TMPL is a trendy skincare startup that caters to men of color. Their products are designed for those who identify as black, asian, or have mixed ethnicity. Founders Adam Hutchinson and Raphael Babalola pitched their business on season 20 of Dragons’ Den, they got a deal with Steven Bartlett but it never closed. As of 2023, TMPL is worth an estimated £1.5 million.
About the Founders
Adam Hutchinson and Raphael Babalola are two old school friends from London. Not much is known about Raphael’s education, but Adam has a degree in graphic design from the University of the Arts London.
After graduating, Adam worked as a graphic designer for companies such as SpaceAgency Architects and Black Dog Publishing. He later held more senior design roles at Pivo and Checkout.com.
Raphael started his entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of Wanderpay. After two years at the firm, he was hired by Makers as an enterprise consultant. Then, he became an analyst at EY and a growth manager at Ecommerce Thinking.
Hutchinson and Babalola were inspired to start the business as they got sick of big companies using dangerous substances in products marketed to people of colour. They wanted to build a skincare brand that caters to their unique needs.
Moreover, they wanted to use natural ingredients and spent hundreds of hours researching the best ingredients for their products. The company launched in late 2020 under the name Temple but shortened the brand to just TMPL.
Getting on Dragons’ Den
The skincare brand received a grant from a competition run by Kwanda and PayPal. They also got extra funding from the Experian Entrepreneur Challenge and raised £155,000 from a private investor.
The guys were looking to raise capital to fund growth and build brand awareness. Adam and Raphael delivered a strong introduction but the Dragons’ didn’t like the valuation. A £2 million valuation for a company with £20,000 in sales was crazy.
When questioned about the valuation by Peter Jones, Raphael claimed the startup had raised money at a similar valuation recently. It turns out the guys raised at a £1.1 million valuation and Dragons’ weren’t too pleased with the £900,000 difference. Luckily, they were able to recover from this awkward moment.
After Dragons’ Den
The publicity from appearing on national TV was massive for TMPL as around four million people tuned into the episode. Not surprisingly, January was the best month of the year for sales! According to a post by Raphael on LinkedIn, the company has done over £100,000 in revenue as of September 2023.
Despite getting an offer from Steven Bartlett the deal never closed after the show. The guys did meet up with Steven and his team for a three-hour strategy session which was positive. In the end, contact fizzled out and the founders didn’t believe the deal made sense for them.
TMPL products can be purchased from a number of small retailers, but they are mainly available on their website, TMPL.care. There, visitors can take a skin quiz to learn more about their skin type. Their face toner costs £19, face moisturizer is £20, and the face cleanser retails for £21.
On Trustpilot, the men’s skincare line has an average rating of 4.7 stars from 89 reviews. TMPL is a promising startup operating in a competitive market and will need to focus on acquiring repeat customers. For the business to succeed in the long term, they’ll have to grow their customer base outside of the UK. From looking at their slick website, it’s clear the founders are savvy digital marketers.