Former Dragon Kelly Hoppen turns to crowdfunding

The erstwhile TV star is swapping the investor's chair for the pitching floor.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 26 Nov 2015

It seems former TV 'Dragon' Kelly Hoppen doesn't fancy a trip back to Dragons' Den to pitch to her former colleagues.  The interior desiner has turned to crowdfunding to raise money for her new(ish) homewares brand Kelly Hoppen London.

She’s looking to net £1.1m for 10.9% of the business, which sells homewares online and in a small number of stores, and turned over £500,000 in the last quarter. Hoppen has a solid track record as an interior design, having worked for the likes of David Beckham and Martin Shaw, but it’s worth bearing in mind this investment is just in the new retail business, rather than her interior design firm.

‘The internet has changed the dynamics of the way that business gets done and now crowd funding, and Crowdcube in particular, enables exciting new companies to source capital to fund growth,’ Hoppen said.

The erstwhile TV star won’t be running the company directly, but serves as creative director. Managing director John Gardiner said there was a gap in the market for ‘mass-pirational homewares’. ‘Over the last year or so we have proved that there is a demand for our products, tested the business model, built a platform that is scalable and robust, curated a portfolio of gorgeous affordable luxury products and attracted a good customer base,’ he said. Investors will be eligible for a 10% discount, but only if they put up more than £1,000.

The round values the business at more than £10m, something its management would probably say is justified by its fast growth and the big name attached to it. But given it made a pre-tax loss of around £1.3m last year on sales of around £1.52m (and expects to make a loss of £956,000 this year) it doesn’t seem like the sort of deal a Dragon would be happy to put their cash into. I’m out.

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