One entrepreneur, living with autism and other disabilities, seized the chance to impress the Dragons together with his clothing company. Ben Pearson founded Big Clothing 4 U back in 2015, after struggling to seek out clothes on the high street in his size.
The mogul said he had previously hung out in care, young offenders’ institutes, and homeless, but turned his life around to beat these barriers.
The business was began from his bedroom, where Mr Pearson sold clothes on eBay and Amazon, but he was keen for investment to take the corporate global and get to the following stage of its development.
As such, he pitched for £150,000 for a ten percent stake in his business.
Immediately, Mr Pearson caught the attention of Touker Suleyman, an entrepreneur with 40 years of retail and manufacturing experience.
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Mr Suleyman said: “I’m very impressed. However the funny thing is, it is a market which has been ignored.”
When asked in regards to the price of considered one of his shirts, Mr Pearson explained they were being sold for £29.99, while only costing him £6.80. The business also sells suits for around £150.
Mr Suleyman added: “Wow. That’s great value. No wonder you’re cleansing up over here on that turnover! To me, there’s an enormous opening here.”
Peter Jones was keen to crunch the numbers with Mr Pearson, asking him how the business had been funded.
He explained he had been left a trust fund by his grandfather to the worth of lots of of hundreds of kilos, which was released in his teens.
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Mr Pearson claimed he had turned over £2.9million last yr, with a 69 percent gross profit, and net of £200,000, with the potential to make £3.5million in 2022.
Nonetheless, he felt “stuck” as he was not in a position to sell internationally, and was determined to grow the business.
Mr Jones responded: “This could possibly be quite interesting, as I occur to own considered one of the world’s leading e-commerce software corporations that takes brands to global markets.”
Latest Dragon Steve Bartlett was immediately impressed, stating he was “really inspired” by Mr Pearson’s journey from a young offenders’ institute to a successful business owner.
He added: “You’re probably the greatest pitches I’ve seen since I’ve been within the Den. How has your life shifted in such an astounding way?”
Mr Pearson explained he had hit all-time low because of falling out of the care system and into homelessness, but was determined to choose himself up again.
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He now has the support of Katie Price’s son Harvey Price, who’s a brand ambassador.
Sara Davies was keen to know more in regards to the numbers, however it was here where Mr Pearson encountered a stumbling block.
After Ms Davies and Mr Jones questioned the business owner, they found his numbers didn’t quite add up – especially as Mr Pearson was not taking a salary from the business
Mr Jones responded: “Whenever you are available in and say you may have £2.3million of stock, you think that ‘Wow, this guy has some serious amounts of money behind him!’.
“But once you deduct the truth of life, you’ve put such a considerable amount of capital in and also you’re not taking any salary. Any money you do take out, you’re taking and reducing your director’s loan.”
At this point, each Mr Jones and Ms Davies said they were “out”, as they believed the business was not as financially strong as that they had hoped.
Deborah Meaden was also impressed, however it wasn’t enough, as she added: “You’re sensible. It’s an actual pleasure to talk to someone where you may ask an issue, they answer it, and you think it. I can work with that any day of the week. I’ve been battling with the balance sheet. That side of me has won, so I’m out.”
Steven Bartlett subsequently withdrew himself as he believed he was not passionate enough in regards to the industry.
The ultimate Dragon left was Mr Suleyman, who Mr Pearson had been most keen to impress.
The style boss said: “I’m sitting on that fence. I felt deflated by the balance sheet, and it’s not in the identical healthy state you made it to be. I’m going to make you a suggestion. All the cash – £150,000 – but I would like £30,000.”
A delighted Mr Pearson accepted the offer, and was delighted with the outcome.
He said: “Having Touker on board goes to be a incredible addition to our business. It’s just what we’d like.
“If anyone else on the market has autism, what I might say isn’t quit and don’t let anybody stand in your way!”
Dragons’ Den returns Thursday at 8pm on BBC One.