Kelly Hoppen gives thumbs down to Orthodox Jewish couple on Dragon's Den


Strictly Orthodox couple Rachel and Alta Fogel were taking stock this week after their "intimidating" experience on BBC’s Dragons Den last Sunday.

The couple had hoped to impress the panel of entrepreneurs with their Bizzy Bitz toy company and offered a 10 per cent stake in exchange for a £80,000 investment.

But the verdict of the five Dragons were "we're out" as they declined to take up the opportunity.

"I definitely felt intimidated – like I was being treated like a schoolgirl," said Mrs Fogel. "You do get confused in the Den just because you’re under pressure.

"I’m not necessarily disappointed that the Dragons didn’t invest. We don’t want someone who will boss us around – we want someone with the right connections in toy stores, who could put our product on the shelves."

But the couple are optimistic and have since lined up meetings with retailers and supplies.

Mrs Fogel added: "The product is good – I can guarantee that. Hopefully we’ll go large."

The Stamford Hill couple, who have 12 children, came up with their educational ball-and-socket toy concept in 2010.

Mrs Fogel, a former teacher, said: "I have a good understanding of child development, but Alta is the inventor, he’s the creative one."

Inventor Mr Fogel said: "Unlike Lego, there is no limit on the amount of shapes you can create from this — but this argument was never shown on the programme. The toy construction market needs diversity and I spotted this gap in the market. "

The programme marked the debut as a Dragon of Jewish interior designer Kelly Hoppen.

Reflecting on her new role, Ms Hoppen, who started her business at her age of 16, said: "I’ve always been passionate about championing entrepreneurs and the opportunity to be part of someone’s innovative new business idea really excites me.

"I love talking to entrepreneurs, but if I don’t see something I like, I won’t invest in it. Being a businesswoman involves giving some tough love sometimes."

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