Dragons’ Den success stories: Skinnydip (and what you can learn from them)

Now trading in 30 countries with over 423,000 fans on Instagram alone, this quirky accessories brand has made waves since its Dragons' Den appearance

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Company name: Skinnydip
Description: Brand of fashionably quirky phone cases, headphones, speakers and tech accessories
Series: 10, episode one
Year: 2012
Investment sought: £120,000 for 20% equity
Why didn’t the Dragons invest? The founding trio originally clinched £120,000 for 30% equity from Peter Jones, but the deal later fell through.

With glitter, statement slogans and quirky prints of everything from bananas to embroidered lobsters, Skinnydip’s unique statement phone cases, headphones and accessories are all the rage.

Launched in 2011, the business was founded by north London brothers James and Richard Gold along with their friend Lewis Blitz. When the trio of graduates entered the Den in 2012, the Dragons were impressed to hear that the business had turned over more than £500,000 and sold over 200,000 products in its first 18 months of trading.

In a tense close to the pitch, Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis each vied to invest £120,000 for varying equity stakes. The trio accepted Peter Jones’ offer to back the business for 30%, with a promise that he would drop down to company partner after making his money back.

Following the filming of the episode, however, the deal never went through – but this hasn’t hampered Skinnydip’s growth.

The founders say that, instead of accepting external funding, they have opted to grow organically; reinvesting their profits back into the company. This, instead, has been the path to success for Skinnydip, which now has eight of its own stores in key locations such as Camden Market and can also be found in 200 retail concessions with fashion giants including Topshop, River Island, Harvey Nichols and Asos.com.

The company has also expanded internationally taking its accessories and cases to an eager market in Soho, New York, and it also trades online in more than 30 countries.

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