When Aretha Solanke appeared on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den on Sunday night, she was met with a row of sceptical dragons, who saw little value in her lingerie gadget the T-Strap, which is designed to suspend tights from a bra, preventing them slipping down.
But Theo Paphitis, the man behind the lingerie chain Boux Avenue, offered to trial her product in his stores rather than invest in it – a rare offer from a hard-nosed businessman.
The programme was filmed in spring 2012, and Solanke is still in discussions with Boux, as well as with other retailers. She also sells the product online at www.tstraps.co.uk, and says that in the hours since the programme aired on Sunday night, she has seen approximately 30% more sales online with no extra marketing.
One of the stumbling blocks for the dragons was believing in the problem for which she has created a solution: that tights can slip down during the day, an uncomfortable and embarrassing situation. Solanke says this surprised her more than anything.
"I’d prepared for every possible scenario in the den except for that one," she told LI. "But I know so many women who have this problem. And at school there were loads of girls who had the ‘Superhero effect’ – where they’d wear a pair of knickers over their tights to stop them falling down."
Solanke says she has had a positive response to the product from retailers. "My plan at the moment is to get it out into as many retailers as possible."