Dragons' Den invests in Dock & Bay, the company wanting to switch up your traditional beach towels
We spoke to Andy Jefferies, co-founder of Dock & Bay, on the idea behind the brand and time inside the Den.
We all think of beach towels as a necessity, but a desire? Not so much. Probably because they’re all the same: sand in every crevice; a rather unpleasant smell after folding it away in your straw bag… Nah, they’re not the nicest of conveniences.
But a new business on tonight’s episode (September 10) of Dragons’ Den wants you to think differently about those towels. It’s called Dock & Bay, and three Dragons have invested in the idea.
The company is the brainchild of Andy Jefferies, 28, and Ben Muller, 33, who both wanted to “break free from the corporate world” after working together in a retail bank for two years.
After several attempts delving into dating apps, Ben realised the idea for Dock & Bay had been staring them in the face - thanks to their love of travelling, with Andy saying: “Ben came to me with the idea of changing the towel market for the better.
“We knew one of our biggest problems was the traditional beach towel. Bulky, slow to dry, caught all the bad smells… Microfibre towels weren’t nice to look at and often small. So, we set out to combine the benefits of both with a high-end look and feel.”
Dock & Bay, which stocks beach and yoga towels, was founded in 2015 and has, so far, achieved huge success thanks to Ben residing in Sydney, Australia and Andy closer to home in London, with Andy saying: “We see the world as one place in the digital age and literally the sky is our limit.
“We have the biggest brand following in the UK but we sell the most products in the USA, with Australia, Germany and even Japan being great markets for us!”
It’s not bad considering their business journey began by ‘pulling a red curtain off a wall and sticking white paper to it’ to create the company’s first ever ‘towel’… Stick a slice of inspiration from seaside town Brighton and you’ve got yourself a Dock & Bay classic.
Originally, the company was called Cabana but the name had been trademarked across Europe so Andy and Ben weren’t “willing to take the risk for the future… We formed Dock & Bay by throwing words at each other that were relevant to the beach, the sea, outside!”
It all seems like a bit of a mash up, right? But appearing on Dragons’ Den has definitely made Dock & Bay a business to be serious about.
The duo’s time inside the Den came through Andy’s decision to appear on the show: “We’d been talking about getting investors on board so it seemed like the perfect platform.
“I never shy away from a bit of attention either, so a TV show in front of millions seemed just the place to put our pitch to the test.”
Jokes aside, he recalls his nerves kicking in as they entered the Den: “Our mouths went dry and we started forgetting our lines… But [we] watched back-to-back episodes of Dragons’ Den and had prepared for every question we thought they might throw at us.”
Then despite this fear of the unknown, Andy felt calm, describing the Dragons as “business-savvy people who are looking out for you”. The duo came out alive and with three great offers, just sweating a lot in the meantime.
One of the Dragons and investors, Deborah Meaden, spoke to us about the business: “When I first saw the towels, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to invest…
“Then when Andy and Ben started to explain, it became clear that this was a fresh take on an existing product, and the founders had a really strong understanding of their market. This is a business with soul and authenticity… They are their product. I love that.”
So with the Dragons on board and a classic Breton stripe design that has stood the test of time, we think you’ll see a lot of these towels on your next getaway. It seems that simplicity is Dock & Bay’s key to success, as Andy has said: “We’re massively inspired by brands like Mahabis, Havaianas and S’well.
“They’ve taken reasonably simple products and become synonymous for those in the market. That’s the goal, to be known around the world as the towel brand. Be famous for reinventing it.”
By next year, Andy would like to have Dock & Bay in retail stores and delving into new markets like the Caribbean.
But the biggest aim of all is to grow the company’s online presence further and be “the ones to watch” in the digital world, and they’ve “got a very exciting campaign in the New Year to help with this.” Watch this space…
Thinking of purchasing one of Dock & Bay’s towels? Head to the company’s website now, where it’s offering 20 per cent off to mark its appearance on Dragons’ Den. Go, go, go!