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Neurotica slays dragons for cash

Contemporary womenswear brand Neurotica has developed a diffusion range and is looking for new accounts following brand owner and designer Victoria McGrane’s appearance on BBC TV show Dragon’s Den.

McGrane won a £75,000 cash injection from dragon Peter Jones in exchange for a 35% share of her business on the edition which aired on Monday, July 28.

According to McGrane, who initially asked for £56,000 from the dragons, the majority of the investment would be used for manufacturing the diffusion range, exhibiting at trade shows, PR and marketing. “I want to widen the base of independent boutiques stocking the brand and I’d like to place it with a department store too,” she said.

Neurotica’s diffusion collection, Neurotica White Label, will be launched as a concession in Topshop’s London Oxford Street flagship on Sunday August 31. McGrane says: “At the time when Peter came to visit me I hadn’t finalised all the details with the Topshop deal. Peter just said ‘Let me call Philip’ [Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green].”

McGrane told Drapers she was in talks with Topshop about rolling out the diffusion range to more of its stores.

A launch event at next month’s London Fashion Week will be used to generate interest for the main Neurotica brand, which was highlighted as a brand to watch in Drapers’ autumn 08 coverage of LFW event OnOff (Drapers, February 23). Spring 09 is the brand’s fifth season.

OnOff director Lee Lapthorne said of the brand’s Dragon’s Den appearance: “As investments go it’s not massive, but being on the show will help to raise the brand’s profile. And good for Victoria – most designers need investment, but how many are brave enough to put their hearts on their sleeves and go on national TV? It had the potential to be a disaster.”

He added: “Neurotica has a commercial handwriting but with an artistic quality too. The brand picked up stockists after last season’s OnOff, which for a new project at LFW is impressive.”

Neurotica was the first fashion enterprise to secure investment from the show, in which fledgling businesses pitch for investment from a panel of potential investors. McGrane was the only entrepreneur to win funding from any of the dragons during the hour-long episode.

The brand has two stockists in London – Beyond the Valley and 172 Brick Lane – with others in Japan and the US.

Prices range from £30 to £120. For more information, call 020 8806 7503 or email sales@thisisneurotica.co.uk.

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