Printer Friendly

Enter the Dragon; Mr P runs the rule over design hopefuls.

DRAGONS' Den star Theo Paphitis fronts a new BBC2 series following the trials and tribulations of budding designers in a format that's not a million miles away from The X Factor.

Enter Theo Paphitis looking severe in a tailored suit and peering intently out of his designer frames. But far from breathing fire, the 51-year-old Cyprus-born entrepreneur introduces himself, flashes a dazzling smile then gets down to the serious business of promoting his latest venture.

The new seven-part series called Britain's Next Big Thing, offers unknown designers and producers the chance to pitch their wares directly to some of the retail industry's power brokers - the buying team at London design emporium Liberty as well as those at high street giants Boots and Habitat.

Paphitis - who frequently referred to his wife on Dragons' Den as Mrs P - follows buyers and would-be suppliers as they experience the highs and lows of bringing a product to market, from initial pitch to a place on the shelf.

He goes behind the scenes at Liberty where, twice a year, designers queue around the block for the chance to show off their wares to the shop's highly discerning buyers.

It's a chance in a lifetime for the designers, whose fortunes could change dramatically if their scarves, hats or glassware are found precious shelf space.

"It was the first time, even with all my experience in retail, that I really took on board when people said to me: 'Mr Paphitis, I don't want your money, I want your contacts and access to buyers and your retail contacts'.

"It really brought it home to me how difficult it is to get in to see a buyer and what people are willing to do to get that opportunity."

Ever the entrepreneur, he was tempted to sign up some of the hopefuls himself. He was particularly taken with sisters-inlaw Maria and Sophie Law, who created Sweetling, a range of firsttime bras for teenage girls after struggling to find appropriate garments for their own daughters.

Other products, including a jockstrap adorned with dozens of evil eye trinkets, failed to win him over.

"What would possess someone to think there's a mass market in that product?" Paphitis exclaims.

"That everybody walking down the street, below their strides, would be wearing a jockstrap made out of evil eyes? It was nonsense."

"I don't want to be harsh in saying some people can be deluded because they really believe they have a product that's going to be the best-selling product in the world. Unfortunately the rest of the world thinks it's rubbish, and it's not gonna happen."

BRITAIN'S NEXT BIG THINGBBC2, Tuesday, 8pm

CAPTION(S):

Budding entrepreneurs are more interested in Theo Paphitis' contacts than his money
COPYRIGHT 2011 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2011
Words:453
Previous Article:Home made; STEFFAN RHODRI ON THE TRAIL OF WELSH PRODUCE.
Next Article:Smoking, boozing mums-in -waiting.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters