“You’ll live to regret this” That’s what Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones told YogaBugs founders, Fenella Lindsell and Lara Goodbody after they turned down funding offers for their child-focussed business YogaBugs.
We asked The Bugs Group CEO Mark Goode, what happened and how did it influence the business over the years
When Nell and Lara appeared on Dragons’ Den in August 2006 they were asking for a £200,000 investment to develop what was our franchise operation at the time and a way of improving the cash flow for the company. “Dragons” Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones both offered them the money, but for double the percentage of the business that they wanted to offer. They said no. “Dragon” Richard Farleigh then offered them £200,000 on his own but for 30 percent of the business. Again, somehow the two of them held out. In fact, once the cameras were off, Peter Jones even offered to buy the whole company for £1.5m. however, after great thought the two of them again said no.
£1.5m is a great deal of money for a company that had not even got off the ground yet and I guess a lot of people would have took the money and ran, I think at the time the belief in the business was such that no price was going to get them to walk away from their dream.
The day after it aired we actually fielded another 17 serious offers, more than 1,000 emails but we did make some fantastic contacts.
Did they do the right thing?
Well, YogaBugs has grown into a multi-million pound operation with not only classes across the UK but offices now in Australia, China and Singapore as well as receiving enquiries from around the world on a regular basis.
YogaBugs also now forms part of The Bugs Group, joining together with FootieBugs, DanceBugs, RugbyBugs, TennisBugs and MultiBugs. All with the aim of encouraging children to enjoy the world of sport.
But what makes YogaBugs so successful…
In a nutshell, YogaBugs is a way of bringing the benefits of yoga inspired movement to children aged between 2½ -7 years, with “Yoga’d Up” catering for children aged 8-12 years. Traditional yoga postures, breathing and relaxation techniques are taught through story adventures that are aimed at capturing the children’s imagination.
Many yoga postures have child-friendly names, such as, Dog, Surfer and Crab and the classes incorporate a series of warm-up exercises, a story for the younger children and fun-themed classes for the Yoga’d Up age group. They include between 15 to 30 yoga postures, games, songs and relaxation time.
What better non-competitive, all-inclusive sport can you get?
To date YogaBugs now have over 40,000 children taking classes each week (many via private funding, or free funding via Schools Sports partnership & lottery funding grants).
It has also trained over 1,200 teachers and is constantly expanding.
“Turning down the Dragons was quite something,” I guess “We will never know what would have happen if we had taken the money” but I think most people would say it has all worked out very well in the end.
To watch YogaBugs on Dragon’s Den Click here
To find out more about YogaBugs or The Bugs Group Click here