Dragons cool on print pitch


David Hyams came away empty-handed from his Dragons’ Den pitch, but hopes his appearance on the TV show will help raise the profile of his innovative print products – including a new ‘lockdown’ range of talking cards.

Hyams in action on Dragons' Den
Hyams in action on Dragons' Den

In the episode broadcast on Sunday (12 April), but actually filmed last summer, Hyams gained the attention of the dragons with his Talkies personalised video cards, despite an unfortunate blooper involving the mis-spelling of judge Sara Davies’ name on her card. 

“I was told I was going on to the show on the Wednesday and to turn up at the studio at 6am on the Monday in Manchester. We made the videos, artwork and print in two days – so there’s a print on demand story for you!” Hyams said.

“I did spot the spelling mistake pre-shooting but couldn’t do anything about it at that point.”

Hyams asked for a £100,000 investment in return for a 12.5% stake in his business, and said he was disappointed that his full pitch wasn’t shown on the programme.

“I was bigging up print. My whole pitch was that I love print and like innovating with print,” he said.

“That said, they have thousands of applications to go on the show, so it was an achievement to get through and does raise our profile. You have to put yourself in the shop window to draw attention.”

Hyams had wanted to raise finance for the Talkies project, which is now live.

“We did it ourselves anyway, but we’re still looking for partners,” he added.

Talking Print works with a range of print suppliers depending on the type of job. 

The firm has also produced a new range of DIY ‘lockdown’ cards in response to the restrictions on movement caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s a range of blank or printed audio or video cards, that people can personalise with their own messages and send to people who are in lockdown,” he explained.

He said the cards, which are sold on eBay and Amazon, were proving to be a popular way to send messages to elderly relatives, and to people in isolation who may not have ready access to online communication tools such as Skype or Zoom.

The programme also featured another print-based pitch on the programme, which also ended unsuccessfully with an “I'm out” from all the dragons. Martin Grimer and Shaun Jones of Punk Box were pitching the merits of creative play using stickers to decorate cast-off packaging. 

The episode can be viewed on the BBC iPlayer for the next 28 days. 

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