Saturday 24 March 2018

'Dragon's Den' sensation forced to sell up its slick gizmo as bank fails to stump up loans

Roisin Burke

CUSH'N SHADE was a sensation when it appeared on the British Dragon's Den programme in 2007.

It received 120,000 hits to its website in 48 hours and a surge of orders after appearing on the show and wowing Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden.

The dragons didn't come on board in the end but the company, which makes a patented cushion and shade that attaches to sun loungers, went from strength to strength.

"We were supplying some of the largest retailers in the US yet couldn't get finance from the banks. That is why we're going into voluntary liquidation," said company co-founder Jamie Jenkinson.

"We're stocked in Bed Bath & Beyond stores for the fourth year in 600 stores, and the order is there for next year.

"Cush'n Shade was one of the top selling products on Kmart's website, and we were in discussions with them to do more.

"We were also in discussions with Walgreens, and had relationships with the DRTV [shopping channel] companies."

"We had letters of credit from Bed Bath and Beyond, and orders of over $100,000 [€79,000] but we needed to get the finance to produce the order. Everything was going really well but just couldn't get credit from Bank of Ireland," said Jenkinson.

"The only way we could secure the stocking loan was to put a very sizeable cash amount into an account to act as security. And we managed to do that, but we knew we wouldn't necessarily be able to do it for the next order. Bank of Ireland said if you can't do that, you can't get a loan.

"We had got over six loans of €70,000-€80,000 each time and all were repaid on time, so the history with the bank was there, the creditworthiness was there, and we were being paid by a very, very big retailer," he said.

This lack of credit has forced the company to sell the licensing for the product to a big US distributor, and liquidate.

"We were getting into the biggest retailers in the States, but were let down by the Irish banks," Jenkinson said.

Bank of Ireland didn't respond to requests for comment.

Sunday Indo Business

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