Natalie Ellis, from Leigh-on-Sea, appeared on Dragon’s Den with a pitch for her product back in 2008. After establishing her company Prestige Pets in 2001, the entrepreneur went on to invent a non-spill dog bowl which she called the Road Refresher. The bowl, complete with a floating plate inside, had been designed to eliminate spills and reduce slobber from pets.
After her appearance on the show, many viewers disagreed with the Dragons and were keen to snap up the product for their pets.
Ms Ellis told the FT her turnover reached £1million at some point in 2008, with her first million pound profit gained in 2010.
And the entrepreneur’s dreams of “breaking America” came true, and in the most lofty of ways.
The story was picked up by the press in America, and grasped the attention of the White House.
However, America was not the only country where Ms Ellis managed to secure success.
Prestige Pets sells in over 42 countries, and Ms Ellis was able to branch out with a range of colours and sizes.
To this day, the product remains popular. But how did Ms Ellis develop her plan, and how can others follow in her footsteps?
She told the British Library: “I get my ideas from everyday life. If I see something that is hard, or I see a problem, I think, ‘Oh that could be really good if you could have a….’
“I scribble that idea down in the back of my diary to stop me darting off all over the place. I channel myself and do one idea at a time.”
Ms Ellis encouraged people to research their market, secure a good patent for their idea, and be prepared to spend time getting the product to market.