December 5 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
With his first child on the way and investment in his company from Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones, it is easy to believe Ross Mendham when he says his “dreams have come true”.
Mr Mendham has seen the highs and lows of his life laid bare to millions of people on TV show Dragons’ Den, as he pitched for investment in his company, Bare Naked Noodles.
The 29-year-old former City of Norwich School pupil broke down in tears in front of the BBC cameras after being quizzed about his business motivations by the ‘dragons’.
Mr Mendham, who lives in Wymondham with his wife Kelly, 32, froze under the intense questioning and stuttered over his answers.
It was then that he revealed his wife had just had her third miscarriage, since they were married last June.
The former personal trainer then abandoned his investment pitch and left the studio.
“My wife had the third miscarriage a couple of weeks before the show (filmed in March) so when I had been getting ready for Dragons’ Den, that bombshell went off,” Mr Mendham said.
“That’s why I made a few mistakes when I got in there. The pressure is just unbelievable.
“But it was one of those things where I just couldn’t give up, I couldn’t let my emotions spoil that opportunity because I knew I could have prepared better.”
The episode was screened on BBC Two on Sunday night and viewers were able to enjoy seeing Mr Mendham’s pain soon turn to joy.
Encouraged to come back by the dragons - business experts Duncan Bannatyne, Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Kelly Hoppen and Piers Linney - Mr Mendham returned to the ‘den’.
Then it was Jones who rode to Mr Mendham’s rescue.
“What we have just heard, as we can see, is emotionally heart-wrenching and it’s great that you are here but you’re not here for sympathy,” Jones said.
“You’re here to get an investment in a business that you were supposed to demonstrate had a future.
“What you presented today, frankly, tastes like baby food (but) I think you’ve got a good brand.
“I think Bare Naked Foods is clever and that’s why I’m going to make you an offer.”
It was then the dream really came true for Mr Mendham, the son of former Norwich City player Peter Mendham.
Jones offered him £60,000 for a 50pc share in the business, saying that it still needed to be developed fully but adding: “I think you deserve a break and you’re the kind of guy that will make it, given an opportunity.”
Even more good news has since arrived for Mr and Mrs Mendham, as Kelly is now four and a half months pregnant, with Ross happily saying: “All is going as well as could be hoped.”
But for now he has turned his attention to making his business a success, with the investment allowing Mr Mendham and his business partner, his father-in-law Barry Gilham, the chance to get the low calorie, gluten-free noodles in production.
They are made in China and already being sold by Holland & Barrett and GMC, as well as through the Bare Naked Foods website.
The noodles are produced from the Asian-grown plant Konjac, which is low in carbohydrates, sugar and calories. The 100 gramme packs of the easy-to-cook noodles are marketed as having under 16 calories.
With Jones being the dragon who invested in Levi Roots and his now hugely successful Reggae Reggae Sauce brand, the resulting investment could well have totally changed Mr Mendham’s life.
“It’s incredible to think that I started a business during one of the most difficult economic climates ever, with a niche product that people don’t need to eat,” Mr Mendham added.
“Especially with Peter Jones, who would have thought that I would be in business with him a year ago?
“It’s just a dream come true.”
- For more information, go to www.barenakedfoods.co.uk
- The episode, the first of the new series of Dragons’ Den, is available to watch again on BBC iPlayer.