‘I got more offers than anyone ever on Dragons’ Den – but five years ago I couldn’t even get out of bed’

When Giselle Boxer went on ‘Dragons’ Den’, she had no idea that she would walk out as its most successful candidate ever - and one of its most controversial. Here, she explains how she she found success after childhood trauma and suffering from ME and how she is dealing with the backlash from those who are accusing her of profiteering from a chronic condition

Sunday 28 January 2024 20:15 GMT
Giselle Boxer’s life was on a very different trajectory until her appearance on ‘Dragons’ Den;
Giselle Boxer’s life was on a very different trajectory until her appearance on ‘Dragons’ Den; (BBC)

It’s 10am on a Monday when my alarm sounds, and I’m dreading having to get up out of bed. Slowly, I peel back the covers and place my feet on the floor, steeling myself for what comes next. I set a timer – two minutes – stand up and begin to walk, in little steps, in my childhood bedroom. When the timer ends, I’m beyond relieved and climb back into bed, exhausted.

My life at 26 was not what I had imagined. Every day I would set this timer – two minutes, three minutes the next day, then four – to do the only exercise I could. It was a tricky balance: doing just enough felt like an achievement and gave me the confidence to do more. But doing slightly too much, even just five minutes, could mean that I was subsequently stuck in bed for three days or more. Months before, I’d been diagnosed with ME, and I’d been told by a chronic fatigue doctor that I would never recover from it – and never have children.

If you had told me that, five years later, at 31, I would find myself walking into the Dragons’ Den, pitching my business to a room of intimidatingly successful entrepreneurs, I would never have believed you. But last summer, I did exactly that – and became the first person in the programme’s history to have an offer from all six “dragons” for my business, Acu Seeds, which sells acupuncture ear seeds that actually look good. When the episode aired last Thursday, I sold more than double my sales for two years in just one night.

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