Richard and Lynn Bye entered Den in 2014 seeking an £80,000 investment for 10 per cent equity in their Fat Lad at the Back (FLAB) business. FLAB fits the larger framed rider with waist sizes up to 60 inches and a 58-inch chest.
Within a year of starting their business, they were able to turn over £40,000 and gain over 3,000 Facebook followers. Their gross profit was £24,000, however they needed an investment to take their brand to the next level.
Unfortunately, they left the Den empty handed as the Dragons did not believe in their mark.
Deborah Meaden had a problem with the brand because she thought it was “too descriptive” for the people she wanted to attract.
Kelly Hoppen thought her presentation was “flawed”.
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She said: “Most people don’t want to think they’re getting middle-aged or overweight. They don’t want that pointed out to them.
“I don’t get the positive out of this.”
Peter Jones said he didn’t think this could be a “mainstream brand”, however he thought they might be able to sell some items as the name and brand were “quirky”.
Duncan Bannatyne said, “The initial concept of this is great, I just think the descriptive title or actual branding ‘fat guy in the back’ is wrong.”
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Richard said: “At the end of the day, people either ‘get it’ or they don’t, and we’d rather that than be just another brand of vanilla.
“Both Peter and Deborah were very appreciative of the success the business had already enjoyed in a very short period of time, but they had no knowledge of the cycling industry or the opportunity Fat Lad presented.”
FLAB aims to provide sportswear for older athletes with “gear that actually fits them instead of making them look like ‘a chicken wrapped in plastic,'” Richard said.
It was difficult for him to find sportswear that fit him well and he couldn’t find things that fit him well, so he wanted to create something better.
Without a team to fit the larger frame, he went looking for something more suitable, but found there was nothing for the “fat guy in the back.”
With Dragons’ Den recently coming to an end for another series, it’s interesting to look at the previous releases that have received investment and those that haven’t.
Despite not walking away with any investment, many entrepreneurs have managed to do great things with their products.
For example, Tangle Teezer, a hairbrush company, is now worth £200m. Rob’s rejection has also been one of the biggest hits in the show’s history.
Dragons’ Den is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.