A LEIGH businesswoman who was turned down by experts on Dragons’ Den says ignoring their advice to ditch her ideas “was the best thing she ever did”. 

Natalie Ellis, 54, failed to interest the Dragons in her non-spill dog bowl back in 2008 which has since gone onto to become a “global phenomenon” and make her a millionaire. 

At the time, she offered 15 per cent of her Road Refresher business to the Dragons in exchange for £120,000 but was told there’s no “huge profit” in it. 

Echo: Pitching - Natalie Ellis on Dragons' Den in 2008Pitching - Natalie Ellis on Dragons' Den in 2008 (Image: BBC)

She also highlighted her plan to target the US market, but the experts warned her she would be “eaten alive” and the business would go to the “graveyard”.

However, she ignored their advice and went to America where her product went on Amazon and took off – resulting in her becoming a multi-millionaire and having high-profile clients, including former President Barack Obama, 62.

Speaking to the Echo, Natalie said: “If it wasn’t for appearing on Dragons’ Den and not listening to their negative feedback, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Echo: Successful - Natalie EllisSuccessful - Natalie Ellis (Image: Natalie Ellis)

“I wouldn’t want someone speaking that way when they don’t know the product, and you’ve got to make your own decisions, as well as shooting for what you believe in.

“I was not prepared to give up and always knew it had potential, and it looks like I was right.

“It was a hideous experience but not listening to them was the best thing I did.”

Alongside former President Obama, her other clients include Anne, the Princess Royal, 73, and even dragon Deborah Meaden, 64.

Echo: Client - former President Barack ObamaClient - former President Barack Obama (Image: PA)

Her pitch went far from smooth due to Bannatyne feeling there was “no huge profit” and Caan adding it was “the graveyard of all UK business”.

Even though Natalie broke down in tears following the response, she rose above it and met a distributor in the US who got her bowls on Amazon, which later saw a demand in sales that year.

In 2008, she had a turnover of £1million and then in 2010, the business made its first £1million profit.

Echo: Smiles - Natalie with the custom-made White House Road RefresherSmiles - Natalie with the custom-made White House Road Refresher (Image: Natalie Ellis)

She said: “I invented it for my dog, who’s no longer here, because she used to come with me on trips and the water used to go everywhere.

“So, I thought: ‘It would be great to have a bowl that didn’t spill.’

“Following the demand, we noticed the White House made a purchase, and I was in a complete state of shock.

“It was an amazing feeling and something I’m incredibly proud of.

“This really proved to me there’s always a positive that comes out of a negative situation.”