Ex-Acne Sufferer Secures Double-Dragon Investment For Her Plant-Based Supplement Brand

Botanycl’s range includes SkinClear Elixir hailed by customers as a ‘miracle’ and a ‘game changer’ for clearing up problem skin

An ex-acne sufferer with severe anxiety has entered the Dragons’ Den, and come out glowing having secured a £60,000 investment from two Dragons, in return for a total 25 per cent equity share in her plant-based skincare and health supplement business Botanycl.

The latest episode of the 20th series of the programme (23rd March, BBC One at 8.00pm) sees petrified entrepreneur Caroline Sims – who was two months pregnant at the time – enter the Den initially seeking a £60,000 investment, in return for a 10 per cent equity share in Botanycl.

Breaking Protocol In The Pitch

For her pitch, producers broke with protocol and placed a sitting stool inside the Den to help alleviate Caroline’s fears of public speaking and symptoms of severe anxiety.

The emotive pitch saw Caroline talk about how she suffered from skin problems since she was a teenager, which continued into adulthood. In 2015, the now 32-year old’s skin wreaked havoc on her confidence; she cancelled plans with friends, and no longer let her partner see her without make-up. When laser treatments and chemical based spot creams failed to make a difference, the entrepreneur began tirelessly researching the problem.

Her findings led her to conclude that a hormonal imbalance was the root cause, as well as identify the best herbal ingredients to address the problem. After supplementing her diet with these ingredients, she was amazed at how quickly her skin cleared up and the texture had also improved. Knowing first-hand the detrimental effect acne can have on confidence and self-esteem, Caroline decided to launch the Botanycl SkinClear Elixir supplement so that she could help other women too.

Leaning on The Dragons For Guidance

Since its launch in 2018, Botanycl has received hundreds of five star reviews on Botanycl’s site and Amazon. The hero product – Botanycl SkinClear Elixir – has been hailed as a ‘miracle’ and a ‘game changer’* by customers for clearing breakouts within weeks. The ambitious entrepreneur’s vision is now to become the plant-based version of Vitabiotics, where ex-Dragon Tej Lalvani is CEO.

It seems Caroline’s visit to the Den has only seen the brand’s popularity grow further. Following high praise from Deborah, it was Sara Davis, Touker Suleyman, Steven Bartlett and Den stalwart Peter Jones that made offers to invest. In a unique twist, Peter asked Caroline to sit on the stool before making the first offer, which set the ball rolling for a further three offers from other Dragons. The simple furniture item came to represent the anxious entrepreneur’s triumph over fear.

After back-and-forth negotiations – and a disagreement between Steven and Touker – Caroline accepted a double-dragon deal with Peter and Steven for a total £60,000 investment, in return for a total 25 per cent equity share (12.5 percent each), dropping to 20 per cent if the Dragon duo get their money back in 18 months.

The Experience Of A Lifetime

New mum, entrepreneur and Botanycl founder Caroline Sims says: “I had a chance to go into the Den in 2019 but I backed out as my anxiety was so bad, I was on medication for it. When I had a second chance, I forced myself to say yes. I had three days to prepare, drove to Manchester and had an anxiety attack when I got to the studio.

“I cried to the producers who were wonderful, and kindly placed a stool in the Den to help with my nerves. I still can’t believe I overcame my anxiety and fear of public speaking – whilst being two months pregnant – and left the Den with two Dragons. And the surprising twist where Peter made an offer as I sat on the stool blew me away. It felt amazing.”

Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones explains why he decided to invest: “Botanycl has huge potential to become a really big business. My decision to invest is also based on wanting to work with her. The lengths Caroline has gone to to find a solution to her skin problem is inspiring, and the results look fantastic. It’s great to be part of the journey with her.”

Dragons’ Den investor Steven Bartlett says: “I think the brand is filling a gap in a large, and mostly untapped market when it comes to treating the hormonal aspects of spot-prone skin. It’s a narrative I think could do really well and so I want to support that, and help take Botanycl to the next level.”

Caroline ends by saying: “Peter and Steven’s belief in my vision to become the plant-based Vitabiotics is validating. I’m a one-woman band at Botanycl, a new mum, and I will continue to work hard to not let anxiety stop me from achieving my goals. With Peter’s amazing retail connections and experience of launching brands globally, coupled with Steven’s social media knowledge, I have every confidence the Dragons will help expedite Botanycl’s growth in 2023 and beyond.”