Marisa and Teddie pitching on Dragons Den

PerfectTed Dragons Den

Now that Dragons’ Den is back we thought it high time to answer all your questions and give you behind-the-scenes access to the day Marisa and Teddie pitched our matcha and energy drinks on Dragons' Den.


How to Apply for Dragons’ Den

TL: You can either apply through the BBC's website, or they have casting directors that reach out to brands that they might find through Kickstarter or via social media.

TL: We were actually approached by the casting team the year before we went on but declined because honestly, we just weren’t ready.  The next year we were approached again and felt ready. Following this, we then had to submit a video pitch and if you progress to the next stage the BBC does diligence on your company before selecting who gets a slot, not everyone who pitches actually gets aired.


How does Dragons’ Den Work?

 TL: We were notified that we’d be going on the show just 5 days before filming so we spent that time writing and practising our pitch. The biggest key to us being able to pitch with confidence was knowing our business and our numbers REALLY well. When you have a great understanding of what you’re talking about, confidence comes much easier!


What is the Day Like?

 TL: I actually had glandular fever and thought I would have to pull out!

 The day before filming we travelled to Manchester, where Dragons’ Den is filmed, and stayed in a hotel. I was up at 5am preparing as we had to be at the studio at 7 because we were the first pitch to be filmed (they film maybe 5-7 a day). We got a taxi at 6:30am and went to our dressing room to prep and go over the pitch and have some food. 

 At the start of filming day were pre-show interviews, where you get asked questions like: which dragon do you want, why we started the business etc. After this we got access to the studio to set up our table props. We actually had a bit of a dispute with the producers; it was agreed the Dragons would drink out of our cans, but on the day they said it wasn’t possible. Then I was a diva. I told them it absolutely had to be drank directly from the can, and managed to get my way. We wanted every opportunity to have our branding front and centre (Dragon's Den is a major marketing opportunity).  We then got to practice coming out of the elevator and beginning our pitch where you practice in front of producers and cast members (there are about 20-30).

 Then we got take back to the dressing room and prepped our numbers and the pitch. 

 As were standing in the lift I heard Steven say “ooo matcha”, then we came out and the first thing I saw was Sarah Davies smile.

 We were given a time frame for the pitch of 3 minutes. After that questions can take 20 mins – 2 hours. We were in there for about an hour and a half.


Were There Any Hard Questions?

TL: There was one, but it didn’t make it into the show. Peter said that there were a few occasions in the den where he struggled to find an issue with a business, and this was one of those times. He then asked what was the "issue" that he was unable to see in this business. I answered honestly that there was one thing – cash flow, it was the biggest risk to our business.

Peter’s response was “Wow we can’t even ask the hard questions!”


What are the Dragons’ Den Cast Like?


TL: Way calmer than we thought they would be!


Were There any Unexpected Challenges in the Den?


TL: How far apart the Dragons sit (the seats are very spread out). If you’re facing Peter you pretty much have your back to Touker. So, we had to adapt on the spot and keep everyone engaged.


Also, as we were the first pitch of the day, we were concerned that having the Dragons taste-test an energy drink at 7am may negatively impact their level of business conviction... who wants an energy drink at 7am? But they all enjoyed it!


Is Dragons’ Den Scripted?

 TL: No, they decide which dragon asks the first question, but that is it.  The Dragons know nothing ahead of time about you or the buisness. 


How did you Prepare for The Den?


TL: We took a lot inspiration from Shark Tank (the American version of Dragons’ Den), especially Scrub Daddy! We really liked the energy of the pitches on Shark Tank.



What are Your Dragons Dens’ Best Pitches?


TL: I have seen pretty much every episode of every season (there are currently 20). Before we wrote our pitch, we spent a ton of time looking back over the best and worst ones, to learn what things were a hit, and what we should avoid.


One of my favourite pitches was SuperU (now Rheal). Charlotte and Sean had a great story and their personal motivation and passion for the brand is something that we really identified with because of Marisa’s story.


MP: Luxe Collective who appeared recently were great. They negotiated well and clearly knew their worth.


What are the Most Successful Dragons Den Products?

Levi: This is the first pitch that comes to mind, maybe because we share the same first name. I remember it being musical, fun and original, and we tried to retain that lightness in our own pitch. I am also impressed with a) the staying power of the product (I bought his sauce last week) and b) how iconic Levi Roots is; he is one of the most memorable founder-focused brands.

Levi Roots Reggae Reggae sauce pitch was not the best pitch in terms of his financial knowledge and comments on his pitch included there being “no business” in his sauce, and that there was “very little hope” of getting into the UK’s biggest supermarkets. Yet not Levi Roots is worth an estimated £30m and his products are stocked in Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, and Asda to name a few.


Is the Lift in Dragons’ Den Real?

 No! The “lift” is on the same floor as the pitch room. You enter through one side and exit through the other.


Dragons’ Den – Top Tips for Pitching


TL: Here are my top three tips:

  1. Prepare thoroughly for the questions that you can expect to receive and put in the work to understand what things they will be digging into.
  2. Related to the questions/curveballs you couldn’t have - a lot of people commented that we looked relaxed up there, even when we were thrown tough questions. That comes down to knowing your business inside and out. When I feel like I have all the relevant info at my fingertips, I feel best equipped to adapt to anything and am just more confident generally.
  3.  Related to the most underrated quality in pitching – whether it’s to investors or in a job interview - energy, passion enthusiasm, and fire are all qualities that get others excited and bought into what you’re doing. The Dragons are investing in people, especially since many businesses on the show are still early-stage companies, so don’t sleep on the soft skills!


    What’s it like to work with Steven Bartlett?

     Steven has been an incredible mentor and become part of the family since going on the show. We work super closely with him and his incredible team. It’s pretty amazing to work alongside someone you look up to as an inspiration.


    How Many Dragons' Den Deals go Through and What Happens After Appearing on Dragons' Den?

    TL: After filming nothing changes. If you leave the den with a deal, the Dragons come to your dressing room afterwards to congratulate you, and then after filming the whole season, the Dragons' team reaches out to you for more diligence.

    A lot of the deals actually don’t go through because either the brand or Dragon pulls out.

    We ended up signing our deal with Steven the day the episode aired (9 months after filming). And although we made a deal with Peter Jones during our pitch, we didn’t end up going with him. Peter has incredible success and is an expert when it comes to scaling in retail. However, retail distribution wasn’t something we needed support with as much as the brand piece that we wanted to work with Steven closely on.

    We filmed in June of 2022 and the episode aired in March of 2023. We had no idea what our segment would look like. Our pitch in the Den lasted for an hour and a half including questions, but that was condensed into several minutes for the show. Small businesses have to buy stock in anticipation of their episode airing, which is a huge commitment when you have no idea what the uplift in sales will be. We anticipated about a thousand additional orders, safe to say it ended up being a lot more than that!


    Do you think being confident in your negotiation skills helped you to keep your composure?


    TL: Confidence is paramount, and being a good negotiator is the ultimate test of self-assuredness.


    Is Dragons’ Den as Much a Risk as an Opportunity for a Business?


    TL: It was the biggest risk that we took second only to starting the business. That’s why we declined going on the show when asked to one year prior. It could have killed the business at that stage if all of the Dragons said they hated the drinks on national television. We felt a huge amount of pressure, to the point where Marisa felt it was too stressful and might have to pull out. Everything came together in the pitch though; we got all five offers and loved the experience. We would recommend it to anyone.


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