A start-up business co-founded by a Northumbria University graduate has triumphed on the hit BBC One show Dragons’ Den after securing financial backing worth £30,000.
Pretty Mama was formed in 2018 by Jenny McFadden, who was in her final year of a Law with Business degree at Northumbria at the time, and her sister Alex. The sisters wanted to design and produce a collection of maternity clothes, especially for breastfeeding mothers, after Alex – who has a fashion degree from Sunderland University - had struggled to find feminine and comfortable clothing when she was pregnant with her daughter. The aim, in their own words, was to: “empower mothers on their nursing journey by feeling beautiful, confident and comfortable”.
Building on early success, Pretty Mama has continued to grow, and in March this year they entered the Dragons’ Den seeking £30,000 in exchange for a 20% in the business. The sisters’ pitch worked so well that they secured funding from four of the Dragons who were impressed by the concept behind the business, the eco-friendly clothing line and the entrepreneurial skills of the sisters.
Commenting on the result, Jenny said: “We are extremely passionate about our brand and in offering a much-needed product for breast-feeding mothers. I think this came across in the Den, as we walked away with such an amazing outcome from some of the most successful and respected business people in the UK. It was incredible! Since appearing on Dragons’ Den we have received an overwhelming positive response and lots of amazing messages of support.”
Pretty Mama has also received business support and advice from Northumbria, including mentoring support through the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support 2 (NEBS 2) programme. NEBS 2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and will run until June 2023, offering a package of services to SME’s and start-ups in Tyne and Wear. It also helps fund career-enhancing internship opportunities for graduates.