THE LITTLE IDEA THAT MADE IT BIG
The BBC’s Dragons’ Den should be kicking itself right about now. The venture capitalist television show where entrepreneurs pitch ideas to a panel of business experts and ask for financial backing not only turned down James Nash and his “cup-a-wine” concept, they flat out told him the idea was useless. Well, Nash persevered and brought his idea to life. Now, not only is he having the last laugh, he’s laughing all the way to the bank. The invention is a single-serve plastic glass of French wine with a tear-off lid and today British retailer Marks & Spencer is struggling to keep up with demand. Last year, Nash asked the Dragons – Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis, Duncan Bannatyne, James Caan and Deborah Meaden – for £25O,OOO for a 25 percent stake in his business, Wine Innovations Ltd. However, they gave him a grilling and declined because they were unconvinced anyone would be interested. Duncan Bannatyne was particularly dismissive, saying: “People don’t want to buy wine in plastic glasses like that with a seal on top. For that reason, I’m out.” Apparently he doesn’t know much about what people want.
The 187ml glasses equate to about a quarter of a bottle of wine. The new M&S Le Froglet wine individual glasses, which each cost £2.25 (US$3.35) for a Shiraz, Rose and Chardonnay, were launched in June and the store has found they quickly sell out. An M&S spokesman said: ‘The glasses are merchandised in our ‘Food on the Move’ section, which is obviously the aisle people on the go head to – particularly office workers. We think that they are proving popular with people who want to perhaps enjoy the summer with a glass of wine in the park as part of an impromptu picnic – either after work or for a relaxing lunch. They are also popular with commuters who want to enjoy a drink on the train home from work to wind down. We have found that they are very popular in locations popular with tourists.” M&S winemaker, Belinda Kleinig, said: “This is a really exciting step for M&S – our research has shown that our customers really like the greater convenience of lighter weight bottles so we thought we’d take it one step further with great quality wine ready to drink from a glass.”