Dragons’ Den: Show’s ‘most successful’ business selling worldwide with £2.2m turnover

Dragons' Den: Contestants Kate and Louise pitch Skinny Tan

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Their product went on to become one of the “most successful” businesses to come from the show, selling worldwide, and being a popular brand in its industry. Entrepreneurs Louise Ferguson and Kate Cotton entered the Den in 2013 seeking a £60,000 investment for a 10 percent stake in the beauty product Skinny Tan.

Skinny Tan is a self tanning product that claims to naturally reduce the appearance of cellulite, as well as making people look tanned.

After launching in Australia in 2012, the pair already saw profits of £600,000 which proved music to the Dragons’ ears as they all showed interest in the product.

Based overseas, the pair wanted investment to to grow their business within the UK and build their brand.

Dragons’ Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney invested in Skinny Tan.

Kate and Louise received £60,000 for 10 percent of the company.

Tapping into this market resulted in a fortune of over £5million for two innovative women who started Skinny Tan.

After securing Hoppen and Linney’s investment, the company secured a deal with Boots and expanded to Spain, Canada, South Africa and Dubai.

The brand grew very quickly, reportedly showing revenue of £1million in 2014 according to startup.co.uk.

In June 2015, the business announced it had been acquired for an undisclosed sum by global beauty giant InnovaDerma for an 80 percent stake of the company.

The acquisition amount wasn’t shared by InnovaDerm however the founders are still involved and the Dragons’ remained shareholders.

Skinny Tan products are stocked in many countries on five different continents.

In 2017 Louise told The Sun: “Kate and I invested around £44,000 from our own savings and credit cards into starting up the business, getting a website designed and paying for marketing.

“In 2012, we struck a deal worth £150,000 with the Australian equivalent of Boots.

“To celebrate, we had a bottle of fizz with our husbands that night before doing bath and bedtime with our children!

“In no time at all Skinny Tan began flying off the shelves, and a year later we launched online in the UK after appearing on Dragons’ Den.

“We have 25 employees working across three continents and our turnover is several million pounds a year. But I don’t live a millionaire’s lifestyle.”

The Telegraph and Argus labelled the product one of “the most successful businesses” from the show as it can still be brought in stores worldwide and online from Superdrug, Boots, and Feel Unique.

It has since made an annual turnover of £2.2million.

With Dragons’ Den coming to close for another season earlier this year, it’s interesting to look back to past seasons to see which products have gained the most success.

Despite Skinny Tan being pitched 10 years ago, it still remains one of Dragons’ Dens biggest success.

Dragons’ Den is available on BBC iPlayer.

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