Dragons' Den: Time to pitch your big idea
For the second successive year, the JC and the London Jewish Cultural Centre invited aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for a special Dragons’ Den-style event. This week and next, Candice Krieger profiles the finalists chosen to face the Dragons.
Strap Ice — an adjustable ice pack pouch to ease muscle injuries
As the saying goes: if you want something doing, do it yourself. And that is exactly what 19 year-old university student Daniel Tannenbaum was thinking when he established Strap Ice — a money belt-cum-ice pack designed to ease injuries. He is now seeking investment to help register and market it.
Mr Tannenbaum, a keen sportsman, was suffering with a back injury when he became frustrated by the lack of available products.
He says: “The only ice packs around were ones that you have to keep holding on to the painful area, which is a massive inconvenience. I was constantly using a bag of frozen peas and piece of string. I thought there must be a way to save people this hassle.”
His creation: an adjustable pouch that stores ice packs, which can be attached to any part of the body and worn underneath clothes to be used as ice therapy on injured muscle or tissue. It comes in two forms: reusable and disposable. “With the reusable ones, the ice pack loses its freeze time after around 20 minutes — the recommended amount of time for icing an injury. It can be put back in the fridge for 20 minutes to re-freeze before being used again.”
The second model is a disposable Strap Ice, suitable for travelling. The ice pack is released from the pouch and once pressure is applied to the centre, it becomes cold for 20 minutes.
A first year student reading business management with Spanish and French at Nottingham University, he developed the idea as part of his course. “I was doing an entrepreneurship module and pitched the idea to the examiners. They encouraged me to take it further, so the JC Dragons’ Den seems like the perfect start.”
According to Mr Tannenbaum, an ex-pupil at Immanuel College, Herts, there is a similar product in the US but bulkier and more expensive. Strap Ice costs him around £15 to make. He hopes to sell it for £19.99 targeting the sports, healthcare and outdoor activities sectors. But first, he would like a £50,000 investment for a 25 per cent stake in the business: £30,000 to register the design and £20,000 to modify it. “I would benefit hugely from managerial expertise and guidance from the ‘Dragons’ and assistance in developing relationships with manufacturers.”
Marilyn and Belinda Glyn
Frameology — specialist art design service
Art enthusiasts Marilyn and Belinda Glyn have used their knowledge of the art world to create an interior design service with a unique focus.
The mother and daughter team set up their self-funded company, Frameology, 12 years ago. Its main purpose has been to exhibit and sell art canvases called oleographs — prints of old masters bonded onto a canvas and then crackled to make them appear aged.
But the Glyns are keen to develop the company’s art and interior design service.
Belinda, a 42 year-old divorced single mum, and Marilyn, a 65 year-old professional artist, are offering a reframing service for people’s existing art work or new pieces for those who want to redesign their homes. Belinda says: “I would go into friends’ houses and people would ask me what art would look good in their home. I realised there was a niche in the market for an interior design service, specifically for art. We want to get exposure for this side of the business.”
She explains: “Many people are limited in their knowledge about art and need guidance on framing. The benefit of going to someone’s home is that we can see the décor of their home and help people decide what will look best.”
There would be no initial consultation charge. If the client decides not to go forward they would be charged £40.
The women estimate needing £20,000 to £30,000 a year to develop the service or a one-off lump sum to hire a PR agency.
The women ran art stalls in Covent Garden for several years before launching Frameology. Belinda needed a way of supporting her daughter while Marilyn did it for love.
Belinda’s father Michael, an accountant, does the company’s accounts for free. Today, the business, which sells around 100 to 150 pieces a month — ranging from £25 to £250 — is at a profit stage. Marilyn says: “It is great to continue the love of my life with my daughter. I always wanted to go into art but my father forbade it. He said hairdressing was abetter job for a Jewish girl.
Sew and Go
Hoping to profit from the nation’s increasingly hectic lifestyles, Steven Kanter has come up with a clothes repair and alterations company for people who cannot or do not have the time to do it themselves. His established business, Sew and Go, provides services offered by a traditional alterations tailor, with the addition of an express same-day pick-up option. It markets itself as a reliable, fast and affordable service. Co-founded in 2006 with business partner Richard Tweg, there are seven Sew shops across north and central London. But Mr Kanter, 64, is seeking investment to help drive a national expansion. He believes it can become the leading UK brand in the alterations market.
He says: “People are living at a faster pace than previously and don’t have the time or expertise to repair or alter their own clothes. ” Mr Kanter, who has a background in wholesale retail, and his business partner have invested £300,000 in the company. They expect to break even this year. “I am not knocking dry cleaners as there is a market for them but they don’t do 85 per cent of the alterations we do.” Sew have completed more than 50,000 alterations to date. Mr Kanter plans to branch out into the West End and the City, targeting professionals, and open franchises in shopping centres. “It would be great to have a backer, depending on what they might want in return. This business has huge potential.”
The Judges who will choose a winner:
- Simon Bentley Former chairman & chief executive of Blacks Leisure Group plc l Patsy Bloom Founder of Pet Plan
- Bernie Myers Former managing director of N M Rothschild Sons Ltd
- Marc Worth Founder of WGSN
- Bernard Howard Founder of totallylegal.com and totallyfinancial.com
- Candice Krieger Business editor of the JC
The finalists will present their business ideas on June 29 at 8pm at the London Jewish Cultural Centre. Tickets and info from 020 8457 5000 or www.ljcc.org.uk