TWO former Dragons’ Den contestants have turned an initial £5,000 investment into a business with a turnover of more than £1million.
Mums Kelly Aspland, 44, and Laura Waters, 40, also secured an £80,000 contribution from the show’s panellists Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones for their sunscreen business.
Kelly Aspland and Laura Waters launched Sunscreen company Solar Bud in 2015
The company has gained a £1.2million turnover
The pair, from Cwmbran, South Wales, started their company Solar Buddies in 2011 to help kids apply sun cream without help.
The business has turned over a jaw-dropping £1.2million to date.
Ms Aspland told Express: “There was nothing out there for the kids to be able to make this job easy and they always run away from you.
“It was just a bit of a moment where we thought, let’s have a little Google and see if there’s anything about and there wasn’t.
“So we thought, well, let’s have a little go at doing it ourselves.”
After bagging a £5,000 investment from a friend – Kelly and Laura set about designing the product.
She continued: “We contacted Cardiff Met University and we started working with their students and their product design department, and they helped us put prototypes together.
“The students were ace.”
Solar Buddies, designed for children, launched its first product in 2015.
Thwarted by a spate of COVID-19 lockdowns, the company regained its morale through exposure on TikTok.
Ms Aspland said: “[TikTok] literally pushed out, it literally skyrocketed us over into the US. And we’re still riding that wave right now.”
The duo then took their product to Dragon’s Den, where Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones invested £80,000 and bought a 20% stake in Solar Buddies.
Ms Aspland said: “The Dragons have been great. All their teams have been so hands-on and we’re now in Boots online and in 40 airports. We’ve got a couple of other retail opportunities that are on the cards as well.
“We’ve got a lot of things happening and a lot of doors opening and hopefully it’s going places. We’ve dreamed for this to happen and it’s finally actually doing it.
“Our staff have gone from just two of us to 10 of us and we’re still learning new things every single day.”
The duo from South Wales wanted to create a safe sunscreen for kids to apply individually