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Behind the scenes of Dragons' Den

We had an exclusive interview with Co-founder of Let's Sanitise, Josh Cummins to get all the inside gossip from the Den. Continue reading to find out how quick the process was, insights to behind the scenes and advice for those aspiring to go on the show.

What was the process of getting onto the show? Did someone reach out or did you apply?

Rachel, our Creative Director was updating her Linkedin and found a message in her inbox from an Executive at the BBC who had seen our product online. The message was an invitation for a ‘chat’ about the upcoming series of Dragons Den (S19). At first, we thought that it was spam or a joke and after doing some research it became clear that the message was genuine.
We arranged a Zoom meeting with the producer and things moved at lightening speed! We responded to the message on Tuesday, had our initial ‘chat’ on Wednesday and was asked to create a pitch and display the demo to the producers on Friday! We had to write the entire pitch within a day – nothing like a little pressure!
Following our pitch to the producers we were informed that we were on hold for the next stage and were contacted within a few weeks to confirm our face to face audition!

What was the preparation like before filming?

Practice Practice Practice. We spent every available opportunity going though the pitch and tweaking as we went along. We watched every episode in the previous three seasons of Dragons Den to see what kind of questions had been asked so that we could revise and rehearse our answers.
We then asked colleagues and family to pretend to be Dragons and try to catch us out with answers.
We used every available opportunity to rehearse.

How did you plan your pitch?

In very little time at all. It was a challenge to get across all of the information we wanted to without the pitch dragging as there is a strict 2 minute, 30 second limit!

What were the highlights of the day? 

It was the moment when Peter Jones said ‘for that reason I’m going to make you an OFFER’!
After pitching in front of the Dragons for over 2 hours it was such a relief as we entered the lift at the end of the pitch! We then headed straight to the Ivy Asia for a well deserved beer! 

What was your experience with the dragons?

It was surreal seeing the Dragons in the flesh and leaving the lift to enter the den! We wanted to talk through our products and scents but they jumped straight in with questioning before we had the chance to.

Did anything surprise you about the day?

Shhhhhhh – The lift is not a real lift.

What happens backstage?

You arrive on the day and are welcomed in by the BBC team. Due to Covid, they were keeping minimal people onsite so it meant that Rachel, our Creative Director was unable to join us backstage. You are assigned a personal rep who keeps an eye on you and ushers you around the different areas of the building. They try their hardest to keep you away from other entrepreneurs – especially when they have just finished in the den! You are not scheduled to go into the den at a particular team as each pitch can vary duration from 20 minutes to 2 hours! The producers also try to select you to go in ‘when the mood feels right for your brand’.

What has happened since filming the show?

When the deal is done in the den, that is only the beginning of the process. Even though we had supplied lengthy due diligence to the BBC in advance, the Dragons and their legal teams require very stringent due diligence to be completed. They leave no stone unturned. This requires hours and hours of work and several meetings with their lawyers.
We have been working to expand the Let’s Sanitise range into a complete lifestyle hand care brand so have been working with our production team to create some amazing Hand Washes and Lotions. 
We have also been meeting with companies across the UK to discuss adding us to their listings.

Would you do anything differently if you had the time again? 

Overall I’m really happy with the process and everything the team did to make this happen.

What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to be on the show?

If you have a great business idea or business I would definitely suggest apply to appear on the show! I would advise any potential participant to practice practice practice and to know your numbers and your brand USP.

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