Thursday 27 April 2017

€150 umbrellas? The Celtic Tiger era is back in the 'Dragons' Den'

The cast: Alison Cowzer, Gavin Duffy, Eleanor McEvoy, Barry O’Sullivan, Chanelle McCoy and presenter Richard Curran. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
The cast: Alison Cowzer, Gavin Duffy, Eleanor McEvoy, Barry O’Sullivan, Chanelle McCoy and presenter Richard Curran. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

High-end umbrellas selling for a mere €150 were among the new products seeking to be fired up by investment on the new series of RTÉ's 'Dragons' Den'.

The show's eighth season kicks off tomorrow on RTÉ One and so far has seen more than €5m invested into some 95 Irish businesses.

But Dragon Gavin Duffy believes that this year it's particularly evident the boom is back in certain sectors, judging by the pitches of entrepreneurs.

"You can see luxury things creeping back in and it almost sounds like we were being frugal because I remember we were questioning people who were selling bed linen and I remember (Dragon) Chanelle was like, 'How much would you be charging for a duvet?' It could easily be €75," he said.

"In the clothing line, you had guys who wanted to sell you little pocket squares for €29.99 each in wonderful silk. In 'Dragons' Den' four seasons ago you would have said, 'What? Can you do one for €8.99?'"

He also cited the increase in protein-based 'health' bars as another new trend that has emerged.

"This year, it was all high protein and stuff that's inedible. Everybody's chasing that 1pc, the gluten free. Food has become medicine. If you want protein, would you not take a slice of chicken?"

He'll be joining Alison Cowzer on the panel this year alongside Barry O'Sullivan, Eleanor McEvoy and new addition Chanelle McCoy.

Petrified

The Chanelle Pharmaceuticals director said she was "absolutely petrified" to step into the Den in her first major TV project, but was keen to prove she was more than just the other half of retired champion jockey AP McCoy.

She said her fellow Dragons terrified her the most as she didn't want them thinking she was a "trophy wife".

"So it was nice that they later realised that, actually, she is involved in her family business," she said.

Irish Independent

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