Shaun Pulfrey, the Grimsby-born hairdresser and inventor, introduced his revolutionary new hairbrush -the Tangle Teezer - to the business moguls of Dragons’ Den back in 2007. At that time he was asking for an £80,000 investment for a 15% share of his company. Importantly, he had a serious business plan as he had raised £98,000 from his savings and had remortgaged his flat. Suffice to say-the dragons were unimpressed. Deborah Meaden compared it to a ‘horse brush’, Peter Jones called it ‘hair brained’ and Duncan Bannantyne said it made him want to pull his hair out! Little did they know that the stress reducing hairbrush was soon to be endorsed by celebrities like Nicole Scherzinger and is now valued at £200 million. When the deal goes through, Shaun will be five times richer than Deborah Meaden herself.
The dragons have built their fortunes by investing in innovative inventions and then taking them to the global market. Shaun is the sole shareholder and he now exports 13 brushes a minute to 60 countries around the world. Tangle Teezer is set to be one of the most successful failures in Dragon Den history.
So what can entrepreneurs learn from this success story? You must know that you will receive multiple rejections and broken promises along the way. But you have to keep going. By turning every negative into a positive, not being knocked down by the countless setbacks you will encounter and by always looking for the next opportunity, you will greatly increase your chance of success. The trick is to never stop believing. If you surround yourself with positive role models who can inspire you to believe in yourself and your product you are more likely to find the persistence you need to win.
After being unceremoniously laughed out of The Den back in 2007, ex-hair colourist Shaun Pulfrey emerged even more determined to make his mane-taming hairbrush a success. Undeterred, the Tangle Teezer went on to become a global phenomenon. Stars such as Emma Watson and Victoria Beckham have come out as fans of the brush, and Pulfrey has travelled the world becoming a celebrity colourist along the way. He still credits his appearance on the BBC show with helping his success to some extent, telling the Grimsby Telegraph: "I came out that day knowing more about my business than when I went in. The secret was to not look at them as the last hope. No investment didn't mean I didn't have a product. There wasn't even a determination to show them they were wrong, it was just a determination to succeed.