Some of our readers will know you from Dragon’s Den – looking back, was it worth facing the Dragons?
I always thought whether I got investment or not, Tangle Teezer was a visual product, and it was a platform to show people how it worked. Ironically, being turned down was some of the best publicity we’ve had as a brand. The Dragons have since deemed Tangle Teezer the idea that got away. Essentially, they had a good TV show and I now have a good business.
What inspired you to design the Tangle Teezer?
As a former hair colourist, I understood how women suffered from tangles. I took a quirky and personal way I had of detangling tangles (nifty moves with brushes and combs used together) and turned my tried and trusted method into a product. It took three years of research and development – I lived in the British Library for a year! As a child I was quite insular, so the actual process was quite comforting for me.
Did you expect it to become such a hit with parents?
No, it was a complete surprise. I was so focussed on hair salons – a market I knew I could take into on my own, I never dreamed it would be in Boots within two years and a hit with mums. In fact, parents have been integral to its success. It really does make brushing your child’s hair so much easier in terms of speed and painless detangling, and news soon spread on parent forums and at the school gates. The emails we get from grateful mums are amazing. I never tire of reading how Tangle Teezer has helped with the school run, bath times, bedtimes etc in terms of detangling hair with no tantrums and no tears. We’re now a top seller in Hamleys. Because of this we’ve really looked at our kid’s product, the Magic Flowerpot and readdressed it in terms of new colours and ideas, all of which will be revealed in spring 2013.
Who would you love to endorse your product?
Because our demographic is so diverse – we’re a global brand, I wouldn’t like to stereotype us to one hair type. But Lara Stone, Amanda Holden and Nicole Scherzinger have all sung the praises of Tangle Teezer.
What did you want to be when you were a boy?
Coming from Grimsby, I was busy trying not to be a fisherman! My dad, uncle, cousins and elder brother were all fisherman. Hairdressing gave me an opportunity to leave and travel.
Tell us a secret about London?
It hasn’t changed, you have! After sampling many London areas in the past 22 years, I’ve settled in the area I like best and love London even more.
What’s another baby product you’d recommend to our readers?
Farleys Rusks! I love to eat them as a snack and comfort myself they have vitamins and minerals in!
How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?
Reliable, trustworthy, honest, but a tornado!
The festive season is coming up – what’s your top tip for Christmas Day?
I don’t go all out for Christmas Day. I try and have a little bit of Christmas in my life every day! I love giving my family and friends random gifts ang generally celebrating life throughout the year.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
The same as last years! To buy a Boston Terrier and take exercise inducing walks in my local park.
Photo: Shaun accepting his Queen’s Award bowl and scroll for Enterprise in Innovation.
Questions by Victoria Krumrei