Sisters who became the youngest entrepreneurs to face the Dragons’ Den panel impressed one of the tycoons so much that he invited them to his London headquarters.
Touker Suleyman, who has 40 years’ retail and manufacturing experience, gave invaluable advice to inventor Sky, 12, and her sister Kia, 14, when they visited him in half term.
The pupils from Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls presented their innovative gadget Crikey Bikey, a harness to help parents teach kids how to ride a safely, on the BBC Two show back in September.
Despite none of the Dragons buying into their business, the girls’ professionalism and hard work has been rewarded with some priceless ‘Touker Time’.
Sky, from Ross-on-Wye, invented the harness as part of a homework assignment while in Year 6 at Inglefield House, and Kia has now taken on the role of financial director of the business.
“Dragons’ Den was an amazing experience for us, and Touker has helped us in lots of ways,” Sky said.
“He put a review of Crikey Bikey on his Bike Soup website for us, which helped increase our sales, and later he also offered to mentor us!
“This is so good because it means that when we get stuck with a decision we can ask him and he will give us advice.
“This has made us feel more confident and it makes running our business a lot more fun and exciting.”
Ali, the girls’ mum, took the sisters to Touker’s office in the Capital, from which he runs fashion brands Hawes & Curtis and Ghost.
“In half term we met Touker in his London office,” Sky added.
“We gave him our agenda and asked him our questions.
“It was so cool – he helped us understand what to do straight away!
“He made phone calls and invited different people in his team into our meeting to help us sort each of our issues.
“We really liked the way he explained things and he gave us some new ideas we hadn’t thought of.
“Right at the end of our meeting he gave us ‘Touker Time’ tshirts. I wore mine all the way home.”
Crikey Bikey has very much become a family business, with the Ballantynes receiving orders from retail giants Mountain Warehouse and Evans Cycles.
The harness has a handle on the back for parents to hold on to, putting a stop to bad backs and scraped knees.
The idea came to Sky after she saw a dad struggling to teach his child to cycle in the park.
Thanks to their influential new mentor, the girls are hoping Crikey Bikey’s success will continue to grow.