Dragons Den fans gobsmacked as woman spends £300k on shoes ABBA would reject

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Dragons' Den fans were left gobsmacked on Thursday night, as one entrepreneur revealed she'd spent an eye-watering £300,000 for what some dubbed "the world's ugliest shoes".

South Africa-born businesswoman Gaynor Saunders entered the Den to ask for investment in her recyclable shoe business, which featured interchangeable straps for an eco-friendly approach.

Gaynor showcased her "fully customisable" shoes from her company It's All About Shoes, explaining that she'd already secured a patent for her "modular tracking system" or "gliding mechanism", which allows the straps to be changed.

The bottom of the shoe is then completely recyclable, as she explained that 23 billion shoes are produced every year – most of which end up in landfill.

But it wasn't until Gaynor revealed that she'd splashed out £300,000 in securing the patent that viewers – and Dragons – couldn't quite believe what they were hearing.

As Theo Paphitis wondered: "So, how much have you spent on this so far?", Gaynor replied: "The patent and all the development is close to £300,000."

Tej and Theo couldn't restrain themselves from saying: "Wow!", as Sara simply stared open-mouthed at the entrepreneur.

And viewers were in a similar state of shock, as they flocked to Twitter to quip: "£300,000… shoe've gotta be joking!"

Someone else echoed: "£300,000!!! You should invest in a binocular store… because someone saw you coming!"

"£300,000 for something that looks like a shoe that ABBA would reject!" another giggled, while a fourth viewer posted: "300 grand!! You could buy a shedload of Jimmy Choo for all that!"

Many more weren't impressed by the look of the product itself, with one claiming it looked like "a curtain track [attached] to an ugly shoe!"

However, Gaynor assured the Dragons that it was merely a prototype, which was still being developed into a marketable product.

And, impressively, she'd funded the business herself, as Tej Lalvani asked: "So you've spent £300,000 and you still haven't got a working product?"

The entrepreneur replied: "Patent fees are expensive."

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Deborah Meaden softened her voice as she told the businesswoman: "The problem with this is, you've spent all that money on a patent that at the moment you haven't demonstrated that will work."

Eventually, Touker Suleyman put the entrepreneur out of her misery, as he offered her the £50,000 investment she was after – in exchange for a whopping 45 percent of the company.

He said it was his "dream" to create an eco-friendly children's shoe company, and wanted to derail the business plans slightly in favour of moving away from the women's shoe market.

  • BBC

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