February 21, 2013, I started on the Dragons Den journey and I say journey, because from then until the show aired (January 15th, 2014), it was an 11 month process - I could have given birth to another child during this time. But as the old adage goes, good things come to those who wait.
Perhaps I was a little aggressive, I had only just opened my doors for business two months previous to the audition, but I was determined to get on the show and promote my Company’s brand & products to my fellow Canadians.
The audition I attended was held in Waterloo, Ontario. Definitely nerve racking being in front of all the producers, but it was also very invigorating pitching the business to them.
There were quite a few people auditioning that day, and before the day got started, the producers told all of us that we wouldn’t hear back for at least three weeks as to whether we made it to the actual taping, however, one week to the day I had the call that I was selected for taping in April. They hadn’t even finished holding the auditions across Canada yet, and they were even so kind as to give me a choice in a few dates to choose from.
The producers said they were impressed with my presentation and enthusiasm, and were excited to have me back so I could pitch my Company to the Dragons.
The clock was ticking. I had 5 weeks to get a really great pitch together, memorize all the possible scenarios that may be thrown my way, and also try to get our newest collection ready for the show. I don’t think I slept for those 5 weeks!
The last 2-3 weeks before the taping was to take place, Katie, one of the producers from the show was assigned to me and we worked together to make sure we not only had a great pitch but had some fun stuff included as well – it’s all about great TV.
So why not have five gorgeous models wearing bikini’s, that’s bound to get some attention.
The day of the taping, was a whirlwind. Firstly trying to get the models dressed in the right bikinis, outfits, and all the last minute touches – they were all terrific and great to work with, total professionals.
Next, was time for a quick rehearsal of where to stand and reminders of what I can and cannot do. I had memorized everything in perfect order, so my nerves wouldn’t get the best of me during my presentation, but at the last minute a few things got changed around, and that’s when I began to shake at the knees.. My amazing producer, Katie said “Heather, don’t worry, you’ve got an hour or more to go off on your own and rehearse the changes.” Not even five minutes later, Katie runs over and says - “Heather- “YOU’RE ON NOW!”
My knees were knocking, I felt sick to my stomach but I also knew this was my one opportunity to get in front of Jim, Arlene, David, Kevin and Bruce, and I’d better do a damn good job of it.
The presentation started very well, how could it not with five beautiful bikini clad models, I had the Dragons attention that was for sure. Although it’s not clear from the TV edited version I was actually with the Dragons for about 45 minutes. They wanted to know where the product was made (Canada) who the target market was, how many sales I had already made, what were my costs, how was UV Couture different from the competition and a whole host of other information. I think I managed to cover all of their questions. Very early on into my presentation it was clear that David was very enthusiastic about the idea & our products and made me an offer. As you can imagine I was flabbergasted. I had not even got all the way through my presentation and had not heard any comments from all of the other Dragons. I thanked him for his enthusiasm and interest in endorsing the UV Couture Brand. I continued on with the remainder of the presentation and then heard from the other Dragons. I had said right from the beginning I was not leaving there without a deal, and I was determined that would be the case.
Arlene & Jim had quite a conversation about how the product could be marketed and Arlene even mentioned that Jim would be the ideal partner for UV Couture. Eventually after some more wrangling Jim made his offer and I was absolutely delighted to accept.
For me, it wasn't just about the money- it was about leveraging the Dragons contacts & experience. I felt Jim was the Dragon who could offer UV Couture the best opportunities & exposure.
The show made for great TV viewing, the bikini girls, David a little upset about not being accepted as the partner, and Jim finally making the deal and smashing a few champagne glasses into the bargain. It was fun, entertaining, and extremely intense. The drama with David has been a huge talking point since the show aired and certainly created a lot of buzz. We are extremely grateful for his passion and support, he is very well respected and there are certainly no hard feelings between us.
I loved being in front of all the Dragons, and I am proud of the way I held my ground and stayed strong- it was certainly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, although watching
it back on TV was not easy either.
To watch the segment- follow this link: http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/pitches/uv-couture