Chilliwack business owner enters the Dragon’s Den

Brent Poulton flew to Toronto to pitch his ugly Christmas sweaters for dogs in the Dragon’s Den

Sometimes it’s not the destination that’s most important, but rather the journey. At least that’s how Chilliwack’s Brent Poulton feels about his Funky Tails pitch to top Canadian business gurus on CBC’s Dragon’s Den.

Poulton said he came up with the idea of selling ugly canine Christmas sweaters with matching sizes for their human counterparts a few years ago while watching an episode of Dragon’s Den.

“We saw (the show) and thought ugly Christmas sweaters would be perfect to sell in our (pet) store. But we couldn’t find any anywhere, so we came up with the idea to make our own,” explained Poulton.

Poulton’s been selling his Funky Tails sweaters for about four years, focusing on online sales through his website and wholesale. He now has nearly 100 retailers carrying his ugly canine Christmas sweaters. But friends kept encouraging him to go bigger. So when auditions for the Den rolled into the Valley this spring, Poulton stepped in and pitched his idea.

Three days after auditioning, Poulton learned he was selected to go in front of the Dragons themselves. “Not everyone ends up on TV,” said Poulton. “You need to be good for TV to end up on TV,” he continued, explaining how less than a quarter of in-person pitches actually end up airing.

After receiving his invitation into the Den, Poulton booked a flight to Toronto where the show is located. Filmed in April, Poulton didn’t learn until mid-November that his pitch would be aired in Thursday night’s holiday-themed episode.

Of the six Dragons—Arlene Dickinson, Joe Mimran, Manjit Minhas, Michele Romanow, Jim Treliving, and Michael Wekerle—it was Dickinson who showed immediate interest in Poulton’s Funky Tails sweaters, offering him the $15,000 he was asking for within minutes.

“I have never done a dog investment. This one I’m going to do! I’m going to give you exactly what you asked for,” exclaimed Dickinson, recalling a previous ugly Christmas sweater idea that netted co-Dragon Treliving a 3200% return on his initial investment.

“I love it, I don’t need to talk about it,” Dickenson added. “Nothing says love for your pet like dressing like your pet.”

Overall, the experience was a good one for Poulton. “I think it was worth it. I would’ve been just as satisfied even if I didn’t end up on TV.

“Not everyone gets to do something like this,” he said. “Even just the feedback I got from these highly successful (entrepreneurs) made the experience totally worthwhile.”

And although Poulton’s original pitch was for ugly Christmas sweaters, Funky Tails is diversifying its pet-wear, carrying sweaters for every season. Visit www.funkytails.com to check them out.

READ MORE: Brent Poulton and his Pug, Jenny


@SarahGawdin
sarah.gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New group for parents of overdose victims launched by Langley mother

There is a lack of long-term resources for grieving parents

BC BUDGET: Fare freeze and free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Canadian aviation legend piloting Pitt Meadows Airport – for a little while at least

‘I love the thrill of flying,’ says 82-year-old George Miller

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

BC Cattlemen’s Association calls for remediation of firebreaks to prevent erosion, spread of invasive species

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

B.C. runner takes silver at Pan American cross-country championships

Tyler Dozzi’s medal pushes U20 Team Canada to gold finish

Coquitlam piano teacher accused of sex assault involving former students

Police say Dmytro Kubyshkin has been teaching in private homes for more than 20 years

Most Read