Your product has to have something special if it is going to win over a bunch of Dragons.
And that’s just what Boot Buddy did.
The footwear cleaning tool was the brainchild of 15-year-old Arminder Singh Dhillon, when he was just 11, and with the help of his brother Gaz, they came up with an innovative product.
The time-saving invention won support from Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Touker Suleyman in the BBC entrepreneur television series Dragons’ Den.
Each pledged £20,000 for ten per cent of the business, making Arminder, from Battersea, the youngest person to win investment on the show back in July. Arminder created Boot Buddy as an easy way to clean his football boots after getting fed up of being told off by his mother for bringing mud in to the house.
Gaz said: “After football training one day, Aaron took a water bottle, plastic knife and a washing-up brush then combined them. At first I saw the concept and said, ‘What are you doing? Go and do it the normal way with a hose in the sink’. But his idea worked, well sort of.
“We then took the idea and had proper designs drawn up, after looking at all the different variations and possibilities we agreed that our current shape was the best. After a couple of months we were presented with a 3D prototype and to be fair it cleaned boots very well despite being a print out.
“We wanted to manufacture in Great Britain and so we found a small family-run operation to begin making our prototypes but they were so good we began our full manufacturing with them and here we are today – The Boot Buddy.”
Seeking investment and guidance to help take the business to the next level, Arminder and his family braved the Dragons Den and secured backing from not just one but three dragons.
Arminder said: “The whole experience was indescribable. I’m still amazed at having seen my idea become an actual product and to now have the support of three such inspirational business people is incredible.
“Stepping in to the Dragons Den was definitely daunting but I’d rehearsed my pitch thoroughly and I had my mother (Rashpal) and brother by my side for support so I wasn’t too nervous.”
Peter Jones said: “We’re so impressed by Arminder. He’s come up with a fantastic product and had the drive and determination to see it through. He’s leading the way for the next generation of great British business people.”
Deborah Meaden added: “Living on a farm I can definitely see the need for a product like Boot Buddy. It will save you from spending countless hours cleaning mud off your shoes which is frankly one of the most tedious household chores there is.”
Touker Suleyman said: “We’re all delighted to be working with Arminder and hope that our collective experience and connections will help Boot Buddy become a household name.”
Boot Buddy only requires a couple of minutes and 300ml of water to clean even stubborn dirt build-up. It is a water bottle with a brush attached at one end and a scraper at the other.
After filling the container with water, mud should first be scraped off using the scraper attachment.
Then the water container can be unlocked and the brush can be used to scrub the boot clean.
And because it’s easily portable the Boot Buddy can be used to clean boots at the side of the pitch, even before you get home.
The Boot Buddy retails at £14.99 and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org