Bromley businessman enters the Dragons’ Den

PUBLISHED: 08:49 18 August 2014

Patrick Gavin and Chris Bibby with their product.

Patrick Gavin and Chris Bibby with their product.


An entrepeneur appeared on TV Dragons’ Den to make a pitch to the show’s panel of wealthy investors.

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

The two own Blooming Simple, located on Broadway, Bexleyheath, with Trent Scanlan and Russell Pinder. They travelled to Manchester to pitch their innovative Card Vase product on the programme.

It was invented by Tony Pinder, Russell’s dad, who died 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 unique patented product has a design for a number of occasions, including birthdays and new babies.

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

In the wake of this success, the pair decided it was time to find an investor and expand further, so they applied to Dragons’ Den.

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

Referred to as “cheeky chappies” by Peter Jones, they faces questioning 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 about the patent, and Kelly Hoppen and Deborah Meaden suggested that a better evaluation of the business would have been needed to possibly secure a Dragon’s backing.

The pair were not able to persuade any of the Dragons to invest in them, but the product was praised – Kelly said she could see the Card Vase selling in supermarkets – and they 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 they are currently negotiating a trial with the view to launching Card Vase across the company’s chain of stores.

They have also appointed a distributor, Paperlinx Retail, to handle nationwide operations.

Paperlinx has also presented Card Vase to supermarkets, where it has received enthusiastic and positive responses, and is now in the process of producing a new range of designs and displays to present to the 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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