Bexley business enters the Dragons’ Den

PUBLISHED: 08:48 18 August 2014

Patrick Gavin and Chris Bibby with their product.

Patrick Gavin and Chris Bibby with their product.


Two entrepreneurs were given the chance to appear on television and pitch on Dragons’ Den.

Chris Bibby, of Welling, and his business partner, Patrick Gavin, of Chislehurst, faced Duncan Bannatyne, Kelly Hoppen, Deborah Meaden, Piers Linney and Peter Jones.

The two own Blooming Simple, on Broadway, Bexleyheath, with Trent Scanlan and Russell Pinder.

They travelled to Manchester to pitch the innovative Card Vase.

It was invented by Tony Pinder, Russell’s dad, who unfortunately passed away last year.

“It’s a new spin on getting a card, it combines a greeting card and a vase in one gift,” said Patrick.

“It has a writing panel that can be personalised, holds water and a full bouquet of flowers.”

The patented product has a design for a number of occasions including birthdays, new-borns and “with love”.

The pair secured a licence deal with Carte Blance to produce a Me to You range, creating vases for the world’s largest foil balloon manufacturer Anagram International and partnering with a US distributor to supply to Walmart, Majier and Hy-Vee.

After enjoying this success they felt it was time to expand further so they applied to go on Dragons’ Den.

“We’ve conquered America and we are now back in the UK,” Patrick said.

Referred to as “cheeky chappies” by Dragon Peter Jones, they were quizzed on their figures.

“Do you want my money today or five years in the future?” asked Duncan Bannantyne.

“Realistically, what’s it worth today?”

Piers Linney asked Patrick and Chris if they had any concerns regarding the patent, and fellow judges Kelly Hoppen and Deborah Meaden suggested that a better evaluation of the business would have been needed to secure a Dragon.

The pair were not able to get an investment from any of the Dragons, but the product was praised with Kelly saying she could see Card Vase selling in supermarkets, and Chris and Patrick remain optimisic about future plans.

“We are hoping to make a bit of a name for ourselves over the next six to 12 months,” Patrick said.

Since leaving the Den, Patrick and Chris have had a successful meeting with Morrisons and are currently negotiating a trial with a view to launching Card Vase with the supermarket chain.

They have also appointed a UK distributor, Paperlinx Retail, to take care of operations.

Paperlinx has also presented Card Vase to supermarkets where it has received enthusiastic and positive responses. A new range of designs and displays will be presented to major UK retailers.

“With the exposure from the show and interest from the supermarkets, [we] hope that Card Vase will become a recognised brand in the card, gift and floral markets,” said Patrick.

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