Midlothian business in the frame with BBC TV dragons

Kristen Hunter.
Kristen Hunter.

A Midlothian business which sells picture frames made from old whisky barrels tried to win over ‘dragons’ by offering them a dram of the amber nectar last Sunday night.

Rosewell firm Whisky Frames unfortunately missed out on the £50,000 investment they had hoped to win on BBC Two show Dragons’ Den, but said the entrepreneurs had been impressed by the company.

“We were so nervous when we pressed the elevator button,” said Kristen Hunter, who owns the firm with her husband, Ross.

“We had to wait for ages and then the door opened and the five Dragons were right there in front of us.

“We had made them all an individual frame and then we offered them a wee dram of whisky from the same distillery as the barrels that their frames were made of. It was 10 o’clock in the morning, which wasn’t ideal, but they all seemed to quite enjoy it.”

The couple, who run the company from its Orchard House base, had made personalised frames containing a photograph of each of the Dragons, laser engraved messages and monogrammed rivets – even using Campbell tartan backing to decorate the gift for TV Dragon Jenny Campbell.

“We really tried to show them all of the personalisation we could do on the frames,” said Kristen, who spent over an hour in the Den pitching to the Dragons when the programme was filmed last May.

“Deborah Meaden was teetering on investing. But in the end, they decided that they just didn’t feel they would get enough return on their investment within a few years and wished us luck.

“It was all a really good atmosphere in the den. It is our favourite TV show so we really enjoyed it.”

The couple, who founded the award-winning business together three years ago, pitched their idea to dragons Deborah Meaden, Peter Jones, Jenny Campbell, Tej Lalvani and Touker Suleyman in a hope to raise enough money to expand the firm and increase overseas exports.

They had been willing to offer the dragons up to 15 per cent equity in their company for a £50,000 investment, but had their offer rejected by all five entrepreneurs.

Kristen said: “They all had really positive things to say and were complimentary about the product.

“Deborah, in particular, was lovely. We had told her we didn’t see it as a lifestyle business and she said she thought it was a lifestyle business, but ‘you’re going to have a good lifestyle from it’.”