Entrepreneur who turned down Dragons' two 'disappointing’ offers secures huge funding
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A businessman refused an offer on Dragons' Den last night, the second time he's given them the cold shoulder after turning down an investment on the show in 2015 too.
You can watch the nail-biting negotiations unfold below:
Few people come face-to-face with the Dragons more than once but Cally Russell, a businessman from Edinburgh, is now one of them.
He pitched his clothing business during Thursday’s (16 February) episode but once again walked away without securing a deal.
This wasn’t the first time the 35-year-old entrepreneur left empty handed, but he has since managed to secure funding and stands by his decision.
Russell first appeared in front of the Dragons in 2015 with an idea for a fashion app called Mallzee. The app used data to help retailers made better decisions about which clothes to purchase.
Peter Jones made an offer, which Russell turned down because he wanted too much of a stake in the business.
After a successful start, Russell closed the app down in 2021 after it was badly affected by the Covid pandemic, when retailers stopped buying stock.
His new business idea, This is Unfolded, claims to manufacture clothes without the waste that is normally generated by larger brands. Russell said 30 percent of clothes that are made aren’t sold, which amounts to 26 billion unsold garments every year.
That's a lot of dresses gone to waste.
Russell’s business only starts making the clothes once the app’s social media followers – about 3,000 women – vote on their favourite designs.
The businessman asked for £75,000 in exchange for two percent of his company. After Steven Bartlett failed to make him an offer, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Touker Suleyman offered all of the £75,000.
But what turned Russell off was the stake each Dragon requested as part of their proposed deals.
Russell immediately turned down Suleyman's offer, who requested 30 percent of the business. Meanwhile, Meaden wanted 12 percent and Jones asked for 15 percent.
The businessman tried to negotiate Jones down from 15 percent to just four percent, which made the long-standing Dragon ask if he was joking. Both remaining Dragons declined and Russell left the Den.
What a huge gamble.
Speaking to the BBC after the episode was filmed in July, he revealed that at the time of filming he had £600,000 in investment for his company and he has since secured another £600,000.
"I really didn't want to say no to them and I am very sad about it but I just couldn't structure a deal with them that worked for everyone," he reflected.
So, it sounds like everything has turned out pretty well for Russell.