Ireland

Dragon’s Den: Irish dog treats entrepreneur tells Dragons ‘I’m out’

Richard Marles was seeking £150,000 for 5% of his business.

A man standing in a warehouse smiling with a table of dog treats beside him
Richard Marles Richard Marles, a Westmeath entrepreneur whose company Park Life turns over more than €1million in annual revenue, appeared on Dragons’ Den alongside Labrador Penny. Pic credit: BBC Studios.

An Irish Dragons’ Den contestant who took his healthy dog treats business before the UK tycoons on Thursday night has rejected their investment bid.

Richard Marles, 38, a Westmeath entrepreneur whose company Park Life turns over more than one million euro in annual revenue, used the Dragons’ trademark rejection line “I’m out” against them.

He appeared on the BBC One show alongside Labrador Penny, asking for £150,000 for a 5% stake in Park Life, whose flagship product is a frisbee-shaped dog treat which can be thrown more than 40 feet.

The company says “Fris-bix” encourage dogs who struggle with recall to return to their owners’ side for more.



Following an intense session in the Den, Mr Marles received offers from both Peter Jones and Touker Suleyman – but ultimately decided to turn them down.

The offers were the full amount of £150,000 for 30% of the business from Mr Jones, and an investment of £75,000 for 20% from Mr Suleyman.

Mr Marles said: “I considered the offer but given how much I have put into the company, I had to walk away.

“I got a good laugh out of them when I told them ‘I’m out’ as usually it’s the Dragons who say that.”

Richard Marles with Penny (Libby Marles)
Richard Marles with Penny (Libby Marles) Richard Marles with Penny (Libby Marles)

The Athlone-based entrepreneur added: “But the real star of the show was Penny, my Labrador, who inspired our entire range of Park Life healthy treats.

“She fell asleep during my pitch, and the Dragons told me she was the most relaxed contestant they have ever had.

“She’s usually a very chilled dog, so I used that as an opportunity to talk about our fastest selling product, the calming treat Chill-Bix, and she did a great job marketing the line.”

Park Life said it had recently signed a deal with Disney for a European licence to make dog and cat treats with the Disney branding.

Mr Marles, who is married with three children, said the idea for the company formed in 2018 when his family started baking treats for Penny at home.