Natalie Ellis – inventor of Road Refresher

There is one item that President Obama doesn’t leave home without when taking his dog, Bo, on a trip.  That item is the Road Refresher, which was famously rejected by the panel on Dragon’s Den in 2008 as they felt it was too challenging to crack the American market.  But Natalie Ellis, undaunted by their brutal criticism and her desire to succeed, forged ahead and has become a bonafide entrepreneur with a £1 million turnover.

One of the things that people will remember about Natalie when she appeared on the show was the heartbreaking moment when she had to reveal that she’d suffered a stroke which resulted in the loss of her first business.  Up until that time the Dragon’s were being particularly harsh with Natalie, but with the revelation of why her business folded they eased up slightly but still refused to invest in her business.

Natalie, however, has had the last laugh.  The idea for the Road Refresher actually came when she was recuperating from her stroke and having been through so much to get back to full health she was determined not to let the scathing opinions of the Dragons prevent her from fulfilling her dreams.  Natalie worked at cracking the American $11bn pet industry, and soon her efforts paid off when retailers starting flooding her with orders for the Road Refresher.

The Road Refresher is a non-spill pet bowl that eliminates spills and reduces your pet pooches slobber by up to 90%. The clever design of the bowl also keeps long ears and beards out of the water. The Road Refresher non spill pet travel bowl encourages tidy drinking as it limits the amount of water a dog can pick up at any one time; the floating plate inside feeds enough water through for your dog to drink, yet immediately restricts the flow whenever there is a surge of water from cornering, braking, kicking etc.

Natalie’s business is going from strength to strength and the demands for her product shows no signs of slowing down; in addition to the UK and US markets, Natalie now has growing customer bases in South Africa, the Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

Natalie’s story shows very clearly how important it is for every entrepreneur to have total confidence and belief in their product as well as the passion to take it forward because sometimes even the business experts get it wrong!

You can see videos of Natalie in the Den and on BBC here.

Interesting fact:
• After the rejection on Dragon’s Den, orders for the Road Refresher flooded in at the  rate of three a minute!


About the Author: Belinda Nnoka, is a freelance blog copywriter and is happy writing on any topic.  You can see some of her work for AD Skin Synergy, a natural skin care company and she is regular feature writer for Women Unlimited

Belinda Nnoka
Belinda Nnoka

Belinda was a staff writer for Women Unlimited from 2009-2010

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