Anyone who watches Dragons’ Den will know it’s hard enough to secure investment offers from the Dragons. So it was all the more surprising that YogaBugs founder, Nell Lindsell, turned three offers down! You can catch up with the latest chapter in the YogaBugs adventure on Wednesday evening’s BBC2 programme, ‘Dragons’ Den: How To Win In The Den.’
You only have to look at Nell’s background to understand how her determination and energy, coupled with her great love of yoga, drives her forward. She does all this, in common with many women, by juggling her busy working life with being a mother – to a family of four children. Nell first discovered yoga when she went to India on what she describes as ’walkabout.’ As a child Nell spent countless hours doing gymnastics. She found that yoga embodied the flexibility and creativity of gymnastics, but with a great deal more safety and creativity.
Originally Nell studied Sivananda Yoga and deepened her practice by studying with Iyengar, Ashtanga and Jivamukti teachers both in the UK as well as the States. Her teachers have included Shiva Rea, David Swenson, David Life and Baron Baptiste. Nell went on to train as a yoga teacher with the British Wheel of Yoga and to run a large complementary health and yoga centre in South West London. It was there that she developed and refined her concept of yoga for children – YogaBugs and Yoga’d Up – having realised that children today have far fewer opportunities to stretch their imagination as well as their bodies compared to previous generations.
If Nell was to achieve her dream of bringing yoga to children in nurseries and schools across the UK, she realised that YogaBugs would require significant further investment. That’s when she first entered the Den, and as a result YogaBugs started to become a recognised name. Nell and her business partner, Lara Goodbody, asked for a £200,000 investment in exchange for a 15% equity stake of their business. They secured – and to the Dragons’ amazement – turned down two offers of investment from Richard Farleigh and Theo Paphitis! After the programme, Peter Jones offered to buy the business for £1.5milion. Nell and Lara turned Peter down too.
This led to Nell producing a series of yoga adventures for GMTV and a DVD called Yoga Bugs Vol.1 – Ocean And Jungle Yoga Stories. She then wrote The One Bug Your Kids Should Catch and contributed to ‘The Exercise Bible’ by Joanna Hall as well as ’Your Body, Your Baby, Your Birth’ by Jenny Smith. Nell is currently the Yoga Consultant to RDF Media on their new and successful CBeebies’ programme Waybuloo which is transmitted worldwide to Australia, Poland, South Africa and Canada and around 75 other countries now.
As founder of YogaBugs, Nell’s role has involved setting up and implementing our franchise programme and international trademarking. As a result, there are currently around 40,000 children attending classes each week in nurseries and schools across the UK. The company recently sold its first Master Franchise for YogaBugs Australia and Nell flew down under to deliver training there in 2010.
Nell has now taught yoga for 20 years. Her extraordinary achievements in yoga result from that first walkabout in India!