TellTails’ Hannah Gourlay takes on The Dragons’ Den
Back in October, Dragons’ Den viewers sat gasping as entrepreneur and artist Hannah Gourlay delivered an extraordinary pitch for her business of costume tails, TellTails, in an attempt to win investment from the panel.
TellTails were intent on making a scene and inspiring every viewer at home to ‘claim back their tails’ – “tails which have been so mercilessly robbed from us through evolution”. With a mere three minutes to win them over, Hannah was determined to wow the Dragons. Jaws dropped as three creatures entered the Den and prowled onstage, sporting a fox tail, a swooshing dinosaur and a rather pregnant naughty squirrel. along with Hannah, dressed in a top hat, monkey tail and a rather mischievous smile.
After what can only be described as an unusual pitch, which included flaunting their tails and – how can we say it – wiggling their bottoms at the judges, Hannah invited the Dragons to ‘try one on for themselves’. Peter Jones was the first to have a go – with a dinosaur tail, no less – while Deborah Meaden quickly laid claim to a fox tail.
As the lights went down the atmosphere soon turned to money, and although clearly enamoured with the idea, the judges scrutinised the young entrepreneur, putting her through her paces, before delivering their verdict. And then, after what can only be described as an intense silence, three of the Dragons revealed offers. New Dragons Tej Lalvani and Touker Suleyman joined forces in their bid while Deborah came in with a bid of her own.
Overwhelmed and clearly bouncing inside, Hannah held a cool exterior, quizzing the judges on their offers. And, with such attractive but very different offers, tension built as Hannah consulted the wall not once, not twice but three times. “It was totally surreal” says Hannah. “This is everything I’d been dreaming of. But I knew who I wanted to join forces with”. So after returning from the wall, Hannah accepted Deborah Meaden’s offer. “Deborah had that knowing glint in her eye. She instantly bonded with her tail. I could see she shared our vision to grow the company into a successful, long- standing, global business”.
TellTails makes wearable animal tails for kids and adults, designing and supplying an extensive range of creature tails. Founded in 2012 by Hackney artist Hannah Gourlay,TellTails came about after she attended The Secret Garden Party, where she sported a handmade lion’s tail. The tail was such a big hit with fellow festival goers that it soon evolved into a business and, thus, TellTails was born.
In just two years, the start-up reached cult status in England among kids and adults alike at music festivals – in fact, it sold out in record time in 2017.
TellTails now boasts a worldwide customer base including celebrity “wagglers” such as Kate Winslet, Prince Harry, Helena Bonham-Carter and Russell Brand.
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