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If you've ever seen the BBC TV show Dragon's Den, you'll know that most entrepreneurs come away with zero investment or end up giving away more of their company than they had initially hoped.

However the founders of Lost My Name came away with £100,000 of investment for just 4% equity.

Lost My Name is a personalised children's book with two different versions - The Little Boy Who Lost His Name and The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name.

The animals and creatures that the child meets on their journey correspond to the letters that spell their name.

So a girl called Jess might meet a jester, an elf, a snail and a sheep.

The brand's website allows users to preview the entire book by entering the name and gender of a child, which has proven to be a popular tool for prospective buyers.

We spoke to co-founder Asi Sharabi to find out more about the company and how the appearance on Dragon's Den has impacted their fortunes...

How was the Dragon's Den experience? It seemed a little fraught there for a few minutes. 

Indeed, it was pretty intense at times. We were in the den for over an hour and what you see is an edited version with a heavy focus on the deal structure but I have to say that overall it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. 

How has the business progressed since then? 

Being on Dragon's Den is to some extent like re-launching your business - there are short term opportunities and gains but we focus mainly on the long term.

It's been only a week since the show but the response has been very positive, doors seem to open quicker now...

This video shows Asi's appearance on Dragon's Den and the immediate impact on site traffic

What does your team look like? 

There are around 17 of us right now. Eight people on the product team (developers, designers), two to three in the growth team and on customer support, then there's operations, the FD and the founders.

We are always on the lookout for a seriously brilliant talent - product, developers, etc. 

How has Piers helped the company so far, apart from the obvious financial investment? 

Piers has been a great help since we closed the deal back in May. He's a great generalist and his focus was on PR and marketing so far.

He's going to be a good mentor with regards to finance, scale and technology. 

How are you marketing the product? Which channels have been most successful so far? 

Our main focus is on the product. The product is our marketing - that's always has been the case.

We think about product in a very holistic way and we obsess about every touch point with our customers - starting at the website, our emails, the packaging, and of course, the book itself. 

As a rule, we only do PR and performance marketing. We decided to not spend any cash on marketing channels we cannot measure and optimise.

Initially our focus was online PR. When we were still in 'pet-project mode' we did all the outreach, seeding, social etc. so there are more than a hundred reviews out there on small and big blogs and other online publications. 

Recently we started to spend on Facebook ads and we see an incredible ROI. We've seen up to 600% ROI on Facebook as well as positive returns on SEO and PPC too.

We're continually looking for new channels that will help us to attract more people to the site and/or tell the story of the Lost My Name book. 

Are you looking to sell through your own site, or sell through other retailers? 

Predominantly direct on our site but we're slowly building relationships with major retailers. Currently our biggest re-seller is notonthehighstreet.com.

In a way we owe them our breakthrough and the jumpstart in awareness and sales. We're now in talks with John Lewis, Hamleys and pushing hard on the US market. 

What kind of traffic boost does an appearance on Dragon's Den give you? 

From 40 visitors to 13,000 in eight minutes.

Looking at the site, it seems you have paid attention to good UX. What was the thinking behind the site design? 

Many many hours of UX thinking went to this site. We are obsessed with great design, experience and execution.

As I said earlier, this is our product just as the book itself is. We wanted the customer journey to be as seamless, as easy (three seconds to see your book), and as magical as possible.

Our customers range from the UX/product geeks in our community to grandparents and everyone in between.

Apart from simplicity and a good journey we really tried to bring to life the sentiment and magic of the book itself. 

You've given a lot of prominence to the simple form to enter child's name and preview a book - what proportion of visitors use this tool? 

We wanted people to be able to preview the whole book on full screen and invested heavily in that.

The challenge was to communicate that every book is different and almost as wonderful as the child it is being made for.

Unlike all other personalised books in the market where they change the name of the protagonist to the name of the child, with our book the child's name is the story. In July 46% of all visitors created and previewed a book.  

But we're just about to launch a completely new website. The existing one is a hack on a hack on a hack and it was never built with the intention to scale to a full ecommerce platform with multiple products, currencies, languages etc.

So we took all the learning from the existing one and we built a proper ecommerce platform - we would love to have your community reviewing it when it's out in beta in few weeks. 

David Moth

Published 6 August, 2014 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1682 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Matt Lovell, Head of Group Analytics & Digital Insight at Thomas Cook Group AirlinesEnterprise

Great example of something which in it's essence is so simple and yet looks like it will be hugely successful.

I love the fact that the website design is so focused that it isn't cluttered with loads of unnecessary surplus information, instead just encouraging create a book, especially given the desktop and mobile sites give equally as good an experience.

about 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

Loved their appearance on Dragon's Den for two technical reasons:

(1) the company had a reasonable valuation of £2.5M, unlike most businesses on the show which are valued very cheaply because they desperately need the PR boost from attracting a dragon,

(2) there was an actual negotiation, because the company had agreed unacceptably generous terms with a previous VC that needed changing, and these had to be changed.

Very glad they are doing well, but I'm worried they won't have a second product ready in time to leverage their customer base. If people give one of these books as a birthday present, there needs to be another book for them to consider next birthday.

about 2 years ago

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