25 Sep 2013 05:30

An appearance on Dragons’ Den was a memorable moment for product designer Waqar Hassan – but for all the wrong reasons.

BUKcase founder Waqar Hassan
BUKcase founder Waqar Hassan

An appearance on Dragons’ Den was a memorable moment for product designer Waqar Hassan – but for all the wrong reasons.

His wooden iPad case failed a crucial test – actually holding the tablet in place.

But despite the failed attempt to raise £750,000 in investment, the 26-year-old says he has taken his experience and criticism from the BBC show to bring out a much-improved version of the BUKcase.

The handcrafted cases for iPads and other smart tablets are made by a team of master bookbinders with a combined experience of over 80 years, and are available online.

Hassan, a product design teacher at Manchester’s Chorlton High School, runs his business from Islington Mill, Salford. He came up with the idea for the BUKcase last summer when he made a bespoke case for his MacBook. Hassan started working on the product earlier this year and made the first BUKcase from his bedroom workshop.

It was brought to market in March when he went on Dragons’ Den looking for financial support to take the business to the next level and promote it as an international brand.

 


The BUKcase

 

The pitch, however, didn’t go as planned. When Peter Jones tried to fit an iPad into a BUKcase, the iPad slipped out and landed on his lap.

Hassan said: “It’s the first time that had happened and I was stunned. I had sold 50 products before the appearance and I didn’t have any complaints.

“The pitch, of course, highlighted some issues in the product and the dragons felt it lacked a little finesse. After all, BUKcase was pitched to help develop the product and iron out the few issues and we were hoping they would be able to assist, but that simply wasn’t the case.”

Instead of giving up, Hassan took on board the criticism and used it to develop a much more high quality product, which involved months of meetings, discussions, and redesigns.

The venture, which Hassan started with £500 personal savings, has been backed by a business partner.

They are now in talks with manufacturers who can make up to 2,000 products a month.