When a business starts up and starts growing, it won’t be long before it needs that all-important ingredient. Cash. In the fourth episode of this series we catch up with Desmond & Dempsey and Kitchup to understand how they went about financing their business.
Episode 4: Funding
Finding the right funding for their pyjama brand Desmond & Dempsey has been a process of elimination for Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey. "We looked at crowdfunding but didn’t feel it was going to allow us to tap into the level of [investor] experience we're looking for."
The brand has enjoyed rocketing success since its launch in late 2014: it quickly landed wholesale orders from retail heavy hitters such as Selfridges and Christian Dior and its initial production runs sold out. After some months of negotiations the pair has successfully closed a funding round, finding the perfect investors for the business and getting the money that will allow them to expand their operation.
Twins Charlie and Emma Jones have been looking for investment to grow their kitchen space hiring platform the old fashioned way: by burning through the shoe leather. ‘They say you should have 100 “nos” before you get your “yes” – and I think we’re approaching that 100 pretty soon,’ says Charlie.
Given their business, Kitchup, fills a specialist niche – it connects people looking to rent commercial kitchen space with those who have vacant facilities, such as restaurants that only open at night – they want an investor who understands the food industry.
‘We’ve been trawling the internet for food focussed funds,’ says Charlie. ‘Angel List is a great resource and Linkedin as well. We recently exhibited at London Tech Week and had some good conversations there.’ The process has helped them hone their focus. ‘A lot of venture capital companies have said that at this stage we’d be better off finding a high-net-worth angel within our space – someone who’s been there, done that in the food industry,’ says Charlie. Charlie admits it has been exhausting – and pulls attention away from their core business.
Molly and Joel relentlessly go above and beyond to please their customers and their efforts have paid off. One mystery shopper was later revealed to be a Vogue editor, who has since become a vocal supporter. ‘Everyone says you can build a business using social media and influencers, but it’s not really about that,’ says Molly. ‘It’s about genuine personal connections.’