How do you go from being expelled from school twice by the age of 15 to being a contestant on Dragon’s Den with a business that this week captured the attention of the entire nation?
Leeds lad, Danny Savage knows how and is starting 2017 with a nice pay cheque for himself
Igloo Disco provides igloo shaped marquees for events such as weddings and birthday parties complete with lights, music, furniture and a DJ.
On the BBC2 show which was aired last Sunday, Danny pitched the venture, established three years ago, to the business experts with a request for £80,000 worth of investment but the Dragon’s decided not to back him.
The episode was actually filmed in June last year and since then Danny says the business has grown at such a speed – he got where he wanted anyway without help.
And in this last week, since the programme was aired, Igloo Disco has been “ten times” busier than a normal week, taking 400 calls in two days.
It is now having to invest in two more marquees on top of the five it already has in order to fulfil the bookings that have been flooding in.
“I am glad it turned out like it did and I still have that freedom to make my own decisions. I am creative and don’t like to have a boss or partners.
“This week has been chaotic but I love it and the business is now exactly where I wanted it without Dragon’s Den.
“I have been living off the minimum wage for two years and put everything back into the company. I lived off what I had got and used the profits to grow and grow but in February I will be able to pay myself a nice dividend.”
It hasn’t always been plain sailing to forge a business and career path that worked and Danny, of Calverley, admits he made mistakes along the way.
But he is quick to add, he learned from all of them and hopes other young people will take inspiration from his story.
After being forced to leave school due to being continually disruptive because he didn’t like being stuck in a classroom, he took on dead end jobs.
For years he harboured a desire to be a DJ but it didn’t happen until he was 26 and asked to play a house party.
He then staged his own party and streamed it on social media. That led to a UK wide club event called ‘Filth’, a four year residency in Ibiza and being the events manager for the Mint clubs in Leeds.
While he was in Ibiza he came up with the idea of doing pop up DJ sets from an ice cream van – like he had seen at Glastonbury as a teenager.
He put on his own festival three years ago at Ilkley Moor – but party-goers weren’t the only ones to turn up.
“We were decimated by Hurricane Katrina. We were literally at the top of Ilkley Moor in 75mph winds. It destroyed the campsite and we lost a lot of money. We didn’t bother the next year.”
But the ice-cream van concept was a huge success and he expanded his offering with the igloos adding: “That is how it started. There was no business plan for this – it just happened.”
He also offers online marketing and events advice for DJs and musicians.
He said: “I am a prime example of how you can turn your life around. I got into trouble, got expelled, put my parents through hell - and then I grew up a bit.”