Designer has Dragons' Den 'sewn-up'

Dragons Landscape

A costume designer and pantomime dame from Retford had the first ever Bassetlaw Dragons’ Den event ‘sewn up’ with a ‘thigh slapping’ pitch that allowed him to walk away with a £5,000 investment for his business.

Dan Baker of DannyB Designs impressed four local business leaders and Bassetlaw Dragons at the event, run by Bassetlaw District Council, to collect a four-figure investment that will allow him to purchase new equipment and grow his business further.

DannyB Designs was selected by the dragons ahead of fellow finalists ‘eReprice’, owned by Luke Billyard and ‘Keep it Fresh’, owned by Jonathan Hill, after performing as a Panto Dame and writing a song to help sell his idea.

Dragons Winner

After securing the £5,000 investment, Dan said: “It was an amazing experience and despite being an actor I was very nervous pitching to the Dragons. The other two candidates had very serious and business-like ideas, so I felt like I might be the ‘Honey G’ character who came out at the end and entertained everyone.”

“This will give me such a boost. Not just because of the cash element, but I was able to meet some great people who gave me some brilliant advice and have put me in touch with more contacts who can help me along the way. Events like this show that Bassetlaw is a great place to own a small business and people genuinely want you to succeed.”

After appearing in his first pantomime at the age of 16, Dan learnt the art of dress-making from his mother, who helped him to make his first panto dame costume. Over the next 20 years, Dan’s reputation as a costume designer, and professional panto dame, has grown to the point that Dan’s costumes have appeared in London’s West End, and are due to be worn on stage in Liverpool and Rotherham this Christmas.

“I’ve already got about £12,000 worth of orders lined up for this year, so the investment will help me to expand by upgrading my equipment, diversify into other areas and get some financial and business mentoring.”

The event was the first of its kind for the Council and in addition to the £5,000 first prize, the Dragons were able to offer £2,500 to runner-up Luke Billyard and his business eReprice’. 

Jo White, Cabinet Member for Regeneration at the Council, said: “We were all extremely impressed by Dan’s pitch which was really creative and very memorable. While his pitch had the wow factor, what ultimately helped us to decide was his expert knowledge of his product, the market he’s selling to and figures that really stacked up.

“This event has helped to showcase the creative talent and great ideas that small businesses in Bassetlaw have and we all look forward to seeing how Dan’s business grows and how much of a success he will be.”

The Bassetlaw Dragons were:

Nicola Marshall – Founder and owner of luxury campervan hire company, Jellybean Campervans.

Ade Okubanjo – Owner of tax and accountancy company, ManKing Associates Accountants

Steve Bennett – Founder and Director of traffic management, labour and equipment supplier, Traffic Labour Supplies Ltd.

Jo White – Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration at Bassetlaw District Council.

Published: Wednesday 22 March 2017