Sometimes being turned down for investment is a blessing in disguise. Cucumber Clothing is an amazing new brand, carving out their space in a crowded market.

Recently founders Nancy Zeffman and Eileen Willett made it through to the TV show recording stage of Dragon’s Den. But despite their detailed preparations and encouraging launch sales, they were turned down.

Now they feel this was a blessing in disguise, enabling them to retain control of the business, and stick faithfully to their brand values.

I invited Nancy and Eileen to the Starting To Scale podcast so we could talk about how their original dream of a small business that fitted around their lives, has morphed into one of the hottest new sustainable clothing brands for women including:

  • The role design consultants play in helping them execute their vision
  • How they’ve created a distinctive brand in a crowded market place
  • How customer research both before and after launch has influenced their business decisions and product range
  • The lucky break at launch that kickstarted their early sales
  • The early distribution challenges that lead to them bringing fulfilment in-house

And they shared the inside story of their experience of being on Dragon’s Den, including what was involved at each stage, and the benefits they’ve enjoyed, despite being turned down for funding.

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