We pitched on Dragons' Den! It was fantastic, exhilarating and a lot of fun. It’ll air at 9pm on Wednesday 28th December 2016, BBC2.
Writing this blog before its airing means we can’t say what happens (Quiet Rebellion doesn’t break all the rules!) and more problematically we haven’t seen the final – or in fact any – edit! We filmed for 2 hours straight and have no idea how the 10 minute TV edit will come off!
The Application. We successfully pitched on Dave TV last year and Alex thought it was a no-brainer to apply to Dragons' Den to replicate the PR success. Ini vetoed the idea straight away. So, Alex applied anyway...
Within a week of applying, Alex had an impromptu telephone interview, he was forced to come clean to Ini about applying, and we both cobbled together a pitch to audition in front of the production team in BBC HQ in White City, London.
Behind the scenes. Finally, we were invited to pitch in front of the Dragons in Manchester. It was a very early and chaotic start – the 6am taxi didn’t show up; we went to the wrong BBC studios (there are two in Manchester!); and we turned up 2 hours late and soaking wet.
The next 8 hours, however, were spent cooped up in a holding-pen, unsure as to when we’d pitch. Eventually, at 5pm, we were given 15 minutes warning to get "camera ready": slapped on some make-up and the producer (to Ini’s delight) insisted on a last-minute iron to Alex’s scruffy shirt.
Filming. So, the lift is fake! But other than that, the whole experience was very real. We didn't do any second-takes; the Dragons had no idea who we were; they didn't even know what we were pitching before we entered the Den. As soon as we walked through those fake-lift doors the cameras started rolling and didn’t stop until we’d finished our grilling 2 hours later.
We pitched for 3 minutes or so and all went to plan - we were pretty pleased with it. Alex even caught Ini when he jumped into his arms at the end (a stunt the producers encouraged us to do before we entered the Den).
Then Peter Jones opened the questioning with some left-field curve-balls to try and rumble us: Ini is a weird name isn't? How much money is in your bank account? Why aren't you wearing cufflinks? But we soon steered the conversation to our favourite topic: socks.
The Dragons quickly began to bicker amongst themselves over the oxymoronic concept of quiet rebellion. Deborah Meaden and Nick Jenkins were staunch defenders; Sarah Willingham admitted she didn’t get the point; while Touker Suleyman and Peter were more preoccupied with boasting about their businesses than discussing ours.
Astute and pointed questions soon followed in rapid succession. Some we had simple answers to; others identified key risks to the business. With seven oversized egos (yes, us included too) all jostling to speak it was a very energetic but disorderly debate. Finally, we returned to our fake lift, had a quick post-match interview and left exhausted for a well-earned drink and debrief!
What happened next. 9 months since pitching and Quiet Rebellion has rocketed. We've sold 10s of 1000s of pairs of socks; smashed through the ambitious growth projections we pitched; completed our first investment round; and diversified from socks into men's weekend travel bags.
All we have left to do in 2016 is hope for a favourable TV edit and watch the show! And, to bring good karma, we're offering 10% off all products with the discount code "Dragons10". Valid until 2nd January.
Oh, and we got a selfie backstage: