Dragon’s Den hopefuls Natalie and Alison recently bagged themselves a whopping £50,000 investment in their business, March Muses, from long term Dragons Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones.
The two best friends run a company that specialises in diverse festive decorations, which are rare to find in commercial stores and admitted that their idea came from one of their children’s heartbreaking requests.
The brand’s creators, single mothers Natalie Duvall and Alison Burton, spoke to OK! Magazine about their pitch.
Natalie, who is a mother of two girls, said that there was “no time for celebration” when the pair left the den because they had to “rush to the station to get home to the children”.
She admitted: “We were really excited, but we had to talk in whispers on the packed train because we’d been sworn to secrecy until the programme aired.”
The 36-year-old said that it had been “hard” to keep a secret but was grateful for the support that Dragons Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones had given their company, which they originally began in preparation for Christmas back in 2019.
Natalie was already business partners with Alison when they decided to join forces.
They both had full-time jobs and began “offering careers workshops” in secondary schools and “Christmas elf events,” which see “elves visiting homes, like a personal grotto”.
Natalie recalled: “One day, I was decorating the Christmas tree with my daughters Sophia, then seven, and Olivia, who was four, when Sophia asked: ‘Mum, can you get black angels?’ It was a shock to hear her question. It hadn’t really crossed my mind before.”
The entrepreneur told her daughter that decorative angels can have “any type of skin colour” and set about trying to find some examples, but “couldn’t find anything anywhere”.
She said that the only result was from America, with an extortionate shipping fee attached, which she called “sad and disappointing”.
Natalie took her troubles to best pal Alison and they quickly decided to take matters into their own hands, taking special care to “make sure the shapes, skin tones and hair were right” as they “wanted to have black figures, but also lighter black and brown, so that everyone was represented”.
Natalie said that they “used their own savings” and produced six different figurines, including “a Father Christmas and an angel with afro hair”.
The businesswoman proudly said: “Watching Sophia, Olivia and Alison’s daughter Kira’s reaction when they first saw them was an amazing moment. They couldn’t get over the fact that the angels looked like them and there was a black Santa.”
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