Dragons’ Den win for eco packaging seed kits
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
A gardening start-up won £80,000 of investment from BBC show Dragons’ Den investor Sara Davies, founder of hobby supplier Crafter’s Companion, after impressing judges with seed kits encased in compostable moulded fibre pods.
Dan Robson, founder of Grow Sow Simple, created his flagship product with moulded fibre packaging manufactured by Cullen Eco Packaging, a specialist in moulded pulp packaging.
Each pod contains a complementary mix of seeds: the allotment mix, for example, sows cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage; more than 150 stores in the UK already supply Robson’s products.
The firm has seen substantial growth in recent years - from £77,000 turnover in 2019 to £335,000 in 2022 - and has gained a licensing agreement with Hasbro for Peppa Pig branded products.
Facing a grilling in front of the dragons, including a quip from department store entrepreneur Peter Jones that “a dragon can’t teach common sense,” Robson nevertheless came away with £80,000 from Sara Davies.
She said: “I liked Dan the moment I met him and I really resonated with his commitment to giving all people, from all walks of life, the chance to grow their own vegetables. This level of passion, along with a strong concept, is critical for business success so I’m looking forward to seeing him develop and grow his fantastic brand.”
Robson said: “The idea for my company was born out of my passions for sustainability and making gardening accessible. I am delighted that Sara, whose phenomenal brand was also created off the back of her own obsession for crafting, saw potential in our company at this critical phase in our journey.”
The episode was broadcast on BBC1 on 19 January at 8pm and is available on iPlayer.
David MacDonald, Cullen’s owner, congratulated Robson and his team on their achievement.
He said: “Dan is as passionate about innovation and sustainability as we are. Our moulded fibre packaging is a game changer not just for Grow So Simple but also anyone using plastic containers.”
Cullen manufactures more than a billion products each year, selling to companies in 34 countries.
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