The businessman who was twice turned down by the Dragons

Rusty Cally

Cally Russell never imagined he'd decline a proposition in the Dragon's Den, but he's now done it twice.

The Edinburgh businessman makes an appearance in the most recent episode of the BBC series, eight years after turning down an investment offer from Dragon Peter Jones during a previous appearance in the den.

Only a select few people have made multiple appearances on the show, including Mr. Russell.

It is understood that no one has ever declined the potential investors on either occasion.

The 35-year-old businessman expressed his displeasure at how meager their offers were.

As it takes a lot to reject a Dragon, Mr. Russell says, "I've been left feeling anxious and a little stressed about it.".

But I'm confident that I made the right choice; all I need to do is show it to you. ".

Mr. Russell first appeared in front of the Dragons in 2015 with his concept for a fashion app called Mallzee that used the data produced to aid retailers in choosing better clothing purchases.

Cally Russell
2015 saw Cally Russell present the Dragon's Den with a pitch for his business, Mallzee.

At the time, he declined a Dragon Peter Jones offer because he wanted an excessive stake in his company.

Although the business expanded, it was severely harmed when retailers ceased purchasing stock because of the Covid pandemic.

In order to concentrate on This is Unfolded, his new project, he shut it down in 2021.

It states that it produces clothing without the usual waste produced by major brands.

26 billion pieces of clothing are produced each year, according to Mr. Russell, of which about 30 percent are never sold.

To cut down on waste, his company only begins producing the clothes after an order is received. After that, it takes four to six weeks to get to the customer.

On social media, he has a following of about 3,000 women who vote for their favorite designs before the most popular ones are put up for sale on his website.

In addition, Mr. Russell claims he wants to provide bonuses to the Indian garment factories he uses and provide money so nearby kids can receive an education.

Steven Bartlett and Peter Jones watching Cally Russell's pitch
Cally Russell declined Peter Jones' invitation.

He was requesting £75,000 in exchange for 2% of his company during his most recent meeting with the Dragons.

Mr. Russell received no offer from Steven Bartlett, but three of the Dragons did, and they each gave £75,000 to him.

Steven referred to Touker Suleyman's offer as a "Dracula offer" because it was bloodsucking, while Deborah Meaden's offer was 12 percent, Peter Jones' was 15 percent, and Touker Suleyman's was 30 percent.

Mr. Russell declined Touker's offer because he believed working together would be detrimental to both of their mental health and neither of their careers.

Then, the businessman attempted to reduce Peter Jones' 15% ownership stake to 4% or 5%, prompting the Dragon to inquire as to whether he was joking.

He "simply couldn't go lower," according to Mr. Russell.

Cally Russell arriving at the Dragon's Den
The Dragon's Den welcomes Cally Russell.

Deborah Meaden said she didn't think a compromise was possible because they were so far apart, but she still wished him luck.

Peter Jones added that he hoped Mr. Russell wouldn't regret turning him down twice.

Peter and Deborah would have been fantastic partners for This is Unfolded, and Mr. Russell told BBC Scotland that he was still disappointed that a deal to bring them both on board couldn't be reached with the percentage they demanded. ".

He claimed that if he sold too much stock in the business at such a young age, it would be impossible for him to raise additional funds in the future.

One of the biggest decisions I had ever made, according to Mr. Russell, was to turn down Peter Jones the first time.

"I experienced waves of fear the entire trip back to Edinburgh that I might have made the wrong choice.

But I think I made the right choice this time by rejecting him. ".

But that doesn't mean I haven't experienced some sleepless nights since, he continued. ".

His most recent appearance in the den was captured in July in Manchester.

At the time, he had invested £600,000 in his business.

Later, he acquired another £600,000.

Dragon's den
Five Dragons were in the way for Cally Russell.

"Going up in front of the Dragons is a very scary experience," Mr. Russell said. You spend two hours in front of them without a break while your adrenaline is pumping throughout the day.

"They question you extensively, and you have a limited amount of time to decide what investments to make. It's a challenging environment.

"I am very sorry about having to decline their request; I really didn't want to, but we were unable to come to an agreement that satisfied everyone.

. "

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