Canopi Taps Dragon For €100,000

09 May 2016 | 09.41 am

Canopi Taps Dragon For €100,000

Dragon is taking a 35% stake in the detachable sleeve startup

09 May 2016 | 09.41 am

Entrepreneur Sandra Walsh is in the money after Dragons’ Den investor Gavin Duffy committed €100,000 for a 35% in her startup, Canopi Creative Ltd.

Walsh is a battle-hardened entrepreneur whose boutique ventures in Dublin were impacted by the post-2009 recession. However, Walsh (pictured) bounced back with a business idea for one-piece sleeves that can be worn under a sleeveless dress to provide arm cover for ladies. She called the invention Canopi.

“Canopi clips onto the bra straps and sits on the bra line so there are no added lines,” she explained. The sleeves retail from €40 and Sandra has them stocked in Brown Thomas, Arnotts, Harrods in London and a number of other retailers.

To produce the sleeves, Walsh linked up with Lucas Promotions in Kilcoole, a company that has offices in Shenzhen and sources low-cost manufacturing from factories in Asia.

The startup, which was formed in 2012, cost Walsh €20,000 to establish. “I used my own money for the development of Canopi. I didn’t approach anyone for funding as I did not want another bill to face if Canopi was not successful,” she said.

In the 12 months to March 2015, Canopi Creative Ltd booked a small profit of €3,000 and had a net deficit of €21,000. Walsh impressed all of the RTE dragons with her business and got Duffy on board to help fund her firm’s expansion into the UK and northern Europe, as well as ramping up online sales.

“When Gavin made his offer of €100,000 for 35% of the business, I had no hesitation in accepting. This company is going places and I know with Gavin’s experience, professional assistance as well as financial support, I will be more than happy with 65% of a successful international company with a multi-million turnover in the near future. I am absolutely delighted with the outcome and look forward to working with him,” said Walsh.

Duffy added: “Canopi Sleeves has already proven itself in the Irish market and I see significant export potential for it, particularly through online shopping sites where it will be offered as an accessory to sleeveless dresses.”

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