After generating a terrific reception from retailers, consumers and the media, the boys decided to search for investment to help sustain the growth of the business and meet the orders that were being placed. They also wanted a mentor to offer them support when necessary. The brothers needed a unique way of approaching potential investors so they came up with the original idea of making the Brothers' Den.
The aim: Find an investor who was up to Gandys standards.
The idea: Approach successful self-made entrepreneurs to seek investment.
The location: A cool bar in London with a unique atmosphere of an exotic beach and beach huts.
The boys’ uniform: Shorts and Gandys flip flops.
Round One: Unsettle the Suits.
The brothers set up their own version of Dragon’s Den to challenge their potential investors. One by one, the investors came into the bar, to be met by two young lads wearing flip flops and shorts, looking like they were chilling out in a beach hut bar. This ultra relaxed environment immediately unsettled the ‘suits’ - exactly what the boys had wanted! The idea was to take these business gurus out of their usual comfort zone in order to reveal their true colours. Were they hard-nosed, profit-driven dealmakers, or did they have real values similar to the brothers?
One of the potential investors was Dominic List, whom the brothers had seen on Channel 4's Secret Millionaire. Rob and Paul had enjoyed watching the episode Dominic was on so they thought he might - just might - be the business entrepreneur they were looking for. In the Brothers’ Den he answered the questions well, demonstrating real business acumen and a deep understanding of the Brothers’ plan. Unlike the many others who had failed before under the quick cross-fire questioning, Dominic revealed another side to his character, a real passion for business driven by a strong set of values and ethical principles.
Round Two: Get the Real Deal.
Rob and Paul chose two of the seven business gurus they had met to come back for round two of the Brothers’ Den. The final two included Dominic, their Secret Millionaire. In the final round, the boys wanted to get the real deal behind these two impressive entrepreneurs.
One entrepreneur invited the brothers to a flash hotel where he bought them lunch and discussed how he could help the brothers. Flash hotel or not, Rob and Paul were still wearing their flip flops.
Dominic on the other hand invited the brothers to his house. They all sat round the dinner table and enjoyed a home-cooked meal made by his wife - a Brazilian who shared Dominic’s passion for social enterprise. Dominic talked about the work he had done with charitable causes over the years and shared stories of his travels before he became a ‘suit’ in London. Dominic was excited about joining the Gandys journey and was passionate about building a social enterprise that had real purpose behind it. At this point the brothers knew they had found their entrepreneur. Not only did he have exceptional business acumen but he also shared similar values to Rob and Paul.
The result: The brothers found their new business partner!