Cucumber Clothing is a 100% British made luxury clothing and nightwear brand for women, catering for sizes 8-20, using a revolutionary intelligent fabric that keeps consumers looking and feeling cool. Made in London, the clothing company was founded in 2017 by Eileen Willett and Nancy Zeffman, having recognised the need for stylish, sustainable sleepwear and loungewear.
Both founders had fallen in love with the brilliance of performance fabrics: cooling, anti-crush, stay-fresh, long-lasting and requiring minimal washing. They wanted to create a collection of clothing and sleepwear that encompassed all of these qualities in a fabric that felt beautifully soft against the skin.
Since their launch in 2017, Cucumber Clothing has been featured in numerous publications, from Vogue, The Sunday Times Style Magazine and Dragon’s Den to Lorraine TV, with hundreds of testimonials from happy customers.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic introduced various challenges for UK businesses. Cucumber Clothing had developed a solid plan for 2020, but the crisis put those plans on hold.
In an effort to manage and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, the owners registered with the London Business Hub Adviser Programme, to receive free one-hour support from a highly experienced business adviser. Financial support was needed, which started a conversation about financial assistance and the type of Government schemes available.
Additionally, Eileen and Nancy both sought advice on growing the business and improving their conversation rates, seeking to prepare for the post-COVID-19 business landscape.
As Co-founders of a start-up, we often find ourselves so deeply entrenched in the day-to-day of our business that it can become difficult to look at things objectively. Raj’s help has given us the opportunity to open up our vision, which in turn, has helped refine and enhance strategies towards success.Eileen Willett & Nancy Zeffman Founders & CEO of Cucumber Clothing
London Business Hub support
The adviser carried out a comprehensive diagnostic of the business during the first meeting, which led to an agreed resilience action plan for the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond, as well as offering expert advice to help address urgent areas of concern, such as cash flow.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), up to 12 hours of further 1-2-1 support were made available, expanding the conversation to explore business growth.
To help grow the business, the adviser encouraged Cucumber Clothing to focus on new priorities beyond the need for financial assistance and suggested using the time available to improve the positioning of the website to increase conversions and drive sales.
The business owners were encouraged to re-think their current messaging and develop a sales strategy. To help grow their business globally, the adviser connected the female entrepreneurs with the Department for International Trade (DIT) to explore opportunities to expand into new regions outside the UK.
Before you launch, it is all about research, research, research. Research everything you can about your market, from possible markets and market share, existing competitors, e-commerce platforms, sustainability, to anything more specific to your industry. The more you research, the better placed you will be when you launch.Eileen Willett & Nancy Zeffman Founders & CEO of Cucumber Clothing
The business applied and received the Bounce Back Loan in May 2020 which greatly supported its outlined plans. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Cucumber Clothing recruited a new member of staff to assist with the marketing of the company.
The company received a proposal from a new fashion platform to list their brand. In addition, they signed an agreement with a company in the Netherlands to start selling the business’s clothing in their store, thus expanding their sales outside the UK.
The meetings with the advisers helped the founders to think strategically and objectively about their business. It helped them to map out their vision despite being in a time of uncertainty, which in turn, has helped refine and enhance their strategies to achieve success.
Our company has benefited both from the adviser’s long-ranging business expertise, which has helped to plug some gaps in ours, but also from his ability to be creative in his problem-solving. In each session, he has thrown light on areas of our business that has helped us to reassess and improve our approach. He has very much tailored his advice to our individual business needs and in this has been generous in sharing his many contacts.Eileen Willett & Nancy Zeffman Founders of Cucumber Clothing
London Business Hub’s team of Business Advisers are here to support London businesses through COVID-19 and beyond. Advisers can help you work out your next steps, create a plan of action and provide a gateway into the vital resources, support and initiatives needed to sustain your business.
To book your free one-hour appointment with an expert London Business Hub business adviser, please click here.
The London Business Hub business support programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
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