Dragon Den: Bobo Buddies businessman James Roupell on why he rejected his offer

Mr Roupell said the dragons were "very persuasive" but he regretted the decision as soon as he left the studio

Being backed by every entreprenuer in the Dragon’s Den is an achievement that inventors and business owners dream of.

But Bobo Buddies founder James Roupell, who appears on Monday's episode of the BBC programme, accepted a joint offer of £50,000 in exchange for a 40 per cent stake in his business from Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, only to give it up when he left the studio, the Telegraph has reported.

“Standing there, surrounded by film crew and cameras, with all eyes on you, is so surreal,” he told the newspaper. “You’re under so much pressure to make a decision. I was trying to think rationally. It was only once I’d left that I thought, ‘What have I done?’”

“They were very persuasive,” he added. “I hadn’t planned to give away nearly that much of my company.”

Mr Roupell found himself in the Den after he started a business making a backpack for children that can be used as a toy, pillow, and blanket.

He thought of the idea when he was on an aeroplane in June 2012.

  The dragons pose in their den. (L-R) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Piers Linney The dragons pose in their den. (L-R) Kelly Hoppen, Duncan Bannatyne, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Piers Linney
“I was surrounded by kids and there were soft toys and blankets strewn everywhere,” he told the newspaper.

“When I was small, my granny had sewn a blanket into my favourite toy and I suddenly thought, why don’t I start making these all-in-one toys.

Within six months, his business dream was a reality and he had sold his first batch of 4,000 units at Christmas fairs and trade shows, before securing a deal with Debenhams.

Unable to secure the £50,000 from the banks he needed to accept the deal because his business was a new start-up, he turned to the BBC programme.

“It was so frustrating,” he said. “The money would have been back in my account just a few weeks later.”

“They [the dragons] wanted 40 per cent of the business for what was essentially a short-term fix,” he said.

When he left the studio he called mentors he has from the retail industry, who told him they would help him in a way that he would not lose equity.

Mr Roupell said that since he told the dragons that he wanted to reject their offer they wished him luck and have been in touch to see how the business is doing.

Since the programme was filmed a year ago, he has sold over 20,000 products at UK stores including Debenhams, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album