I was rejected by Dragons Den – but now my marmalade business sells worldwide and I've made millions

I was rejected by Dragons Den – but now my marmalade business sells worldwide and I've made millions

November 28, 2021

TWO women who were rejected on Dragons’ Den for their “cheap” marmalade that “wouldn’t succeed” have revealed business is booming and their products are sold worldwide.

Nikki Frith and Lindsey Oldroyd unveiled their Granny Marmalade to the investors on the show in 2014, but it didn’t prove popular.


Their company had begun after the women started selling their grandmother's recipe at local farmers’ markets. 

After it proved popular, they were able to get a stockist and it was sold in 25 out of 29 stores in Stockholm, Sweden.

At the time they were selling six jars per store each week, but wanted to expand their brand to include curds and jams, aprons.

The entrepreneurs asked the Dragons for £50,000 for a 20 per cent stake in their business.

However, their marmalade wasn’t a huge hit with the Dragons, as Kelly Hoppen said they needed to change their branding. 

She said: “To me it just looks cheap, a cheap chutney. Good luck but I’m out.”

Piers Linney also didn’t like the company using a modern logo with their traditional item.

He said: “You tried to differentiate but I’m not sure that worked. It’s not something I can actually invest into.”

Deborah Meaden agreed with Piers, and Duncan Bannatyne said he didn’t even think the marmalade tasted show-stopping.

Although their question in the Den was unsuccessful, the two women were not defeated and have seen their business flourish.

They’ve rebranded as Granny Cool, and you can taste their jams, marmalades and curds in Boots, Dean and Deluca.

They are even stocked at Selfridges in Oxford Street, London, and are also in New York, with plans to expand to Dubai.

It’s not the first failed Dragons’ Den product to boom.

Natalie Ellis’s inventive no-spill Road Refresher Dog Bowl also thrived, despite a rejection.

When Natalie realised the huge untapped US market for this, she asked the Dragon’s for £120,000 to export her business to the states.

James Caan’s response? “America is the graveyard of British business.”

In 2010, Road Refresher made its first £1m profit and even Obama has one for little Bo.

Meanwhile, Rachel Lowe took her rejected Dragons' Den pitch – a board game inspired by cab drivers – away and raked in millions by going it alone.

Back in 2004 she asked for a £75,000 investment for her game The Destination, which sees players ride around streets and try to collect the most fares.

Despite being turned down, Rachel's creation went on to outsell Monopoly in its first year, after she secured a deal with toy retailer Hamleys, and now she has a net worth of £96million.

The biggest missed opportunity in Dragons' Den history didn't even make it to air.

In 2008, James Watt and Martin Dickie applied to go on the programme with their craft brewing business, BrewDog.

The pals were invited to do a screen test and pitched their plan to the show's producers.

But bosses decided the company wasn't worthy of investment, and the pair never even got to pitch directly to the dragons.



Here are Dragons’ Den’s biggest success stories after rejection – from £1.8BILLION booze empire to board game outselling Monopoly.

And Dragons’ Den reject behind ‘world’s loudest bicycle horn’ rakes in £3m six years after show debut.

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