Hi Everyone! I will try to answer at least once per day and will be as upfront as I can possibly be. Obviously there is some stuff that I will have to hold back on but hopefully there won't be too much of that. For topics that are repetitive I will just reply to one person but it is in response to everyone with a similar question
Originally Posted by dobman88
Saw this episode of Dragons Den and went to the website to buy one. Just laughed when I saw it was 50 quid for the basic 2 pack one. Far too much to charge imo. It looks more like a 20 quid product
Are they selling as well as you expected and do you feel 50 is a fair price?
The elephant in the room- the price! Are we expensive- yes. Is it worth it- definitely. I would love you to stand with me at a trade show like the Ideal Home Show and listen to the amount of people that bought in October 2018 that said they thought it was pricey at the time but gave it a chance as it's Irish and now they can see that it is more then justified. You can see this in our reviews however.
Sales have massively surpassed expectations. This is year one of trading and we are already one of the best selling shower caddies in Ireland. Ireland is pretty small and everyone talks so whoever has a ShowerGem convinces other people that it is worth the price tag. Even in the UK we are pretty big at this stage.
We have had a small number of returns mainly due to people saying it doesn't suit their style of bathroom but never have had anyone return it due to price despite us offering a full money back guarantee where we even pay for return postage (we are now stopping this however as we are selling internationally so have to charge for postage back to us).
You can buy your metal baskets that use suction cups for between €25-40. You can buy your Decor Walther for over €100 and then you can buy your ShowerGem for about €50. We never ever came in to this business to be the cheapest but instead our aim was to be the best and I am very confident that we are up there at the top in terms of product functionality, user-friendliness and longevity despite charging much less than the high end shower organisers.
Some people feel that because it's plastic it should be cheap to purchase but why? We can make the exact same product out of an expensive glass which undoubtedly people would pay more for however it's a much lesser product as glass will break and shatter. Likewise, we could make it out of high end metals but no matter what, they will always end up becoming rusty. Plastic surpasses all of the characteristics of other materials yet for some reason people feel it should cost much less. We said we are not going to base our product on the perceived value of plastic but instead on how brilliantly it works and the vast majority of our reviews support that it is worth every cent paid. On top of all of the above, the glue is a huge part of what you are paying for. It is so expensive to source, design and test a glue to meet all of our requirements and then get it into small bespoke tubes. Genuinely it is an astronomical price. Finally it is so expensive to run a business. Between wages, P30's, tooling, insurance, vat, marketing, corp tax and everything in between, even at our current price you have to sell an awful lot of shower organisers to break even let alone make enough money to make it all worthwhile. People also don't realise that there was a period of 3 years of design and testing where I was on the dole for 9 months and then a sh*^e wage for over 2 years until we finally started to sell product. I definitely could have brought a lesser product to market quicker but we never rushed things to make sure we created one of the best organisers on the market, hence the price tag.
Originally Posted by ncmc
Really interesting AMA, thanks for doing it.
How long did the whole Dragons Den take? Was it all done in one take, or did you have to go through the whole pitch again if it wasn't right the first take? Did they genuinely just give you the money there and then or is there further due dilligence done? Is the procedure very intimidating? So often you see people fluff their presentation or forget figures so it must be very nerve wracking. Haven't seen your pitch so must try and find it on Youtube tonight.
The BBC picked me and 3 other entrepreneurs up at our hotel in Manchester at 6am in a black minibus. We arrived at the shooting location, a run down warehouse, where I was the second entrepreneur to pitch, and didn't leave the place till 2pm. Some entrepreneurs don't get out till 8 in the evening so it can be a long day sitting in the green room. My pitch lasted close to two hours. It's all done in one take so if you mess up, then too bad, nobody is going to step in and help you. In fact the producers would love that to happen as they genuinely do not care about you but instead only the entertainment value that you can bring to the show. What people don't realise is that to the left of the Dragons there are over 50 staff and 16 big television cameras. It's pretty crazy.
In terms of 'is the procedure intimidating', yes it certainly is. When you arrive at the warehouse the first thing you do is set up your stand outside the Den. This was at about 6.30am. Once mine was good to go, a possy of 30 people just arrived over, the head producer shook my hand and said pitch right now. I got through 40 seconds of my pitch and she said stop, you're good to go so next time you pitch will be infront of the Dragons. This real pitch didn't happen till about 12pm. While you are waiting for the real deal, three main things happen:
1) you do a pre-den interview where they ask you what Dragon you want, do you think the Dragons will like the product etc.
2) they film the famous elevator scene where they literally leave you standing at the elevator doors for a full 5 minutes. They have 8 cameras on you just staring into thin air but they leave you long enough so that you forget about the cameras and start talking to yourself, start tapping your foot or something similar. Then they will edit this 5 minutes of footage down to about 5 seconds in a way that makes you look nervous!
3) the BBC has lead negotiators who go around to each entrepreneur. These negotiators tell you how they think you're a great person and don't want to see you embarrassed on national tv as it's such a great opportunity for you and your business. They then ask you to lower your business valuation in order to get an offer from a Dragon.
After the real pitch in the Den you do another interview where they ask you about your experience with the Dragons. Here they really try to stoke the fire. Me and Peter had a few words during my pitch and afterwards the producers were trying to get me to give out about him by saying to me this is your chance to respond to Peter Jones who was insulting to you, what do you want to say to him.
Originally Posted by joejoggs
How are they in real life? I find some episodes there smug and rude while others there fine.
I remember one episode Peter saying he'd only invest if the husband and wife gave up their jobs even though they had a mortgage to pay with kids.
I heard rumours that after the show when the dragon invests the money its given as a loan and has to be paid back in full to the dragon which is not shown on the show while keeping the equity in the company.
Did the dragon actually help you with launching the product? If so did they help you increase sales?
Okay, so Tej, Sara and Touker invested in me. They are three top class people who are so down to Earth and are really easy to get on with. No ego's exist whatsoever. During the Den, me and Deborah got on like a house on fire. The producers edited this out but Deborah said I was exactly the type of person they love to see walk into the Den and the it must be my Irish charm but if I opened my mouth again she would invest. Before I could get a word out she then said 'that's why right now before you talk I'm saying I am out as the product simply isn't for me'. Pretty fair comment and I was delighted she liked me haha. I think by the end of the pitch Peter thought I was okay but he definitely did not like me at the start. He went after me with a very antagonistic line of questioning where you could see he wanted to get a fight going with some good tv moments. He also said some borderline insults about being Irish and drink.
Regarding the investment, on tv you shake hands but afterwards you go through a very in-depth and lengthy due diligence process. I mean there is a solid two to three weeks work getting all of the required information together. I met the three Dragons in Toukers' London office 4 weeks after the show and I said to them that I am not doing the due diligence as I simply don't have the time. Touker immediately said no problem, we will cut the list down to accounts, intellectual property and two or three other legal files and that will do.
In terms of the investment format, it depends on the business, the Dragons and the entrepreneur. Sometimes they try and do it as a loan but in our case it was a normal investment with money in return for equity.
With a product launch it depends on what is negotiated after the den. The Dragons actually offered to takeover the business completely but I said I would prefer to be in control. The main way the Dragons help you is by making intros to people that can be hard get to and companies that they have built relationships with so that you know they are good. This just speeds up the normal business development process.
Originally Posted by ednwireland
do you have any say on the edits ?
I cannot explain to you how highly edited the show is. For example, the entire thing is shot in a 1 story warehouse, yet there is an 'elevator'. In reality this translates to a room made out of plywood that has doors that open and close. It looks exactly like an elevator but I can assure you it certainly does not bring you to the second floor! At the start of my tv slot, the producers made me look pretty cocky saying that I know the Dragons will love my product, but they give you the start of the sentence 'I know the Dragons will love my product because...' and then you have to finish it. This isn't edited but the producers certainly led me down a path of sounding cocky. I have heard of people that had the Dragon's ask them a question about financials which they would answer well however on tv it would have been edited to make it look like they didn't know their numbers.
This wasn't shown on tv but during the Den I also received a €3 million line of credit at 4% interest, unsecured, and free access to all of the Dragon's staff. After the show the valuation was also renegotiated.
Originally Posted by downtheroad
Did the Dragons tell you to increase the price by 25%? The price was €40 in February this year.
I did buy a set and find them excellent so fair play but the price is steep.
No, that was me. €40 was The Late Late Show Special. Since then we have had a load of repeat customers even with the price of €50 (our website gives me all of the statistics). In future when we are doing over 100k units I hope to bring the price down but we need to be hitting serious sales volumes to make it feasible.
Originally Posted by Miike
Creator of this product is a boardsie, I remember the product launch. It stuck out in my mind how they took time out to answer peoples direct queries and/or problems on the forum all while being extremely transparent. I don't have a question but it's something that really stuck out to me as good customer relations!
Originally Posted by KKV
Price is expensive for a plastic shelf, is a recurring comment here, but has anyone here actually bought any shelves for their bathroom/shower recently?
My girlfriend doesn't like the look of the showergem, although I personally do like it. So instead of that, we've spent about the same amount of money, if not more, on various steel suction cup shelves that retail at between €15-25 each, and all seem to just collapse off the wall after a week or so.
This isn't something i've heard people complaining about in relation to the ShowerGem. That said, I do still have a tough time justifying the purchase for some reason. Would happily buy one in a 'New Years Sale' or such if it were reduced, but ultimately I can see why it's expensive - it's marketed as, and acts as, a premium product.
Do you have a link to the Dragon's Den pitch by the way? I can't seem to find it on Youtube?
Most people like the look but some don't, Deborah Meaden for one and I can understand why it's not everyone's cup of tea. I also can see why you find it hard to justify the price and I'm pretty certain it's because it is plastic as I know if i showed you a nice version made out of glass or steel you would say €50 is great value- in reality it would be a lesser product however!
I don't have a link to the pitch as youtube blocked it however I will put it up on facebook during the week and put a link here