Danny Bamping pitched for his company “Bedlam Puzzles” on the Dragons Den episode aired on the 22nd November 2005. The product he was trying to sell to the Dragons was called the “Bedlam Cube”.
The Bedlam Cube was invented by Bruce Bedlam, who hadn’t pursued the product commercially, and instead Danny had spent two and a half years prior to the show developing the product and planning for its success in the UK. The Bedlam Cube comprises of 13 unique geometric shapes, has 19,186 different solutions, no packaging, and is a British invention by a British company. Theo Paphitis and Rachel Elnaugh decided to invest £50,000 for a 15% share of equity in the business each.
However, after the show had been recorded, Danny decided to pull out of the agreement with the two Dragons, opting instead to take out a bank loan for the amount of investment he required for his business and to go it alone without the help of the Dragons. He did this to avoid losing any equity to the Dragons so he kept full control of his business. The bank loan was used to start sales of the Bedlam Cube through retailers online and in one of London’s best toy stores, Hamleys.
Within two years and with the help of the TV exposure received through Dragons Den, the Bedlam Cube had been dubbed the next Rubik’s Cube of the toy world, and had become a phenomenon on a worldwide scale. In 2006, Danny said he believed over 100,000 Bedlam cubes had been sold since the middle of 2005, and turnover of the company was approaching £1 million per year.
The Bedlam Cube became a success in the retail toy, promotional merchandise and corporate gift market through Danny Bamping’s entrepreneurial skill and marketing of the product. In 2006, it was being sold through many major companies, including Argos, John Lewis, Tesco, Debenhams and WH Smith, and was highly popular during the Christmas period of the same year.
To meet the ever-increasing demand for the Bedlam Cube, Danny decided that the business would have to expand. In an eight to ten month period from early 2006, the company grew rapidly, increasing the number of employees to seven and moving to new premises. With the help of the cube’s inventor, Bruce Bedlam, Danny was able to launch a cheaper mini version of the cube in late 2006 to boost retail sales, and also decided that the business should start to operate internationally. A new distribution deal took the cube to South Africa, with approximately 120,000 cubes manufactured in China and then exported directly to South Africa. The cube was also distributed to Australia, New Zealand, and 17 different European countries.
In terms of the cubes appearance in the corporate and promotional gift market, the Bedlam cube was produced for major names such as O2, Siemens, PwC and BP. In the UK’s promotional marketing industry, worth about £20 billion per year, Danny became the winner of the first ever BPMA Entrepreneur of the Industry Award in 2006. In the same year, the company also won the award for the most innovative product.
Danny has always said that he aims to be as green as he possibly can in business, and has continued this promise to himself through Bedlam Puzzles. The Bedlam Cube has no packaging and all wooden versions of the cube are created from sustainable rubber wood. In 2007, Danny announced that production of the cubes would move to the UK and would start to be manufactured from recycled plastic. He believes his very brave decision to move manufacturing of the cube out of China and into Britain has paid off, saying he believed it showed that there had been a real shift in consumer trends in the toy sector of the retail market, as he was selling 4 Bedlam cubes produced in the UK for every one that had been produced in China. Costs in China for production and transport were increasing, so Danny decided to move production back to the UK, as he then could just order the cubes to meet demand rather than sitting on a large and costly inventory.
Danny has now set up another firm called Crazee Thingz, which is primarily used to develop toys and puzzles for markets on an international scale. In early 2009, the ‘Flagship’ toy of the Crazee Thingz brand was introduced, the Crazee Carbon Cube, which Danny claimed is the smallest ‘Green’ Toy in the world. The story seems set to continue.
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