TV pitch

Lingerie brand seeks support from Dragons’ Den

Caroline Alexander and Sarah Jones
Caroline Alexander and Sarah Jones

Entrepreneur Caroline Kennedy Alexander, who is behind the luxury post-breast cancer surgery brand LoveRose Lingerie, will this week pitch for funding on the television show Dragons’ Den.

Ms Alexander is seeking £200,000 to help grow her brand after spotting a gap in the market for luxury lingerie while she was recovering from a double mastectomy and reconstruction. LoveRose is named in memory of her sister, Rose, one of two of her sisters to have died from cancer.

After studying fashion and setting up an international art gallery in Edinburgh, Ms Alexander teamed up with fellow designer Sarah Bell Jones to create bras, pants, robes and suspenders made from sustainable fabrics and finished with silk.

The two business partners will face the dragons on Thursday 24 March with plans to invest the money in expanding the product line offering.

LoveRose raised an initial £15,000 during a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help get the business off the ground and won a further funding boost at the Scottish EDGE Awards 2018.

The business attracted further support from London-based venture capital investor Ruth McIntosh, who said she invested in LoveRose because it filled “a real gap in the post surgery market, designing lingerie that is certainly functional, but more importantly beautiful and sexy.”

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One-in-seven women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime, with more than 500,000 women currently living well after treatment.

Ms Alexander said: “LoveRose is more than just bras – we put the emotional and psychological needs of our clients first. This is a market that’s shockingly underserved and so we’re helping to fill a massive and pressing unmet need.

“Our post-surgery bras give our customers confidence and renewed self-esteem.  Unlike other post-operation underwear, which tends to be bland, matronly, and synthetic, our lingerie is designed with wire-free engineering and crafted luxuriously.”

The innovative LoveRose collection includes pocketed bras for women who wear prosthesis and hidden support hammocks to negate the need for damaging underwires, while providing full support for the breasts or prosthesis.

Ms Alexander added: “Creating the brand has been such a personal journey for me, having fought off breast cancer twice myself, and having supported three of my sisters during their own battles with the disease.

“Post-surgery, I wanted to return to normal life, but I was totally underwhelmed by the lack of comfortable and attractive lingerie available to support the changes in women’s bodies, such as scarring, swelling and cording, and the need for extra support.

“I understand the emotional pain women go through, alongside the physical pain, including the anxiety and fear about how they will adapt their lives to the changes faced by their bodies.

“The response to LoveRose has been so encouraging, with 25% of our customers already coming back to us to buy more lingerie for themselves and their friends and relatives.

Presenting in the Dragons’ Den

“We’ve not only built a brand but also a community of like-minded women who want to support each other through their breast cancer journey.”

The benefits of wearing luxury underwear have been supported by fashion psychologist Professor Carolyn Mair, who founded the psychology department at the London College of Fashion.

LoveRose advisers include Christian Maher, a former director of lingerie brand La Perla, and Yvonne Webb, a former national account manager at chocolate maker Cadbury.

The brand has been developed over the past three years following initial research with the Maggie’s cancer care centres and the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. Ms Alexander also received initial support from Business Gateway Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise.

Glasgow cocktail developer seeks funding

Glasgow brand Panther M*lk will also be pitching for funds in Thursday’s programme.

Panther M*lk is the world’s first ever oat milk ready to drink cocktail. It was created when Paul Crawford, who owned Glasgow’s Sub Club, discovered the recipe at a Barcelona music festival.

It was inspired by ‘Leche De Pantera’, a potent cocktail that has its origins in 1920s Spain.  

The brand has enjoyed rapid growth as the booming ready-to-drink cocktail category is expected to double in the next five years.

A spokesman declined to say how much Mr Crawford is requesting from the dragons.

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