A dad whose lockdown project with his children turned into a successful business is now trying his luck on TV show Dragons’ Den.
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Derry Green used to own a European transport business and would spend alternate weeks in Spain and the UK.
But he had to stay at home during lockdown in March 2020 and was able to spend more time with his children Sophia and Noah, now 11 and nine.
Looking for things to do, the family decided to start camping on the garden lawn – and it all spiralled from there.
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Derry, 41, said: “We woke up the next morning and it was wet grass and soggy and not very exciting for them. The next day I built a deck for them.
“As it went on, we wanted to spend more time outside and built more and more. I basically moved the living room from inside the house to outside.
“By the end of the lockdown, I had built what was basically a glamping pod.”
The family’s creation was the subject of internet articles which went viral and people asked Derry if they could rent the glamping pod.
He decided to make it available via Air B’n’B and by the next day it had become fully booked for two years.
Derry turned the sideline into a business and by February 2021 he had obtained planning permission to open Secret Garden Glamping on four acres of woodland in Skelmersdale.
It features luxury glamping pods, with facilities including private hot tubs, underfloor heating, a pool table, a bar, a sauna and more, depending on the pod.
It is now the most viewed, most followed and most booked glamping site in the UK, with nearly half a billion views online and is fully booked for around two years.
Derry described the growth of the business as “phenomenal”.
He has taken on friends and relatives as staff and even met his partner Chelsea there – she was one of the first guests and they are expecting a baby in April.
He now hopes that Secret Garden Glamping will pick up more fans when he appears on BBC1’s Dragons’ Den.
Derry was approached by a member of the show’s team on Instagram and asked if he would consider pitching business ideas to the panel of successful investors.
He said: “I thought, why not? Let’s see where it goes.
“We are turning away about 1,000 bookings a week and I am doing all this on my own, so I need to go national and get bigger. When the opportunity came up, I thought it would be brilliant to speak to people who have taken businesses from nothing to multi-million pound companies.”
Derry could not reveal what happens in the show, but did say he spent hours being quizzed in the Den, though only a short section of that will be shown on television.
He is looking forward to seeing the episode and is positive about the impact it could have on his business.
He said: “I’m really excited for it to come out and see where we can go next.”
Dragons’ Den will be broadcast at 8pm on Thursday, January 11 on BBC1.
published 2024-01-12 06:49:16