Virgin Media Pioneers survive Dragons Den

17th August 2016

I’m the co-founder a business called Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard, and if you were watching TV last night you might have heard of us.

It was thrilling to have had the chance to appear on BBC Two’s Dragons’ Den. But it was probably the most nerve racking thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was a long walk from the BBC studio green room to the Den, and as we began to start our three-minute pitch my legs felt like jelly. But once our presentation was over and the five Dragons began their interrogation of our business plan, I forgot the cameras. I was too focused to be nervous.

Despite the knockbacks, it wasn’t all serious, and there were some really funny moments in the Den. Peter Jones was so desperate to try out the product that he applied the Glitter Lips we had given him there and then. In the end, all five dragons decided that our company and its products weren't for them, but we received some very positive feedback! We used the whole Dragons Den experience as a marketing exercise – we knew either way, we would get something good from it.

Pitching Glitter Lips to a BBC Two audience of millions – and five multi-millionaires – is something I never dreamt would be possible when Paula Short and I created the product three years ago. We were working together at the hair and beauty salon I own in Lincoln and got chatting about the new fashion for lip decoration, showcased by everyone from Jessie J to Dior. We started a journey to create a product that was not just show stopping, but would actually stay put during a night out.

We launched what would become Glitter Lips at our salon in Lincoln, and people were queuing up to buy it. We had no box or company name, but within months we were attending “Meet the Buyer” days at Liberty, and getting advice from make-up gurus like Ruby & Millie founder Millie Kendall. It wasn’t long before Glitter Lips was on sale in Topshop’s flagship branch on Oxford Street – and we sold out in our first weekend.

A big turning point came when we joined Virgin Media Pioneers, the broadband company’s online community for entrepreneurs. This gave us access to invaluable advice from other start-up founders, and Virgin Media were able to unlock doors for us. We were invited to sell Glitter Lips to festival goers at V Fest, where we made up celebrities like Pixie Lott, Alexandra Burke – and Keith Lemon. This next year we met with a Superdrug buyer, who agreed to start stocking the product in stores across the country and online.

Glitter Lips is now being sold at stores over the world – from New York to Australia. And with Thomson Airlines now stocking the product on all their flights, the sky really is the limit.