Our Road to Dragons’ Den
In this post Rosanne (our company co-founder) will tell you a little about their exciting Dragons’ Den adventure! So come and find out about Rosanne & Jan’s road to this popular Canadian TV show!
Have you heard the exciting news yet? Country Chic Paint has been selected to appear in an upcoming episode of the popular Canadian TV show, Dragons’ Den, airing Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00 PM on CBC!
For those unfamiliar with Dragons’ Den, it is a reality program that features entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to a panel of venture capitalists in order to find a business partner and secure an investment. The show debuted in Japan, and is now broadcast in a large number of countries. The show is very popular in the UK where it’s currently in its 12th season. In the United States the series is titled “Shark Tank”, which I’m sure a lot of our American friends are familiar with.
Jan and I have been watching the Canadian show religiously and when we found out the producers were holding auditions for the 10th season we knew we had to try and get a spot on the show.
When we found out about the auditions, we only had a couple of weeks to get everything ready, so we worked hard on our presentation and decided what samples to bring and how to show off what Country Chic Paint can do to “forgotten” pieces of furniture. The audition location was only about an hour away, but we left extra early as we wanted to make sure we were one of the first to arrive. After all, you never know how many other hopeful entrepreneurs would show up… It turned out that we were the second ones there so we wrote our names on the sign-up sheet and decided to get a little breakfast while we waited for the auditions to start.
I must say that at this point I don’t think we were as nervous as I thought we would be. We knew what we were going to say and had prepared for lots of questions, so I felt like we were as ready as we could be. When it was our turn we had a few minutes to pitch Country Chic Paint to two of the show’s producers, after which they asked us a bunch of questions. Although we didn’t look at the clock, it felt like we were in there for a good 15-20 minutes.
Then the waiting started… We were told to wait 3 weeks before expecting to hear anything. Only two weeks later my phone rang and when I was told that we were selected to come to Toronto I’m pretty sure I screamed a little; such exciting news! Even though we had a good feeling about the audition, there are thousands of auditions and only a small percentage make it through, so Jan and I were surprised, excited and nervous all at the same time.
In a few short weeks we had to put together a TV worthy presentation and be ready to answer any and all questions that would be thrown at us. If you have ever watched the show you know that the Dragons (and Sharks) can be brutal to those who come into the Den unprepared, so we had to make sure that wouldn’t happen to us.
One of the show’s producers worked with us to review our pitch, demo pieces and display. It was an exciting and also a bit of a stressful time. Trying to get all the pieces together, making travel arrangements, shipping out demo products and a display, practicing our pitch, making sure our kids were looked after when we were traveling, preparing for questions, etc., etc. We had to make sure that we had thought of everything and although we felt quite prepared there was this one thing that we hadn’t prepared for, but I will tell you about that in another post…
Finally, the day arrived that we drove off to the airport, left our kids behind with our good friends, and flew across the country. We arrived in the middle of the night and only had a short sleep, but we had another day before the show so we had time to visit one of our Toronto area retailers: Cindy Kyle at Vintage Vogue. We had a great visit with her, and picked up the demo pieces we needed for the next day, and then we made a quick little stop to Niagara Falls.
It was Tuesday, April 14th 2015, and in the early afternoon we arrived at the CBC Studio in downtown Toronto. Once the other four pitchers had all arrived and contracts were signed, we were brought upstairs where we were able to put together our display piece and demo products. A quick tour of the studio followed, after which the prop director and producers reviewed all props. Since we were third in line we were brought to another space to sit down and relax a little before it was “go time”.
Obviously, we were pretty nervous at this point. After watching the show for years, we couldn’t believe it was actually happening. In just moments we would be walking down that flight of stairs and coming face-to-face with the five Dragons! We would have to stand there, look them in the eye, pitch our business and then deal with any questions or comments they’d throw at us.
I wish I could tell you more about exactly what it was like, but I’m afraid that will have to wait until the next blog post. Until our segment airs we cannot share any details about what happened in the Den, so I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned!
We can’t wait for you to hear our pitch and see how the dragons reacted, so make sure you tune in to watch our episode. The episode will air Wednesday, October 28th at 8:00 PM on CBC.
P.S. If you’re in the US you’ll need to be patient a little longer as we’ll do our best to make the episode available as soon as possible afterwards!