Will Hogge faced the dragons last night – looking for funding for his unique York business.
Will, 39, the founder of The Inhaler Tailor, appeared on Dragons’ Den asking for £80,000 for a ten per cent stake in his firm.
He told the dragons that he’d needed to carry an inhaler all his life. “As a kid, I just thought of it as a scary medical device and I’d really kick up a stink every time I was meant to be taking it.
“Films and TV shows still often portray people that need to use one of these as slightly weedy or nerdy.”
So he invented cases for inhaler devices – to make them cool.
“Together, I’m sure we can help millions of the over half a billion people round the world that have a chronic respiratory condition,” he said.
Will handed out special inhaler cases for the dragons. One of them, Deborah Meaden, said she had asthma as a child.
He told them he’s sold 6,000 so far, making £90,000 via his website, Etsy and TikTok.
At the time of filming, Will had only put one video on TikTok so far which had received more than three million views.
He said he made the inhaler cases by hand himself and since that video he had spent every day making 150 a day to meet demand.
They sell for £12.74 and he has 70 different designs.
Asked about how he would scale up the business, he said he was looking at a partner in Asia, “but the feel of the product is so important to me, the materials that it’s made from – it’s a vegan leather from Italy”.
The raw material he uses costs £75 a metre. “How much?” exclaimed dragon Touker Suleyman.
Guest dragon Emma Grede told him “an important thing early on is to kill your darlings. You might love this fabric – you have to think about the customer… get the cost down and you’ll kill it”.
Deborah Meaden said she wouldn’t invest but didn’t think Will needed her money: “You’re going to do it”.
Peter Jones said it was a great product but a “one-hit wonder”. None of the dragons chose to invest, but Will was still encouraged by their reaction.
“The fact that they were so positive is of course really reassuring,” he said in the debrief.
You can catch up with the episode on iPlayer here.