Monday, December 21, 2009

Nice to see the small guy win big!

An English inventor, scorned and publicly belittled by a TV panel of investors, decided to go it alone - and won big-time. The Daily Mail reports:

A swimming coach has turned his invention into a huge business success despite being ridiculed on the BBC's Dragons' Den TV programme.

Kevin Moseley dreamed up the idea for a child's buoyancy aid shaped like a shark fin and went on the BBC2 show hoping for investment.

The father-of-two, 45, recalls how Theo Paphitis warned the idea was dangerous and Duncan Bannatyne laughed in his face on the show in 2006.

Mr Moseley only developed a business plan for his idea so he could appear on the show, but pledged to go it alone after he was snubbed.

With the backing of his wife Nicky, 39, the couple remortgaged their home and cashed in their life savings to raise a total of £200,000 [US $321,200] for the new business.

He registered worldwide patents and started Swimfin Ltd from the garage of their home in Burscough, Lancashire, with one other employee.

In its first year of trading, Swimfin has become an international sensation with orders flooding in from 47 countries and sales topping 70,000.

Mr Moseley gave up his job as a swimming instructor to concentrate all his efforts on his company and it is expected to turnover more than £1 million [over US $1.6 million] next year.

He said: 'It was a very bruising experience to appear on Dragons' Den. I felt like I had been set up to be laughed off the show.

'The Dragons sat there with their big egos and just slagged me off.

'By the end of the experience I was angry and frustrated and determined to show them they were wrong.'

. . .

Manufactured in China and costing £19.99 [just over US $32], each Swimfin is strapped to a child's back and works as a streamlined self-adjusting buoyancy aid.

Learners with swimming skills sit low in the water, submerging the fin so it acts as a float.

As their skills and confidence improve, the fin raises out of the water naturally, allowing the child to do more of the support work themselves until they no longer need it.

There's more at the link.

I can't help getting the warm fuzzies over this. When the big-shot TV businessmen laughed, this man decided to make them laugh on the other side of their faces. I bet that right about now, they're wishing they'd listened more carefully!



Anonymous said...

You mean to tell me I can buy a dorsal fin? Truly, we are living in the future. If you'll pardon me, I'd like to know if they have in grey, preferably available from a shop near a crowded beach...

On the other hand, I'd hate to get written up as a Doofus of the Day for getting speared by an over-zealous lifeguard.


Shrimp said...

The problem with shows such as that one (and "Shark Tank" here in the US) isn't that the ideas are necessarily bad, but that the Dragons or Sharks don't see a way to make a ton of money on the deal, and therefore blow the inventor/business idea off.

Truly, some of the ideas are ingenius, and a few of them are outrageously stupid. But, even the stupid ones could turn a profit, given the right circumstances. I mean, who would've thought that Chia pets or pet rocks would've sold?

Anonymous said...

Awesome! What kid hasn't gone into the pool without the thought of being a shark at least once (and simultaneously playing the music from Jaws in their head)?


The Raving Prophet said...

The mad scientists had something- "Fools, I'll show them all!" is one heck of a motivator.