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Gold Disc Dave Enters The Dragons Den & Survives To Tell The Story

Well that was an experience..!! Short but Sweet on the TV...

Here is my take on my trip into the Dragons Den


 
Gold Disc Dave Enters The Dragons Den
 

In March 2015, I was the first contestant (offering) to the Dragons in the filming of series 13 of the 'Dragons Den' which is shown on BBC2 Sunday evenings.

We were all collected at 7.30am to head to the studios, where we all had to set-up our displays as we wanted them to go into the den. Then the producers came around and looked at each of them… I was second to be looked at after a young lady who was pitching some kind of lotions – she was taken from backstage first to Make-up, so I naturally thought she was the first in… Then it was my turn to go through my presentation walls, I did a little bit of the song and we tried the process of revealing the walls, then I was collected to go up to Make-up and Wardrobe… They disappeared with my Shirt and Waistcoat, then I went into the corner to change when they bought my bits back..

 

I was then taken through to a little production suite, which was where Evan Davis does the interviews, but it was in fact a producer asking the questions off camera. They asked me how I was feeling going into the den and what I thought about singing to them, what I was hoping to achieve in the Den and who I was interested in.

 

 

 
 2015 Dragons
Enter-Gold

Obviously I was very, very nervous, but also excited at the prospect of entering the den… I hoped that being the first one in the den and going in singing might calm the nerves of the new dragons and it might give them a warm feeling about me.

Regarding who I was hoping to get in the Den, my preference would have been Peter Jones or Nick Jenkins, who both had businesses in the gift market sector.

Following my short interview I was taken off to a holding room, a left to stew for around 15 minutes… going through my pitch, trying to remember my numbers, then I was taken down to the back-stage area for a walk through of how I would enter the den…

I met 2 guys from Freddies Fruit Lagers who were also waiting to go through their walk through, they were telling me that they had got their wares in to One Stop Shops and Bargain Booze, but were looking to move up to the multiples.

They were quickly moved on to their opportunity to walk in through the lift.

I waited in the stairwell back stage for around another 10 minutes until those two guys had finished and then it was my turn… I had to wait around the corner from the lift (on set though) then wait for the red light to turn green then I had to walk purposefully around the corner to the lift doors and press the button and wait for the lift to arrive – watching the counter countdown above the door… then I entered the lift, sharing it with a rather large contraption which was the smoke machine, which was going to herald my Stars in Their Eyes entrance in to the Den.

The first time I entered through the doors, I couldn’t hear the music, due to the noise of the smoke machine, so I missed the beat as the door opened…. I went through the process again and they put a bit more wellie behind the music and my First GOLD sounded really loud…  They seemed happy with it so off I went back to my holding room… this time I took back my iPad, just to make sure I’d got those figures in my head… then the knock on the door came… I was marched to the position around the corner from the lift… there was water there and I was told that it could be 15 minutes there before the dragons were into their chairs and settled, I paced, I practiced the pitch, I sang my opening bars… and then clunk the red light turned to green, my heart sank and I said oh my god here we go to myself and I walked around the corner and pressed the lift button.  It’s quite strange but you don’t sense all the cameras that are there…

Pizza for the Dragons

 

The Pitch

I entered the lift the smoke machine kicked in full force this time… ‘Come on You’re Gold Disc Dave and it’s Showtime’ the spotlight came on in the lift behind and all I could see was a wall of bright white smoke in front of me… what if the lift doors opened and I couldn’t see, I put my hand forward to waft the smoke and feel that the lift door was still close… and then whoosh it opens and I see all five dragons there bathed in bright lights… they seemed really far away and I stepped forward and the two beats intro started and the words gold came out and I walked forward singing for my life… I don’t think I thought, there are going to be about 1 million people watching this, I was just focused on the dragons… I made sure I looked along the line and they all seemed to be smiling… the chorus ended and I moved away to reveal my wall of discs… I can’t even remember if they clapped…

 

I pulled the covers off my two walls of frames and hid the covers and dropped the mic behind the walls.  I stepped forward on to my spot and started to deliver my pitch… This is awful but I can’t remember if I got it word perfect, I think I made a couple of repeats and a couple of long pauses, but I think I got it all out… at the end of the pitch, I went to get their framed discs in a presentation box that I had prepared for them, all their Birthday No.1’s, As I passed them out I asked them to wait until they had all got their frames before revealing what their No.1’s were.

 

I entered the lift the smoke machine kicked in full force this time… ‘Come on You’re Gold Disc Dave and it’s Showtime’ the spotlight came on in the lift behind and all I could see was a wall of bright white smoke in front of me… what if the lift doors opened and I couldn’t see, I put my hand forward to waft the smoke and feel that the lift door was still close… and then whoosh it opens and I see all five dragons there bathed in bright lights… they seemed really far away and I stepped forward and the two beats intro started and the words gold came out and I walked forward singing for my life… I don’t think I thought, there are going to be about 1 million people watching this, I was just focused on the dragons… I made sure I looked along the line and they all seemed to be smiling… the chorus ended and I moved away to reveal my wall of discs… I can’t even remember if they clapped…

 

I pulled the covers off my two walls of frames and hid the covers and dropped the mic behind the walls.  I stepped forward on to my spot and started to deliver my pitch… This is awful but I can’t remember if I got it word perfect, I think I made a couple of repeats and a couple of long pauses, but I think I got it all out… at the end of the pitch, I went to get their framed discs in a presentation box that I had prepared for them, all their Birthday No.1’s, As I passed them out I asked them to wait until they had all got their frames before revealing what their No.1’s were.

Peter Jones

Up Close

I stepped back on to my spot and then stood for a couple of seconds, then PJ asked… “what do you want us to do with them”… Oh sorry, I’d like you to look at them now… Peter was the first to make a remark about it… he read the dedication plate and said something about not putting the date of birth on and I replied I didn’t want to embarrass anyone with revealing the dates, especially the ladies, I refrained, he then revealed that his birthday No.1 was The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore by The Walker Brothers, he asked me how that went, so I sang a couple of lines from the song. 

 

NJ remarked that it was quite suitable… Then NJ started to speak to me about it… This bit is a bit blurry… I remember that he questioned whether ‘Puppet On A String’ was in fact his birthday No.1 and also remarked that his label was a little wonky and there may be a production problem…

Around this time in the proceedings PJ started to pull the frame apart, I said you’re not supposed to do that with them… He said I’m just seeing how they are made…

I think at this point I was drying up big time and I needed a drink, I asked if I could take a drink and Sarah offered her glass saying that she hadn’t taken a drink out of it yet…

 

She enquired ‘are you from Stoke Dave?’ ‘I am’ I replied, ‘is it that obvious?’  She went Yay Stoke or something like that… Touker came in to say that with the investments he makes he likes to add value to the companies he invests in, but he felt that he didn’t know my market, so he wished me luck and he was the first to go out.

Sarah remarked that she didn’t really know the market and wouldn’t have any idea what size it was… I replied that there will be approx. ¼ of a million couples getting wed in 2015, with a further million who would be celebrating their 1st-5th anniversary this year. She then remarked that it is more than likely going to be a purchase from a husband to wife (vice versa) and that brings the buying potential down dramatically…  She was very nice and said that there are some great things that come out of Stoke and you are one of them, she felt that there wasn’t enough in it to invest…

At this point Nick got on a roll about how Moonpig went viral and they really started to take off… and he felt that because over 12 years ours hadn’t done that, that it was probably too late, He said you need your name on all the discs you put out there, but because you sell through online gift stores you are limited, we had a good discussion about getting on to Adwords, but I couldn’t compete to get the clicks against the likes of GP & TGeX – I did suggest that FB ads could be ideal and he suggested that I go get them spend to buy a customer and go for it but he wasn’t prepared to invest…

Deborah then came in and said I totally disagree with Nick, don’t worry about the individual ones, go for the corporate market, send one of your £80 frames out to your targets and see how that goes…

They may buy 10 or 50 or 250 that is where I would put my energy… but the thing that concerns me is how you can live on £2k – a couple of people jumped to my rescue there – Peter and Touker I think to say that he took a wage… and I think she said that £25k wasn’t enough of a wage… I think remarked that you can get a lot in Stoke for £25k. she stepped out at that stage… though I did remark that if she might be interested in some for The Roundhouse for artists appearing there, obviously for another time.

Taking it all in

 

Sarah Willinghams Blog

My appearance was shown on Sunday 16th August, I got a mention in Sarah Willinghams' review of her experience during the series...

I think around this point Touker made a remark about the copyright issue and Nick jumped in to say he had experience on this one and that because it wasn’t the actual music being sold that was being sold it wasn’t an issue – then I jumped in to say that we had worked with the BPI, IFPI and PRS and if there was a issue in what we do they would have surely flagged it up to me.

So it all came down to Peter Jones to finish me off… he started off with his standard (Peter’s Pun) you’re beginning to sound like a broken record Dave and I remarked ‘Sorry Peter I thought he had dropped off there’… no I’m wide awake… he continued along the lines of… ‘I have to say that your singing is better than your business, and then remarked, perhaps you might be interested in investing in a Spandau Tribute band… he played a straight bat to that… is this all you do? I think you need to go and get a job… to which I replied, I love what I do, so there’s no job for me.

He then proceeded to count himself out…

I thanked them all for their time and their advice and exited to the lift.

 

I was then taken upstairs to do my exit interview… asking how it all went in the Den, where it went wrong, how did the song go, what advice can you take from the Dragons… how did singing in front of the dragons compare with singing on the karaoke?

I was then shuffled through to Reception to wait for Stuart to come with the Van…

We had to wait quite a while to get in to the back of the Studio as the Freddie’s Fruit Lager boys were in there a hell of a time.

 

All in all it was an amazing experience… I ate the frog, I felt the fear and did it anyway.  It is aggravating that I can’t remember everything that was said in the Den, as I was proper buzzing in there and just waiting for the next question… and not really in the moment.

It will be interesting to see how I am edited down after the event… hopefully with the singing and being the first in to the New Dragons they will make a feature of it in the opening episode, I think I was good value from an entertainment point of view – I didn’t get chewed up and spat out, so there is a lot to be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet Tweeted this after the show...

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