the end ‘You’ve been bad’ – he smiled at that point. That Theo was smiling all the time and was most pleasant, glad to hear it; we don’t want the Ambassador of our community to show us up! That she was interviewed after the pitch but that was edited out and that yes, it was nerve racking but exciting as well.
So what was offered in the end? She and her partners got £40k with a 40% stake in the business from James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne.
So what has happened since the two Dragons have become part of her company? Well in the last six weeks, she and her partners have had asses to financial advisers; in fact a whole team of back up including business advisers that advise on constructive selling, the aims of a company, the way the goods are packaged and marketed but most importantly they helped to open doors to major department stores – I am not allowed at the moment to say which department stores because the dotted line has not been signed.
Janice has James Caan’s mobile phone number and has met up with him 4 or 5 times in the last 6 weeks – she cannot praise him and Duncan enough. So it is very heartening to know that this is not ‘all made up’. That there is a real business partnership and that there is back up for these small businesses in a big way. I asked her if she had any regrets in handing over so much of her company and her reply was as I thought it would be from this level headed and intelligent woman: ‘It is better to have a small percentage of a very large company then a big percentage in a company that turns over little’.
My last question to her was did she hope to make lots of money out of this? ‘Yes, but it is not just the money that I’m happy with, it is the knowledge that you have succeeded’.
I’ve got to tell you that Janice and myself liked each other the moment we met and we have been good friends ever since and not many people are as proud of her as I am – I told her she could do it and she blooming well has. I used that friendship when my daughter moved into her new flat a couple of months ago and could not afford to buy either curtains or blinds for her home, so I got Janice to fit in the ‘Blinds In A Box’ and they look fabulous – they can last probably up to a year. You just cut them to size and stick them onto your windows; it is as easy as that, even for me who is useless at such things. So if you want to know more, visit Janice’s website www.blindsinabox.co.uk
I don’t get commission, so don’t worry, I just think it’s a brilliant product and well done to James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne for seeing its potential.