Dragons fight over new Kildare company

A new company set up by two Kildare women had two Dragons fighting over them on the Dragon’s Den at the weekend... but they refused the investment cash.

A new company set up by two Kildare women had two Dragons fighting over them on the Dragon’s Den at the weekend... but they refused the investment cash.

Tara Lane from Kilcock and Alison Cummins launched jewellery distribution business Aliara last August and it has been trading well since then.

On the show, the two ladies piqued the interest of several Dragons.

“We were delighted to be accepted to appear on the show,” Tara explained.

“We were in there for two hours and 20 minutes. It was a very long intense process.

“The feedback was very positive from them.

“Bobby Kerr didn’t really understand the business, so he bowed out early. [Magazine publisher] Nora Casey said she felt it would conflict with her advertisers in her own business which we understood, so she bowed out.”

Sean Gallagher and Niall O’Farrell were very interested in investing in Alaria. Mr. Gallagher wanted to put up half of the investment money in return for 20% of the business and Mr. O’Farrell wanted 30% for the same amount of investment.

This had the potential to give the two investors half of the business, something the two women were unwilling to hand over.

Mr. Gallagher tried to convinced Mr. O’Farrell to reduce his stake, which the latter refused to do. Eventually Mr. Gallagher bowed out, which ended the matter because Mr. O’Farrell wouldn’t put in the full amount of investment either.

“To have two Dragons interested was great,” Ms. Lane told the Leinster Leader.

“We wouldn’t have agreed to give away that much equity in the company anyway, so we’re not too disappointed.”

Aliara operates on a similar model to the ‘Avon Lady’ business model with Aliara providing a ‘business in a box’ to potential distributors and sellers.

The products in this case are jewellery, handbags, evening bags, purses and make up. Aliara provides stock and all the marketing materials a seller might need.

And, Tara Lane said to the Leinster Leader, the company is looking to expand into the UK shortly.

“There are so many people who are being made redundant, and they have loads of skill sets but maybe not the confidence to set up their own business.

“What we do is put the platform in place to enable them to achieve that.

“This business can be run in anyway that anyone wants to run it.”

They can attend parties or attend fairs or whatever they want to do. We’ll even attend their first party with them.

“And we’ll take back any unsold products – so we take the risk out of it for them.”

Tara explained: “We’re both housewives so we know what it’s like to run a family – and we understand these things, the little things that can get in the way of doing something like this.”