Sir Terence Conran backs designer’s smart idea

Andrew Brundan’s “Shirt Shuttle” has also just won a listing in Harrods and the 25 year-old is in talks with a major high street chain about stocking it, reports The Telegraph.

The former chartered surveyor came up with the idea while cycling to work. “I’d have my shirt in my bag and end up looking a state.” Mr Brundan’s patented design uses curved edges to ensure key areas of the shirt remain smart.

Sir Terence took part in a £150,000 funding of the two year-old business, called Patrona, with an option to draw down a further £100,000. Unusually, the investors have also offered an invoice finance facility – which allows firms to access cash before invoices are paid.

This would typically be provided by a bank but Mr Brundan said: “The only assets we’ve got are the patents. You can’t put those down as security with banks. The investors have offered to provide cash straight away and at a conservative rate of interest.”

Mr Brundan said seeing a friend with a small business take a £10,000 bank loan at an interest rate of 20pc convinced him to turn to equity investors.

“When it’s ‘computer says no’ from the bank, there’s not much you can do unless you’ve got large orders from department stores, and even then [bank debt] is expensive.”

Mr Brundan, who sold 20,000 Shirt Shuttles in his first year of trading, will use the investment to rebrand the business and launch new products such as protective cases for tablet computers.

He’s also hoping to move production to UK factories from China to improve control and shorten the design, production and delivery process from eight months to two.

“We’ve had problems with communication and cost. The processes are very different to professional British factories.”

Mr Brundan was introduced to Sir Terence following a fishing trip with the designer and restaurateur’s stepson.