Hannah Gourley

Hannah Gourley on Dragons' Den

TellTails takes over the Dragons’ Den

Hannah Gourlay delivered an extraordinary pitch with her costume tails business as she looked to win investment from the panel of dragons.

Budding entrepreneur Hannah Gourlay wowed the panel of dragons when she entered the den donning a top hat and a monkey tail.

After three unsuccessful contestants beforehand, Gourlay remained unfazed by the occasion and was smiling from ear to ear throughout.

Gourlay launched the business three years ago after wearing a costume lion tail to a festival she was attending.

After noticing how much attention she received, the budding entrepreneur decided to return the following year and set up a stall selling tails to festivalgoers.

Three years on and the company now trades at over 20 festivals and events annually, has a multi-lingual website which ships products globally and is stocked in the likes of Harrod’s, John Lewis, the National History Museum, many toy shops and is set to launch in Hamleys.

Gourlay was joined by three aids at the beginning of her pitch, all of whom were wearing different animal tails to showcase the product to the panel of dragons. She then invited the dragons to get involved and handed them each a dragon tail to see how the product works.

However, it was Gourlay’s financials which wowed the investors. After revealing that she had turned over £160,000 last year and that she is on track to double that figure this year, the dragons were excited to hear more about her company.

After a series of questions from the judges, which included her plans for the business going forward and whether she would consider licensing, they got down to making their offers and pondered over Gourlay’s request for £70,000 in return for a 15% stake in TellTails.

The first dragon to commit to making an offer was new dragon Tej Lalvani, who offered her half of the money (£35,000) for a 15% stake in the business, if another dragon would invest alongside him.

The second dragon to make an offer was Deborah Meaden, who unwilling to share, offered all of the money for a 25% stake in the business.

Retail magnate Touker Suleyman was the final dragon to make an offer, matching Tej’s offer and willing to share his stake in the business with the dragon.

However, it was Deborah Meaden who was the most attractive proposition for Gourlay and despite asking her to lower her stake, which Deborah rebuffed, Gourlay accepted her initial offer.

Speaking about the decision, she told BQ: “I felt that Deborah had a better connection with the brand and the TellTails philosophy. Working with someone who shares my vision for the company is pivotal.

“I will use the funding to spread the tail magic by expanding into the US market. I see TellTails becoming a well-known toy brand worldwide that will be appealing as an acquisition for larger companies.”