Dragons’ Den – Season 1 Episode 4 – Review

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Here is my full review of s01-e04. If you wish, you can check out my reviews of season one episode number one, two, three, and five. (note: if you haven’t watched them yet, skip them for now and watch the reruns first.)
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La Choclatarie Forrat by Marc Forrat

Marc did a very good job presenting his business to the Dragons. His passion clearly shows through. What I like about Marc is that he is also a potentially good entrepreneur too. You see, March is business minded enough to expand his two stores when the business is good. And the bank was willing to loan him money (I hope strictly on his business without mortgaging his house).

It is obvious that Chocolate is a great and high margin business. Warren Buffet bought See’s Candies years ago for a reason. (smile) It is a business that a brand (and even a Lovemark) can be built if all the executions are done right. Witness what See’s Candies (US), Bernard Callebaut (my favourite award winning Canadian chocolate), Pierre Marcolini (UK, love to try it one day) managed to achieve! (all wonderful stuff)
One key thing about Lovemark is that it inspires Loyalty Beyond Reason. And with the right image, great quality, a wonderful story, etc. people are willing to pay more. Sometimes we are willing to pay slightly more and sometimes a lot more!

Good luck to Marc and Jim. May your brand become a Lovemark one day. Marc, it will be fun if we can get to work together to turn your brand into a Lovemark, it will take a lot of hard work and I am sure Jim will make sure you work hard. (smile)

Marc, I just saw your website. Great. As of this moment, people & chocolate lovers can call you long distance to order chocolate. Have you checked the cost for installing an 1-800 number? I would also like to see an email address where people can ask for pricing and shipping cost (until you create a page for that.) By the way, can your chocolate be safely shipped while maintaining the best quality? If you need the stuff to be FedEx to ensure best quality, then tell your potential customers that. It also serves as a signal to your customers that you will not compromise quality for sales. Wishing you the best of luck.

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The Log by Ken Bailey
First of all, Ken is a gentleman of the first order. Ken presented himself so well. Never raised his voice, never acted or sounded cynically, never unestimated the Dragons’ intelligence or understanding of the market place, and the list goes on. I have much to learn from Ken and I think many other entrepreneurs too.

And Ken seems like a smart inventor too judging from The Log (TM) and other inventions. I am no water safety expert but I believe Ken has thought about safety too. And he definitely doesn’t want his 3 great grand kids get hurt for sure! Well, my research has found that The Log (TM) can be found at, according to The Log’s website, Miami University, Longmount YMCA, Camp Jewell YMCA, YMCA Magic Valley Family, Waterworld (California), etc. And Ken has provided a long list of places. So these places, to me, are not going to put up something dangerous unless they are fond of law suites and hurting/killing people. (ok, bad joke)

The problem with a TV show is that it has limited time to show the details (and some people get bored). Plus Ken’s lack of a working website (more on this later) to really showcase and explain how the product works, is also one source for confusion for people.

For those interested in The Log’s work-in-progress website, you can take a look at www.PoolLog.com. Which leads me to a comment here. Why is a functioning (may be a reduced function at that) website NOT ready for the big day (the day after airing)? There are hundreds and may be thousands of people that are interested in checking this neat toy out of curiosity. Aiming for a *perfect* website is a very dangerous game to play. Aiming for a less fancy website (AND keep making the website better and better, one step at a time) will be a much better approach. Just my 2 cents.
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Kango Inc. by Michelle Messina

Michelle’s idea seemed simple at first sight but if Cineplex was willing to purchase her bags in the millions, I am sure Cineplex thought it was a great idea too. And I never argue with sales. Michelle started her presentation well (her patented idea, etc.) but she lost control and lost focus of her presentation when the arguments started. Plus the fact that Michelle didn’t seem to realize that how much damage backing out of the previous Cineplex deal has done. And the fact that Michelle thought that her bags were going to save the theatre business truly showed that there is a serious gap of business understanding here, to say the least.

Finally, walking out the way that Michelle did was totally unacceptable. We all make mistakes, fortunately many of our mistakes are private mistakes and they are not broadcasted and kept on forever. (Although this is changing with the advance of YouTube but thats a different story for another time.) So Michelle walking out on Jennifer who was nice and trying to help was simply uncalled for and should be an example for all entrepreneurs in the “What you should *never ever* do category.

Of course, I haven’t seen the whole event first hand. But the last few seconds of unedited exchange between Jennifer and Michelle truly, in my view, put Michelle in a very bad light. And it is all within Michelle’s control. Be leveled headed at all times, even when a deal went bad. Just my 2 cents.

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Rashana Sound Essences by Jayne Hunter

First of all, Jayne is a nice lady, presentable, soft-spoken but determined. So I have nothing against her personally.

In terms of the business side, I am speechless on this business idea. First of all, I am not a medical doctor but I do have a scientific mind. And I do keep a blog category call Health Sciences & Medicine (10 entries so far and counting) and I also had subscribed to and read The New England Journal of Medicine for a year just for fun.

Sometimes, I would say I never argue with sales. The only exception is cases like this. I have a serious problem with anyone taking the name of science to advance their own gains in particular on unsuspecting buyers. Quoting from the website, ” RASHANA Sound Essences are created through the infusion of sound into pure spring water.” I simply cannot imagine water being “changed” by simply singing to it!

I am going to use some heavy words here but I have no choice. I think it is immoral and unethical to claim medical or healing properties unless there are many randomized, properly structured, and reproducible medical studies (by other independent and non-related researchers) to back up the healing and medical claims. And a quick look of the website this morning, I don’t see any medical researches to back up the claims.

I have never feel sad of seeing a Dragons Den business pitch on TV. I have always enjoyed the pitches, all the UK BBC shows that I have watched (7 in total) and all the 4 CBC shows, until I watched the pitch of “Rashana Sound Essences”.

Sorry Jayne, medicinal or healing claims is the one area that will automatically get me into a very serious discussion. In a world where major pharmaceutical companies may not have the best intention in their mind (e.g. they are more interested in providing and researching in “treatments” instead of “finding cures”. Treatments, you sell for life. Cures, you only sell it once!), I have absolute no time nor patient for companies or products that claim to heal without proper scientifically details researches to back up their claims.

Again, Jayne seems like a nice lady and I mean no disrespect to her personally. I just absolutely disagree with her product as it is presented at the moment.

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Sockey by Scotty Lewis

Scotty’s game, in my humble opinion, is just old and not fun to play. I think Kevin’s comment may be a bit harsh but then Scotty’s fight back with a full swing. After that point, Scotty had definitely and totally lost all credibility in the Dragons’ mind.

Putting my “producers’ hat” on for a moment, I suspect CBC put this in so that Kevin’s harshness can be “balanced” by Scotty’s direct and to-the-point criticism of Kevin’s investment record and the importance of Kevin’s wonderful $3+ billion deal with Mattel. Witness YouTube’s $1.65 billion deal, you don’t need too many deals like that to get established, do you? (smile) On that scale, one deal is good enough.

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Size is a Plus by Cora Rogers

Cora’s business may work quite well as an internet business or a small store. There is definitely a market for the Plus sizes ladies (and men). But the main problem is that it is difficult to scale up the business to a volume that the Dragons would be interested. Of course, Laurence’s view about market potentials and relative sizes are spot on.

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Chi Designs by Agnes Dalisay

Agnes’s business may work quite well as an internet business catering to her niche clients. There can be some good potentials here. But it is difficult to scale up the business to a volume that the Dragons would be interested.

10 Responses to Dragons’ Den – Season 1 Episode 4 – Review

  1. Earl Colby Pottinger says:

    Could Size is a Plus and Chi Designs merge? Sharing contacts and costs?

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    Hi,

    Merging the two companies probably is not a good idea since they have very different niche markets. And because of the nature of small business and the two entrepreneurs living in different cities (?), I think there may not be much chance for sharing costs.

    Kempton

    P.S. This is the second comment that you left a “.zip” file as your URL. All your future comments will be held for inspection and thank you for your understanding.

  2. […] Here are my full review of s01e03. By the way, you can also read my reviews of the first episode (s01-e01) and second episode (s01-e02), fourth episode (s01-e04), and fifth episode (s01-e05). ***************************** Jobloft by Chris Nguyen & Lee Lieu, et. al. […]

  3. Michelle Messina says:

    Attention Kempton Blog:

    This is Michelle Messina. I just wanted to inform you that your facts are inaccurate and I do not appreciate you encouraging and posted such information. First, I never backed out of a deal. Two, Jennifer was not helping me, in fact every time an investor was speaking she kept rudely interrupted and continued to use the word renege in the wrong context. No one saw, the number of insults I took which were edited out and not broadcast. There is only so much a person can take, and when I nationally told the woman that I did not renege on a deal and she kept persisting there comes a point were there is no excuse for ignorance and I had to walk away. So how did she try to help me? And why would I walk off a show if someone is trying to help me…does not make sence what you are writing. Please rephrase your comments now that you know the truth, because you are degrading my character publicly and I do not take that lightly.
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    Dear Michelle Messina,

    Thanks for telling me your side of the story and your view of what happened. My original comments and what I wrote were based on what I saw from the TV show and how I felt about what happened.

    When a business partner made a deal representing a company. And that deal was broken by another business partner, that fits my impression of what “renege” means. You may have a different defintion of “renege” that fits your view better and I respect your right to feel otherwise.

    Ultimately what I wrote was how I felt, and I stand by my personal views (after re-reading my blog entry a few times and also Sean Wise’s insightful October 25, 2006 05:26 PM comment). I respect your right to see and feel how you want to feel but I hope you also can see that other people may see and feel things differently.

    Thank you for your feedback.

    – Kempton

  4. Michelle Messina says:

    Dear Kempton:

    Since you stated, “Michelle didn’t seem to realize that how much damage backing out of the previous Cineplex deal has done.” That is not a fact! There was no damage done and without my signature, the deal was not finalized. My x/business partner did and does, to this day, conduct big business with Cineplex. If there where going to be hard feelings it would have been with him not with me. Without doing your research you can not make such accusations which are outright untrue. You are painting a wrong picture of my character and my business ethics. If anything I should be commended on my honesty and integrity.

  5. kempton says:

    Dear Michelle,

    Thanks for leaving your comments and feedback. You are right that there was no deal without your signature as the deal was not finalized. But the core of my previous comment is still what I believe today.

    “When a business partner made a deal representing a company. And that deal was broken by another business partner, that fits my impression of what “renege” means.”

    Michelle, I commend your persistent in trying to see your Dragons’ Den presentation in more favorable light. But some time has pass since your season 1 presentation and I truly wish you the best of luck in having fruitful returns in your current and future business endeavors.

    And I commend you and other entrepreneurs who are brave and have a business to pitch on Dragons’ Den. For we, the Dragons’ Den viewers, have learned much from you all.

    Best Regards,
    Kempton

  6. Everything is negotiable until the president signs!

    Michelle Messina
    President
    Kango Inc.

    • John J says:

      I just saw the episode in question, and I have never been compelled to do research and comment on an episode before, but I did in this instance. I was completely floored by Michelle Messina’s behaviour, I was actually surprised that the host seemed to be sympathetic to her in her exit interview. I almost spit my beer out when she implied that a paper bag with a pocket would save the movie theatre. How deluded is she?? And then the fact that she was so disrespectful and dismissive of the Dragons’ concerns about her previous deal. The way she tried to talk over the dragons was staggering, especially cutting off poor Jennifer at the end. I’ve seen the Dragons rip people needlessly to shreds before, and this was not remotely it. On a Kevin scale of 1 – 10, he was maybe a 3 or 4, and he actually offered her a deal. Learn some humility woman! It is saying something when a dragon says you are overly aggressive! It is good to be ambitious, but you also have to work with other people, especially when you want their money!!!

    • kempton says:

      Thanks for taking time to comment.

  7. John J says:

    I would like to add that Kempton paints no picture of Miss Messina’s character or ethics. She most certainly dug her own grave and painted herself in a negative light that night!

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