Laura Bartlett is the brainchild behind House of Coco magazine, a luxury publication that allows her and her team to travel the world. But it wasn't an easy ride to get there...
It was back in 2013 that I appeared on Dragons Den, 25 years of age and overly confident with my pitch idea that there was no way I wasn’t walking out of there without the investment. Up until that point, I had run my magazine with ease, starting it with £0 and becoming Leeds most talked about Fashion Magazine within two years, and I had never had anybody tell me no before. Until I stepped in to the Den.
If you ever need to be brought back down to earth I recommend doing it on national TV in front of millions of viewers. I’d particularly recommend having Peter Jones annihilate you to the point that you start crying in the lift, which, by the way doesn’t even move. This was a huge learning curve for me, here’s the top three things that experience taught me…
1 - Sometimes you need someone to tell you no
If you are running a business and things are going smoothly, everybody says yes and nobody challenges you then you’re more than likely living inside your comfort zone, and we all know that nothing grows from there.
Having people tell you no will help you to try harder, fight more for what you believe in and ultimately make you raise the bar.
2 - You can make a positive out of any negative situation
No, I didn’t get the investment but I did get exposed to a mass audience meaning that I not only gained a load of really supportive followers, but I also got offered a whole host of opportunities. I am still dining out on the fact that I appeared on the show and it’s so many years ago! People still recognise me from it (I blame my huge curly blonde afro for that) and opportunities still come in on the back of it.
3 - It’s so rewarding to prove people wrong
My company, House of Coco, is living proof that the Dragons didn’t get it right with me. As the third largest seller out of 4000 titles on newsstand.co.uk, stockists that include Harrods and Selfridges and now available on Readly to their millions of subscribers, we’re doing pretty good! It’s a platform that has allowed me and my team to live our best lives in every single country around the world and gain experiences that I could only have dreamed of back then but the best bit, I did what people told me I couldn’t.