What makes a bad hair day worse is a hairbrush that can’t help fix it. When this happens, Tangle Teezer may have the solution for you. The hair care company is mostly known for its original hairbrush, which can instantly detangle dry and wet hair. Founder Shaun Pulfrey got rejected on Dragons’ Den, but his company became a massive hit after the show. As of 2023, Tangle Teezer is worth £70 million.
About the Founder
Shaun Pulfrey was born in Grimsby, England. Not much is known about his educational background, but he spent most of his early career as a hair colorist. He worked at salons like Nicky Clarke’s, Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa, Toni & Guy, and Pierre Alexandre. This long track record inspired Shaun to write about the haircare knowledge he gained over the years.
His book, I Wanna Be Blonde, was published in 2002 and it featured many of his expert hair coloring tips. Not long after that, he decided to try another path, entrepreneurship.
Founding the Company
Pulfrey noticed that there was a lack of products to detangle hair. So, the hair colorist decided to make the first one and started researching and building a unique hairbrush design in 2003.
He developed a three-tier, 400-tooth hairbrush that can fix knotted hair regardless of whether it’s dry or wet. In 2005, Shaun remortgaged his flat to fund the business. Tangle Teezer launched in 2007. The founder had patent issues in getting his product onto the market, but he gave away over 300 samples to get customer feedback.
Dragons’ Den Appearance
Shortly after starting the company, Shaun Pulfrey felt that he needed more capital to scale the business. Thus, he went to Dragons’ Den series five, asking for £80,000 for 15% of the company.
The entrepreneur had a rough presentation and even Deborah Meaden got offended after Shaun assumed that her hair color was not natural. Then, Tangle Teezer’s issues started to unfold, and the Dragons did not like it.
Shaun did his best to defend his company, but things just seemed to get worse for him as the pitch went on. He was mocked and criticized but also got some tips. However, he went home empty handed. In hindsight, not getting a deal is why Pulfrey is worth an estimated £12.4 million.
After Dragons’ Den
Pulfrey got the last laugh after Dragons’ Den, when the episode aired his website crashed as 1,500 orders were placed. In 2008, Boots took a bet on the product and soon the business became profitable. He slowly worked his way into wholesalers and gained many celebrity clients, including Victoria Beckham and Cara Delavingne. In 2014, Tangle Teezer had £14.4 million in sales.
Tangle Teezer products are now sold in over 75 countries, both online and offline. Some of their biggest customers are Nordstrom, Amazon, Walmart, CVS, and the official website, TangleTeezer.com. By now, the company has sold over 50 million units!
Their original hairbrush has a 4.5-star rating on the CVS website. The company’s revenue was a little shy of £30 million in 2020. The following year, Pulfrey sold the majority of his equity to Mayfair Equity Partners, and the deal valued Tangle Teezer at £70 million.